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Long IslandTransportation

Only 3 of 10 NICE bus routes facing cuts may be saved, CEO says

Sheldon Shrenkel, center, chairman of the Nassau Transit

Sheldon Shrenkel, center, chairman of the Nassau Transit Committee, led a public meeting with NICE CEO Michael Setzer Thursday, March 30, 2017, to address NICE's budgetary crisis and looming cuts. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

Nassau’s bus operator only expects to be able to save three of the 10 routes pegged for elimination if state and county lawmakers can agree on a last-minute financial rescue package, the chief of NICE Bus said Thursday.

At a Garden City meeting of Nassau’s Bus Transit Committee, Michael Setzer, chief executive officer of the Nassau Inter-County Express, or NICE, laid out the agency’s contingency plan in case a 11th-hour financial reprieve materializes.

Faced with a $6.8 million reduction in the county’s subsidy to its bus system, NICE has proposed axing 10 bus routes and drastically scaling back service on another four. The cuts would take effect April 9.

Earlier this week, county and state lawmakers revealed they were working on a $3 million funding package to avert at least some of the cuts. The State Legislature could separately increase its annual transit aid subsidy to the county as part of a state budget package that could be finalized as early as this week, but Setzer said he isn’t counting on it.

Under its contingency plan, NICE would spare three routes marked for elimination: the N19, which runs between Freeport and Massapequa, the N57 Great Neck loop, and the N78/79, which runs between Hicksville and Plainview. The three routes, which have the highest ridership of all those on the chopping block, would be “re-engineered and preserved,” according to a NICE.

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