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Letter: Bus cuts hurt Able-Ride, too

An Able-Ride bus transports a patient from a

An Able-Ride bus transports a patient from a medical facilty in Island Park. Photo Credit: Jim Staubitser, 2012

Nassau Inter-County Express bus says it can only provide as much service as is allowed by the county’s financial support [“NICE ends 11 routes to help fill budget gap,” News, Jan. 18].

Privatizing public transportation was supposed to reduce county expenditures. It was naive to think that a profit-making corporation would disregard its bottom line. We expect our legislators to respond to constituents’ needs.

Nowhere mentioned is the serious impact of NICE cuts on Able-Ride access. Able-Ride provides low-cost transportation for the disabled and growing population of seniors no longer driving. Able-Ride is restricted to operating only in areas served by public transportation. So, no NICE route equals no Able-Ride. This renders the disabled unable to reach jobs, programs or training sites, and keeps the elderly from access to doctors’ appointments and shopping for basic needs.

NICE says its riders can access remaining routes or transfer to reach destinations. This isn’t workable for the frail elderly people or disabled residents who use wheelchairs or scooters. They will become homebound and isolated.

A previous NICE reduction eliminated Able-Ride access in parts of Glen Cove. Among those stranded were several dependent on Able-Ride for trips to multiple weekly dialysis. Now, volunteer drivers are filling this need.

Pamela M. Clark, Merrick

Editor’s note: The writer is a psychologist and the retired leader of senior programs for the Family and Children’s Association.