Written by Carol Frank Friday, 02 March 2012 00:00
Jokes aside, the NICE Bus Veolia team did run a respectful and informative presentation regarding schedule changes and asked for feedback from the riders. As Raul Kumar, a Veolia vice-president, put it in his PowerPoint presentation, “We’re ‘nice,’ but we’re not perfect...we want to hear from you about this proposal...maybe we’ve overlooked something.” The presentation was brief as the emphasis was on talking with riders personally and answering their questions. The proposed changes will go into effect on April 8.
According to Mr. Kumar, employees of Veolia rode the routes at differing times and conditions prior to developing the proposal, counting and talking with passengers. The aim is to work within the budget and deliver the best service possible while not increasing fares. Mr. Kumar said, “I’m sure everyone understands that we can’t afford to run empty buses.”
Two new express routes will be added. The n6X and n22X will be added to make getting to the 179th Street subway station in Jamaica faster in rush hours. The n22X will run between Hicksville and Jamaica and the n6X will run between Hempstead and Jamaica. The regular fee will apply.
In some cases, times between buses will increase. Mr. Kumar said, “What we have learned from our riders that is most important is that we need to coordinate our schedules better with the trains.”
For the most part, Veolia does not expect most riders to be impacted by the service changes; however, they do state that people who ride midday and on weekends will be the ones most likely to be affected.
The routes that wend their way into Great Neck are:
The n26 that runs between here and Jamaica had no adjustments made. Neither did the n25 that runs from here to Lynbrook via New Hyde Park, Franklin Square and North Valley Stream.
There were no changes proposed for the n57 and n58 Loop which services Great Neck.
The n20 which links Hicksville with Flushing and comes into Great Neck will operate every 5 to 10 minutes during peak hours. Midday and Saturday service will run every 20 minutes from Great Neck/Roslyn to Flushing. Saturday service to Hicksville will not change. The n20 Sunday service will run every 30 minutes from Great Neck/Roslyn to Flushing. Hicksville service will still operate every 60 minutes. Please consult your schedule for departure changes.
The n21 also runs along Northern Blvd and links Glen Cove with Flushing with a Great Neck stop. This service will operate peak hours only. For service midday, nights and weekends, riders are asked to use the n27 with a timed transfer to reach the n20 at Glen Cove Road and Northern Blvd.
The AbleRide program is intact.
Route maps showing the details of the changes were available at the meeting and are available on the Veolia website. www.nicebus.com Information is also posted in Spanish.
Mr. Setzer told the Record, “We especially want to reach out to the next generation of riders who are now college students so that public transportation will be seen as a positive experience. ” Routes to Nassau Community College have been given careful consideration to promote easier commutes for students.
Jack Khzouz who works in marketing for Veolia, explained how the company expects to service Nassau County for less than the MTA did. Since Veolia is an international company, their purchasing power for parts is on a large scale and results in huge savings. Their use of technology is also promoting efficiencies. “And well, the MTA is a bureaucracy...we can make decisions faster,” he added. The company has 50 Service Quality Managers who troubleshoot and are engaged in getting customer feedback.