The Long Island Bus serves over 100,000 riders every day. They are working people who rely on the bus to get to work, the students who need the bus to get to school, and the elderly and the disabled who need the bus to get to their doctor appointments.
Like many other transit agencies across the country, the Long Island Bus has faced the threat of service cuts, fare hikes and privatization. Over the past year, we teamed up with the riders of LI Bus, transit advocates, and community and business groups to protect the rights of both the riders and employees. We called upon county and state officials to work together toward a sustainable solution to LI Bus’ funding crisis. We asked that the MTA not abruptly end its subsidies in the middle of a financial crisis and that Nassau County take greater ownership of its bus system. Our combined efforts helped to garner additional state funds that allowed the MTA to operate LI Bus through the end of the year.
Nassau County chose to privatize the system and on January 1 Veolia, an international Paris-based company, took over the bus and renamed it Nassau Inter-County Express (NICE). The process of privatization lacked transparency and raised questions for both the riders of LI Bus and its employees. Members of our coalition and others raised several concerns over the initial contract presented before the legislature during a public hearing. Rider and employee concerns included fare hikes, service cuts and the status of collective bargaining rights. Read our statement here. The Democratic caucus proposed amendments addressing many of our concerns and an amended contract was adopted unanimously on December 14.
The amended contract stipulates:
- No fare increase in 2012
- No cuts to Able-Ride service for three years
- No fare increases or service cuts without public hearings before the Transit Advisory Committee (TAC)
- Enumerates the powers of the TAC protecting it from the County Executive weakening its authority
Read the adopted amendments and contract below.
In January, Long Island Jobs with Justice launched a bus riders’ union to ensure that the voices of riders are heard. To join the union or to find out more please visit their website, Long Island Bus Riders' Union.