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Mangano Announces NICE Fleet Upgrade

NICE Bus to Become One of the First U.S. Bus Transit Systems To Offer Mobile Ticketing


Bus system in Nassau County, NY, operated by Transdev, signs agreement for mobile ticketing system to be available by Summer 2014.

The Nassau Inter-County Express (NICE) announced today that it has signed a pilot agreement with Masabi, a leader in mobile ticketing and electronic payments for transit, to bring smartphone ticketing to NICE bus riders. NICE will become among the first U.S. bus transit systems to offer smartphone ticketing to its customers featuring smartphone payment apps for both iPhone and Android. NICE’s paratransit system, known as Able-Ride, will allow customers to use the same smartphone app to pay their fares.
 
NICE is a public-private operating partnership between Nassau County and Transdev. Transdev manages all aspects of the transit system under contract to the county, effectively serving as the transit agency.
 
With the new mobile ticketing system, riders will be able to purchase bus tickets at their convenience, and activate them as they board the vehicle. Upon boarding, riders will display to the operator a secure, visually verifiable ticket on their smartphones. For added security, mobile tickets will also feature scannable barcodes for occasional spot checks by NICE officials. In future phases of the project, NICE may install hardware that allows riders to pay by scanning a barcode, or simply bringing their smart device in close proximity to a sensor.
 
“This project is one of several recent technology initiatives at NICE bus which will help transform the experience of riding transit in Nassau County. We believe our customers will embrace mobile ticketing as they have in other systems around the country” said Michael Setzer, NICE Chief Executive Officer. “Our recent on-board survey revealed that nearly 70 percent of NICE riders own smartphones, suggesting that the mobile platform is a great way to connect with our customers and provide them additional convenience.”
 
With this new initiative, NICE will dramatically expand the ease and convenience with which its customers can buy bus tickets.  Another benefit is that it will speed up the boarding process.  Currently, NICE riders have limited payment options: they can either pay with correct change on the bus or use the MTA-issued MetroCard. However, there is only one MTA location in Nassau County with full-service vending machines that allow riders to buy and reload MetroCards.
 
Over time, mobile ticketing should also help reduce fare collection costs. NICE fareboxes are antiquated, dating back to the late 1990s, and the costs of maintenance, replacement parts and cash handling are rapidly increasing.
 
“While we will continue to coordinate with the MTA for all customers that transfer between our transit systems, we made it a priority when NICE was launched to start developing our own payment solution,” said Setzer. “We think mobile ticketing is a low cost, rapidly deployable and flexible alternative that will make it easier for many riders to pay their fare.”    
 
NICE is deploying Masabi’s JustRide product, a well tested, end-to-end mobile ticketing and fare collection system. The award-winning product includes features such as ticket purchase, user display and easy validation together with sophisticated back-end infrastructure for secure payments, ticket management, customer service, reporting and real-time analytics. Masabi currently serves 17 transportation and retail companies worldwide including Boston’s MBTA and San Diego’s MTS in the U.S. and Virgin Trains and Cross Country in the U.K.
 
“We are delighted to be working with NICE to put a personalized ticket machine into the pocket of each of their customers, making searching for change to board the bus a thing of the past,” said Josh Robin, Vice President – North America at Masabi. “We are excited to welcome NICE to our growing family of U.S. deployments and look forward to working with them on deploying smartphone ticketing and future payment technologies.”
 
NICE officials plan to start beta testing with a select group of riders this spring, with full rollout this summer. Riders are encouraged to apply at www.nicebus.com to participate in the beta testing.
 
About NICE
Nassau Inter-County Express, or NICE bus, is the bus and paratransit system that operates in Nassau County, which is just east of New York City on Long Island.  NICE serves about 100,000 riders daily and currently operates 52 routes with a fleet of 300 fixed route buses operating as NICE, and 95 paratransit service vehicles operating under the name Able-Ride.
 
Visit NICE’s website at www.nicebus.com
 
About Transdev
Transdev is the largest private-sector operator of multiple modes of transit in North America, including bus, rail, paratransit, shuttle, and sedan and taxi services. Veolia Transportation is committed to setting the standard in safe and sustainable mobility solutions through partnerships with cities, counties and transit authorities. The company is based in Lombard, Illinois near Chicago.

Visit the company's Web sites at: www.transdev.net

 

NICE Bus Unveils Applications Showcase for Riders, Including Real-Time Service Alerts on Google Maps

Downloadable applications offer riders service alerts, trip planning, timetables, directions, and more via a range of social media and direct channels.


Nassau Inter-County Express has rolled out an “app showcase” for riders to provide timely and useful information about using the bus system. The NICE App Showcase is found by visiting www.nicebus.com under the Passenger Information tab, which is viewable on mobile devices.
 
NICE is among the first transit systems in the U.S. to provide real-time service alerts on Google Maps for desktop and mobile users, joining systems in Boston, Portland, Honolulu, San Diego, Washington, D.C., Las Vegas and a small number of other early adopters.  NICE worked with Brooklyn-based startup Roadify to build the Google Maps file.
 
The showcase will continue to expand as third-party app developers provide additional tools under NICE’s new open data policy, which makes NICE bus information freely accessible. In the first weeks of the NICE App Showcase, there have been thousands of visits and downloads.  All but one of the available applications are free. 
 
Among the feature-rich apps are tools that provide bus trip planning, timetables, “next scheduled bus” messages, service alerts and door-to-door directions.  Other apps include a user-generated “social navigation” tool based on posts from transit system users, and several tools to communicate directly with government agencies.
 
NICE also recently launched a Twitter and Instagram page to provide another outlet for customers to communicate with the bus system.  Of course, a key to accessibility is pushing information out through the full range of social media channels, including Facebook, Instagram,You Tube and Twitter.
 
“It’s a mobile world…and our goal is to use every communications tool we can to provide better, faster information to our customers,” said Mike Setzer, Chief Executive Officer of NICE.  “Establishing our open data policy was a key first step to encouraging third-party developers to build great tools for our riders based on freely accessible NICE bus data.” 
 
Setzer indicated that as the GPS-based NICE Integrated System (NIS) comes on board, these apps will supply even more specific, accurate and timely information about the NICE system, including next bus messages based on the actual location of the incoming bus. The core of NIS is Computer-Aided Dispatch and Automatic Vehicle Location systems that offer dozens of features and benefits that do not currently exist or function on NICE’s buses. 
 
The NIS system will include an “air traffic control” type capability that will pinpoint the exact location of every bus at all times, significantly improving NICE’s ability to provide information to customers on adverse weather and other events that affect service. NIS will be installed on NICE’s entire fleet of 300 fixed-route buses, replacing antiquated systems that date back to 1998 currently on most of the buses.
 
Current NICE App Showcase tools include Nassau Now, Roadify, Google Maps, moovit, HopStop, Dadnab, Transit Times, Walk Score, Building America’s Future and The Transit App.  


NICE Bus launches Nassau County Hot Spots!

Nassau County is a great place to live and work, with so many things to do, see and experience. One thing that makes Nassau County so great is the fantastic variety of locally owned business. NICE Bus believes these local merchants add the special element each community needs to flourish and grow.

NICE Bus wants everyone to experience what these merchants bring to our neighborhoods so we've launched NICE Bus HOT SPOTS! Hot Spots will feature selected merchants throughout the County and highlight what makes them special. Each merchant will be featured in weekly Hot Spot videos on our Facebook page at Facebook @ the Nice Bus and our website at www.nicebus.com. Hot Spots will also be designated by special signs at the bus stop closest to their locations. Each sign will feature a unique QR code that will, once scanned by a smart phone, will play a video about the merchant featured.

We want your input! You can nominate your own Neighborhood Merchant. Just contact us here or like us on Facebook @ the Nice Bus. Each Hot Spot needs to be locally owned and operated, be unique to the neighborhood, and be within sight of a NICE Bus stop. We'll work with the Shop to get their story and share it with all our friends. Support our local stores and visit a Hot Spot soon!

October 19th, 8:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. Senoator Skelo's 10th Annual Golden Gathering

The Golden Gathering features demonstrations and informational booths focused on the interests and needs of Nassau's senior citizens. Free flue vaccinations with also be available. Our NICE transit professionals will be on site to help participents learn about our services, as well as answer any quesitons. This event will be held at the Rockville Centre Recreation Center located at 111 N. Oceanside Road, Rockville Centre, NY. For more information, please call 516-228-4000.

October 18th, 9:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Senator Fuschillo's Annual Golden Gathering

The Golden Gathering features demonstrations and informational booths focused on the interests and needs of Nassau's senior citizens. Our NICE transit professionals will be on site to help participents learn about our services, as well as answer any questions. This event will be located at the Freeport Recreation Center located at 130 East Merrick Road, Freeport, NY. Travel to this event is easy with NICE's n19 route. For more information, please cal 516-228-4000.

Presidential Debate @ Hofstra to Affect NICE Bus Service

On Oct. 16, Hofstra University will host the Presidential Debate at its Hempstead campus. Because of the highest level of security surrounding the event, NICE bus service in the surrounding Nassau Hub area will be greatly impacted.

Multiple road closures and detours will severely restrict travel in the area around the university. NICE bus riders traveling in the area may experience major delays and detours and should plan accordingly.

The Nassau County Police Department and the Secret Service will lock down the area surrounding Hofstra University in phases beginning at 5 a.m. on the morning of the debate and continuing through approximately 11 p.m. Because of the high level of security, NICE bus will not know specifics about closures until just prior to the shut down, but will make every effort to keep passengers apprised of changes to the schedule and when and where buses are running.

The affected bus routes are the n16, n23, n24, n27, n43, n45, n51, n70/71 and Able Ride. Bus stops in the lock down areas will not be serviced at those times, and security demands that specific information regarding service suspension cannot be made available in advance. Able Ride passengers that may be affected will be contacted directly.

Riders should check this website for alerts and the NICE bus Travel Information call center (516.228.4000). NICE bus has distributed flyers and posted signs at all affected bus stops, in the buses, at Nassau Community College and Hofstra University, and at the Hempstead Transportation Center

Sepember 20th, 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. Senator Hannon's 11th Annual Senior Health Awareness Day

This great event is focused on health education for seniors and will feature interactive displays and free health testing/screenings, as well as flu vaccines. Our NICE transit professionals will be on site to help participents learn about our services, as well as answer any questions. This event will be located at St. Paul's Field House, located at 295 Stewart Avenue, Garden City, NY. For more information, please call 516-228-4000.

August 27-30, 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Nassau Community College's New Student Orientation

New students can meet with NICE transit professionals to learn about their best travel options to and from campus. Please come and visit us in front of the CCB building on the NCC campus located at One Education Drive, Garden City, NY. Travel to NCC is easy with NICE's n45 route. For more information, please call 516-228-4000.

August 15th, 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Nassau Community College's New Student Orientation

New students can meet with NICE transit professionals to learn about their best travel options to and from campus. Please come and visit us in front of the CCB building on the NCC campus located at One Education Drive, Garden City, NY. Travel to NCC is easy with NICE's n45 route. For more information, please call 516-228-4000.

Use Your MetroCard on NICE Bus!

We are delighted to announce that NICE Bus will continue to accept MetroCard ®. It will function in the same way it always has.

NICE buses accept coins and all types of MetroCard ®, the fare card issued by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

You can learn more about the MetroCard ® at the MTA website, http://www.mta.info/metrocard/, including the Reduced-Fare program for qualified riders, fare discounts available and where to buy MetroCard ®.

For information and fares about the Long Island Rail Road, visithttp://www.mta.info/lirr/about/TicketInfo/.

Your Bus Service is Becoming NICE

Nassau Inter-County Express (NICE) is the new name of the bus system in Nassau County. The system will no longer be called LI Bus. The new name commemorates the transition from the bus service being part of the regional MTA to being managed by Nassau County and its operating partner Veolia Transportation. Nassau County and Veolia Transportation are committed to providing a well-managed, high-quality bus service available to citizens.

Nassau Leaders Approve Contract Creating NICE

Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano recently recognized the County Legislature's Presiding Officer Peter Schmitt and Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams for their bi-partisan cooperation in approving a contract agreement with Veolia Transportation to manage and operate Long Island Bus under a new name - Nassau Inter-County Express (NICE).

The contract maintains current fares, preserves the Able-Ride service area and restores the MTA's planned route cuts while saving taxpayers over $32.4 million annually, and increasing public transparency and accountability.

County Executive Mangano stated: "Nassau's public-private partnership with Veolia symbolizes a new, smarter and more efficient way of providing services in Nassau County. Additionally, true cooperation and input from legislators on both sides of the aisle benefited Nassau residents, taxpayers and riders alike and it is this cooperation that I look forward to in 2012. I want to thank Presiding Officer Schmitt and Minority Leader Abrahams for their tireless efforts to strengthen this contract."

"I am pleased that we are able to continue to provide bus service in Nassau County at a much lower cost to the taxpayer and which freezes current fares," said Presiding Officer Peter J. Schmitt. "By privatizing bus service we will save our taxpayers over $32 million dollars annually."

"The entire Democratic caucus is happy to have worked with County Executive Mangano and his administration, as well as the Republican majority, to negotiate a stronger contract with Veolia," said Minority Leader Elect Kevan Abrahams. "I am especially pleased that the County Executive and Mr. Schmitt agreed with our amendments that provided for better protection for our residents who rely every day on a quality bus system. Approving the contract with Veolia is a great example of working in a bi-partisan manner and is what the taxpayers expect of us."

Nassau’s NICE Bus plan:

  • Saves taxpayers $32.4 million annually when compared to the MTA's demand. The annual taxpayer direct subsidy will decrease from $9 million to $2.62 million, saving local taxpayers $6.38 million in addition to not having to pay the MTA $26 million a year.
  • Maintains current fares for all of 2012. Fares cannot be raised unless approved by a 100% Nassau County Resident Transit Committee rather than the MTA Board with only one Nassau County representative.
  • Preserves the Able-Ride service area for 2012, 2013 and 2014, rather than implement the MTA's proposed cuts.
  • Restores the MTA's proposed route cuts.
  • Increases public transparency and oversight through the establishment of a Transit Committee, comprised of public transit professionals accountable to Nassau County, to provide quarterly and annual reviews of the private management and operation of the transit system. The Committee will also hold public hearings on proposed changes to routes and/or fares.
  • Insures customer satisfaction through an annual customer scorecard that measures time performance, service reliability, trips that are missed and bus cleanliness.
  • Consolidates duplicative work and inefficiencies.
Read the latest at News and Events.