Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano today announced that the County and Nassau Inter-County Express (NICE) have purchased 45 new buses to upgrade the system’s oldest and most unreliable buses. The purchase is in large part made possible by Federal Transit Administration funds earmarked for supporting mass transit capital purchases. With NICE’s success in doubling the number of buses passing State Department of Transportation inspection as compared to MTA, the purchase of these new buses will further increase reliability for NICE customers.
County Executive Mangano stated, “Since taking over operations, NICE has increased reliability of bus service for customers. This purchase will provide a significantly improved riding experience for many NICE customers as 45 of the oldest and least reliable buses will be replaced with brand new buses paid for in large part by Federal dollars.”
The new Orion Model VII buses are scheduled to be delivered no later than the end of 2012, though they could go into service as early as this fall. The buses being replaced are at least 12 years old and have more than 500,000 miles on the road. The overall fleet size will remain at approximately 300 buses.
“Not only do our customers get a better ride and drivers operate better equipment, but our repair and maintenance challenges should improve because we are retiring buses that have the most issues and breakdowns,” said NICE Chief Executive Officer Mike Setzer. “Keeping the fleet in good working order and avoiding breakdowns, and keeping down the cost of repairs, has been one of our toughest problems since NICE began operating on January 1, 2012.”
The new 40-foot, low-floor design buses will operate on compressed natural gas, or CNG, which is more environmentally friendly and, because of current favorable prices for natural gas, more economical than other fuels. Each bus seats 40-44 passengers plus standees. With the delivery of new buses later this year, just under two-thirds of the NICE fleet will be approximately four years old or younger.