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BM5 via Woodhaven

NICE Bus plans changes aimed at improving service

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https://www.newsday.com/amp/long-island/transportation/nice-bus-nassau-1.17787086

The future of bus transit in Nassau County includes larger vehicles for the disabled and, for some riders, fewer bus stops and a route that does not run on a set schedule, NICE officials said.

At Thursday’s meeting of Nassau’s Bus Transit Committee — the body overseeing the Nassau Inter-County Express, or NICE Bus — officials previewed a number of changes they say will improve service on the transit system, which is used by more than 25 million people annually.

NICE wants to use its n40/n41 route, which runs between Mineola and Freeport, as a sort of guinea pig for some of its proposed changes.

The first step, NICE chief executive Michael Setzer said, will entail “rationalizing” bus stops. Over the years, he explained, the number of stops has grown unnecessarily to an extent that only serves to slow down the ride. Starting later this month, stops will be spaced a quarter-mile from each other, reducing the total to 49, from the current 60.

“It’s sort of like your desk drawer or my desk drawer. After a while, you’ve just got to clean it out,” Setzer said. “The expectation is that we give everyone a little better ride and, secondly, we’re better able to maintain on-time performance.”

Later in the year, NICE will do away with a published timetable for the route, instead moving over to an interval-based schedule.

“It’s very much the way you use the subway in the city. You don’t look for the 7:32 subway. You go to the stop knowing, because of the signage, that it’s so many minutes away,” Setzer said.

NICE officials said they would evaluate the success of the bus stop and schedule changes on the n40/n41 before deciding whether to use similar strategies on other routes.

NICE also announced Thursday it had purchased 15 new handicapped-accessible minibuses for its Able-Ride system. The 26-foot vehicles are the largest in the fleet of 100 vehicles used for the door-to-door paratransit service and will replace some vehicles that are a decade old. NICE officials said the new vehicles will increase efficiency and improve the riding experience for disabled customers.

Also coming this summer, Setzer said, is a new on-demand, ride-sharing service known as LINK that will allow customers to use a mobile app to book a trip in real time.

LINK users would request a trip via the app, then receive a confirmation of a time and pickup location. The same vehicle would pick up and drop off other customers during its trip.

Setzer said the Uber-like service, which will use minibuses, could be a “less-expensive, more customer-responsive kind of service that will work well in places that demand isn’t heavy.”

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They're planning on putting the LINK type service around the Southeast Nassau corridor, which is currently underserved due to the service cuts that happened over the years.

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, N6 Limited said:

With the interval based scheduling how would that work with B/O picks?

I don't know. This is a pilot program being done to reduce the bunching on that route. The n40/41 got picked because it's a pretty short route that gets a lot of people between Freeport and Mineola.

Edited by NY1635

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3 hours ago, NY1635 said:

I don't know. This is a pilot program being done to reduce the bunching on that route. The n40/41 got picked because it's a pretty short route that gets a lot of people between Freeport and Mineola.

Of the times I've ridden/observed the N40/N41 they've been light between Hempstead and Mineola.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, N6 Limited said:

Of the times I've ridden/observed the N40/N41 they've been light between Hempstead and Mineola.

I always see a long line of people at Mineola Intermodal Center waiting for the Freeport bound n40/41 to go into service, so they can ride down to Hempstead Transit Center and connect to other routes. It also tends to get a surprisingly huge amount of people in Downtown Garden City south of Sears. You must be thinking of North of Sears along Franklin Avenue where the whole area slowly gets more corporate as it reaches the Intermodal Center.

Edited by NY1635

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Posted (edited)

Even the subway has an official schedule: They just don't always follow it. I personally don't like the idea of headway-based scheduling, especially on routes that aren't particularly frequent (The n40/41 generally run every 10-15 minutes on the shared route and every 20-30 minutes on the branches, at which point you need to at least know when the bus is supposed to be coming, especially for riders without smartphones).

If any route is a better candidate it would be the n6, but again, I'm not wild about it on any NICE route.

Edited by checkmatechamp13

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3 hours ago, checkmatechamp13 said:

Even the subway has an official schedule: They just don't always follow it. I personally don't like the idea of headway-based scheduling, especially on routes that aren't particularly frequent (The n40/41 generally run every 10-15 minutes on the shared route and every 20-30 minutes on the branches, at which point you need to at least know when the bus is supposed to be coming, especially for riders without smartphones).

If any route is a better candidate it would be the n6, but again, I'm not wild about it on any NICE route.

The n6 sometimes has a flood of buses due to bunching (and congestion) during rush hour where a few of them are light. NICE would probably use interval scheduling to actually decrease service and make sure every bus is SRO. They get live passenger counts from the APC system right?

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4 hours ago, checkmatechamp13 said:

Even the subway has an official schedule: They just don't always follow it. I personally don't like the idea of headway-based scheduling, especially on routes that aren't particularly frequent (The n40/41 generally run every 10-15 minutes on the shared route and every 20-30 minutes on the branches, at which point you need to at least know when the bus is supposed to be coming, especially for riders without smartphones).

If any route is a better candidate it would be the n6, but again, I'm not wild about it on any NICE route.

I think this might be a way to further reduce costs (after adopting the interval scheduling). Sure, the n40/41 are branches of each other, but then again, who says that has to stay that way. If enough people start flocking to areas served by both routes, it'll make it easier to justify having one route operate down the line at all times. The n40 has less runtime, so depending on the service levels given, making everything an n40 would save them something over time. Not only would there savings when interval scheduling is in effect, but also by reducing service levels and/or runtime as a result of having one main route.

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20 minutes ago, BM5 via Woodhaven said:

I think this might be a way to further reduce costs (after adopting the interval scheduling). Sure, the n40/41 are branches of each other, but then again, who says that has to stay that way. If enough people start flocking to areas served by both routes, it'll make it easier to justify having one route operate down the line at all times. The n40 has less runtime, so depending on the service levels given, making everything an n40 would save them something over time. Not only would there savings when interval scheduling is in effect, but also by reducing service levels and/or runtime as a result of having one main route.

The only people who are flocking to Freeport and Hempstead in large numbers are Hispanics mostly due to both villages being affordable, but their numbers aren't really big enough to compel NICE to add 24hr service on the n40.

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1 hour ago, NY1635 said:

The only people who are flocking to Freeport and Hempstead in large numbers are Hispanics mostly due to both villages being affordable, but their numbers aren't really big enough to compel NICE to add 24hr service on the n40.

I should have been more specific. I meant in terms of the current ridership.

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, checkmatechamp13 said:

Even the subway has an official schedule: They just don't always follow it. I personally don't like the idea of headway-based scheduling, especially on routes that aren't particularly frequent (The n40/41 generally run every 10-15 minutes on the shared route and every 20-30 minutes on the branches, at which point you need to at least know when the bus is supposed to be coming, especially for riders without smartphones).

If any route is a better candidate it would be the n6, but again, I'm not wild about it on any NICE route.

I personally believe the headway-based schedules are possibly a cover for NICE to claim that service is improving, but in reality, it masks the pure unreliability of the network and the lack of timeliness of most lines.

Edited by 67thAve

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5 minutes ago, 67thAve said:

I personally believe the headway-based schedules are possibly a cover for NICE to claim that service is improving, but in reality, it masks the pure unreliability of the network and the lack of timeliness of most lines.

NICE already knows that their on-time performance is around 70%, and they've lost riders to Uber because of the service cuts. They're holding out hope that Laura Curran will continue to fund the bus system, and increase it more during her term in office.

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On 4/4/2018 at 6:15 PM, BM5 via Woodhaven said:

I think this might be a way to further reduce costs (after adopting the interval scheduling). Sure, the n40/41 are branches of each other, but then again, who says that has to stay that way. If enough people start flocking to areas served by both routes, it'll make it easier to justify having one route operate down the line at all times. The n40 has less runtime, so depending on the service levels given, making everything an n40 would save them something over time. Not only would there savings when interval scheduling is in effect, but also by reducing service levels and/or runtime as a result of having one main route.

The issue is that it's still a decent walk from the far end of Babylon Turnpike to Main Street. If they merge them to both run down Main Street, they should at least have the n43 run down Babylon Turnpike as a compromise.

On 4/4/2018 at 7:01 PM, NY1635 said:

The only people who are flocking to Freeport and Hempstead in large numbers are Hispanics mostly due to both villages being affordable, but their numbers aren't really big enough to compel NICE to add 24hr service on the n40.

 

I believe he meant at all times that the buses operate. In any case, I don't think 24/7 service is the craziest idea. Efficiency-wise, the n40/41 are comparable to the n4 & n6, and those already have 24/7 service, and the Hempstead-Freeport corridor is probably about as transit-dependent as you can get on Long Island (interesting note, I found a map percentages of autoless households here) I think maybe if it were interlined with the n6 at Hempstead it could see decent ridership, as it would provide a one-seat ride to Jamaica for that corridor.

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7 hours ago, checkmatechamp13 said:

The issue is that it's still a decent walk from the far end of Babylon Turnpike to Main Street. If they merge them to both run down Main Street, they should at least have the n43 run down Babylon Turnpike as a compromise.

I believe he meant at all times that the buses operate. In any case, I don't think 24/7 service is the craziest idea. Efficiency-wise, the n40/41 are comparable to the n4 & n6, and those already have 24/7 service, and the Hempstead-Freeport corridor is probably about as transit-dependent as you can get on Long Island (interesting note, I found a map percentages of autoless households here) I think maybe if it were interlined with the n6 at Hempstead it could see decent ridership, as it would provide a one-seat ride to Jamaica for that corridor.

I'm pretty sure those autoless homes are apartments located in the dangerous part of Hempstead. Interlining won't be necessary because those people live within reasonable walking distance of the Transit Center at West Columbia Street, or usually catch the n6 at Fulton and Terrace Avenues for their one seat ride to Jamaica.

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3 hours ago, NY1635 said:

I'm pretty sure those autoless homes are apartments located in the dangerous part of Hempstead. Interlining won't be necessary because those people live within reasonable walking distance of the Transit Center at West Columbia Street, or usually catch the n6 at Fulton and Terrace Avenues for their one seat ride to Jamaica.

Right, but what about people in Uniondale & Roosevelt? For example, Census Tract 4075.01 (across from the cemetary) has an autoless household rate of about 19% and that's not within walking distance of the HTC.

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17 minutes ago, checkmatechamp13 said:

Right, but what about people in Uniondale & Roosevelt? For example, Census Tract 4075.01 (across from the cemetary) has an autoless household rate of about 19% and that's not within walking distance of the HTC.

The people in Uniondale already have the n48/49 on Front Street and the n54/55 on Jerusalem Avenue to take them over to the terminal.  They use the n43 along Uniondale Avenue for service to Freeport, which gets heavy street along that road between Nassau Road and Hempstead Turnpike. Roosevelt is just as bad as Hempstead in terms of crime and school district, but the people who live over there tend to be nicer. I've seen bus operators on the n40/41 chat with people South of HTC, it's in contrast to the n6 where passengers at Hempstead or Elmont usually farebeat and curse the driver out.  They're well served by the n40/41 and n43 on Nassau Road, which gives them more than enough bus service to get where they need to go.

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Posted (edited)
16 minutes ago, NY1635 said:

The people in Uniondale already have the n48/49 on Front Street and the n54/55 on Jerusalem Avenue to take them over to the terminal.  They use the n43 along Uniondale Avenue for service to Freeport, which gets heavy street along that road between Nassau Road and Hempstead Turnpike. Roosevelt is just as bad as Hempstead in terms of crime and school district, but the people who live over there tend to be nicer. I've seen bus operators on the n40/41 chat with people South of HTC, it's in contrast to the n6 where passengers at Hempstead or Elmont usually farebeat and curse the driver out.  They're well served by the n40/41 and n43 on Nassau Road, which gives them more than enough bus service to get where they need to go.

None of those routes run overnight. That's my point: Uniondale & Roosevelt don't have overnight transit service. I'm not suggesting any interlining during the day, only overnight.

Edited by checkmatechamp13

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, checkmatechamp13 said:

None of those routes run overnight. That's my point: Uniondale & Roosevelt don't have overnight transit service. I'm not suggesting any interlining during the day, only overnight.

Uniondale and Roosevelt are both bedroom communities. I can't really imagine that much of a demand for overnight transit service aside from the n40 running between Hempstead and Freeport, and maybe the n48 running between Hempstead and Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow. Interlining is not possible because the Transit Center is usually closed at night and buses tend to pickup/dropoff passengers at West Columbia Street by the LIRR station. I rather have the n40 be timed to connect with the n6 rather than interline because Hempstead is too dangerous at night for passengers to wait for the next bus, plus there are lots of cabs in the area that get their fares from people coming off the Hempstead bound n6 during overnight hours.

Based off my experiences taking transit during overnight hours, NICE would only get the workers. I can't imagine them shuttling drunks and barhoppers coming off the LIRR from a hard night of partying.

Edited by NY1635

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48 minutes ago, NY1635 said:

Uniondale and Roosevelt are both bedroom communities. I can't really imagine that much of a demand for overnight transit service aside from the n40 running between Hempstead and Freeport, and maybe the n48 running between Hempstead and Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow. Interlining is not possible because the Transit Center is usually closed at night and buses tend to pickup/dropoff passengers at West Columbia Street by the LIRR station. I rather have the n40 be timed to connect with the n6 rather than interline because Hempstead is too dangerous at night for passengers to wait for the next bus, plus there are lots of cabs in the area that get their fares from people coming off the Hempstead bound n6 during overnight hours.

Based off my experiences taking transit during overnight hours, NICE would only get the workers. I can't imagine them shuttling drunks and barhoppers coming off the LIRR from a hard night of partying.

That's exactly what I'm suggesting. The n40 would run between Hempstead & Freeport overnight.

And regardless of whether buses can enter the bus terminal, it's still possible for a driver to pull into as an n6 and leave as an n40 or vice versa. That's what interlining is. It's basically the same thing as having the n40 meet the n6 overnight (for that matter, you could also extend the n6 to Freeport down the n40 route so passengers don't even have to leave the bus).

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22 minutes ago, checkmatechamp13 said:

That's exactly what I'm suggesting. The n40 would run between Hempstead & Freeport overnight.

And regardless of whether buses can enter the bus terminal, it's still possible for a driver to pull into as an n6 and leave as an n40 or vice versa. That's what interlining is. It's basically the same thing as having the n40 meet the n6 overnight (for that matter, you could also extend the n6 to Freeport down the n40 route so passengers don't even have to leave the bus).

NICE would rather have the smaller buses used on the Mercy Medical shuttle or the Elmont Flexi run between Hempstead and Freeport during overnight hours when demand isn't heavy than have the n6 interline with the n40, even if the n6's runtime is around 35 minutes between midnight and 5am.  It's really up to County Executive Laura Curran, Helena Willams, and the County Legislators to decide if Nassau needs more bus service. Uniondale gets underserved because the area around the Nassau Coliseum remains underdeveloped despite it being the home of the Islanders.

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13 hours ago, N6 Limited said:

Interesting.

I guess they're expecting people on the nb n40/41 to get off at the District Court and walk over to Jackson for a transfer to the n6. The n27 and MMS are being moved over to the n47's old bay.

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3 hours ago, NY1635 said:

I guess they're expecting people on the nb n40/41 to get off at the District Court and walk over to Jackson for a transfer to the n6. The n27 and MMS are being moved over to the n47's old bay.

They can still transfer in the Terminal.

  • Upvote 1

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