Public Hearing March 23: MTA's service reduction proposals for LI Bus local bus and Able-Ride services
MTA Long Island Bus (LI Bus) provides service pursuant to a contract with Nassau County. In this way, LI Bus operates similarly to private bus operators elsewhere in the State, such as Suffolk Transit and Liberty Lines; it provides a service paid for by the host county.
This year, Nassau County's funding will fall $24 million short of what is needed to operate the current local bus and Able-Ride network. Unlike other counties, Nassau County has for the past decade refused to fund the full amount necessary to operate the services provided by LI Bus after fares and state grants are collected.
While in the past the MTA filled funding gaps caused by Nassau County's under funding—contributing over $140 million since 2000 to subsidize Nassau County's local bus service—today, given the MTA's fragile fiscal condition, we can no longer afford to do so. As a result, although we do not take this step lightly, it is now necessary for LI Bus to propose scaling back the local bus and Able-Ride service to the level funded by Nassau County. These proposed actions would impact 27 of 48 routes and affect about 15 percent of local bus ridership.
Over the past year, the MTA has reached out repeatedly to Nassau County to try to avoid this situation. But the County has not acknowledged its responsibility to fund the service and never reciprocated with a willingness to reach a solution.
The MTA has been doing all it can to continue operating the current level of service in Nassau County given the shortfall in funding. As with other parts of the MTA, we have worked hard to make every dollar count. We've cut administrative costs consolidated whole departments into the MTA's other bus operations, transferring back office functions to the MTA's new Business Service Center and cut overtime by 13%. All told, LI Bus's budget has been reduced by $10 million.
This year the MTA will reduce administrative costs again and further consolidate LI Bus operations into the MTA's other bus operations. These and other actions combined with the prior savings, will result in a total of $16 million in cost reductions. Despite these efficiencies, however, the County subsidy falls far short of what is needed to maintain existing levels of LI Bus service.
A public hearing will be held on March 23, 2011 at which the public is invited to comment on the following proposed changes in levels of service for travel on MTA Long Island Bus (LI Bus), as well as on the possible termination of all services provided by LI Bus.
- Discontinue service on one or more of the following fixed routes: N1, N2, N8, N14, N19, N31, N33, N36, N45, N46, N47, N50, N51, N54, N55, N57, N58, N62, N73, N74, N78, N79, N80, N81, N88
- Discontinue Saturday or Sunday service on one or more of the following fixed routes: N16 (Saturday), N25 (Sunday)
The service reduction proposals were developed with two top priorities: affect the fewest customers possible and maintain service on higher-volume routes. Nonetheless, we recognize that these service reductions would be extremely difficult for thousands of people who work and live in Nassau County and depend on the local bus and Able-Ride networks.
Please note: Complementary paratransit (Able-Ride) services associated with discontinued fixed route service would no longer be provided after such discontinuance; ADA-required complementary paratransit services would continue in association with remaining fixed route service.