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Nassau Notebook: Veolia Letter to the Editor, Free Taxis

A weekly look-in at the news of Nassau County.

Veolia Letter to the Editor

The following is from Michael Setzer, vice president of Veolia Transportation. He will serve as chief executive of NICE bus.

Last week, the Nassau County Legislature unanimously approved a contract that is the basis for a public-private operating partnership between the county and Veolia Transportation to operate the new Nassau Inter-County Express, or NICE, bus system. But, of even greater significance is that Nassau took a key step toward forming a true county transit system.

Prior to voting, the legislature worked closely with the county executive to insert numerous amendments to the original contract that create more public involvement on proposed future adjustments to the system. The contract spells out how the county will for the first time assume control over its own bus system, including fares, service levels, service plans and annual operating budget.

The Nassau-Veolia partnership has been described in many media reports as “privatization.” It is not. Privatization defines an outright purchase of all assets and full management control of the system by a private, third-party. In fact, the county retains control of much of the strategic decision-making. It still owns all the assets (buses, garages, transit centers, equipment, etc.), receives all the Federal and State transportation grant funds that it did previously.

This partnership gives bus riders and county taxpayers the best of both worlds: public sector oversight and control with elected leaders determining policies, budgets and overall direction, with a private sector component that brings cost effectiveness, efficiencies and the expertise that comes from managing major transit systems throughout the world.

The contract strongly incentivizes Veolia to provide as much service as available funding sources allow, not less, and to obtain additional funding to grow the service. Veolia’s compensation in large part will be based on the hours of service it provides. It will also be rewarded for providing higher quality service that attracts more riders, which will increase farebox revenues. Our goal is to provide the maximum amount of service for each dollar that is available to the system.

Veolia is a world leader in partnering with local governments and authorities to provide affordable, high-quality transportation services. We have mobilized dozens of our transportation experts from many disciplines, from across the country, to help build a strong infrastructure and ensure a smooth transition to NICE. Veolia will be ready to roll on Jan. 1, 2012 and looks forward to serving Nassau County bus riders.

County Announces Free Taxi Rides to Save Lives During Holiday Season

County Executive Ed Mangano and Acting Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter announced Tuesday a STOP-DWI initiative that will put more police officers on the streets during the holiday season, and also announced the Holiday Free Ride Initiative supported by local taxi companies.

The “STOP DWI” program is funded by DWI fines collected in Nassau County and will provide the Nassau County Police Department (NCPD) and police departments throughout the county with additional funding that will be utilized to implement an effective DWI saturation enforcement strategy that has proven successful in years past. The NCPD’s Highway Patrol Bureau will coordinate and plan this initiative that will target certain areas throughout the county.

Since Dec. 10, local taxi companies have been offering free rides to those who need a ride home in an effort to deter drunk driving and prevent holiday celebrations from ending in tragedy or arrest. They will continue to offer free rides through Jan. 1, 2012. This public service will be available throughout Nassau County and Eastern Queens by calling (516) 326-9090, and also includes rides back to the driver’s car the next day.

The following companies are participating in the Holiday Free Ride Taxi Initiative:

  • Ollie’s Taxi & Airport Service
  • All Island Transportation
  • Taxi Latino
  • Luxury Transportation
  • Glen Belle Car Service
  • Deluxe Transportation

Mangano, HISTORY Channel Partner to Preserve Historic Structures at Old Bethpage Village Restoration

Mangano was joined by the History Channel at a press conference on Sunday where Dr. Libby O’Connell, History’s Chief Historian, presented Nassau County with a $25,000 grant to help preserve the historic structures at Old Bethpage Village Restoration. The grant award comes from the History Channel’s “Save Our History” program, a national history education and preservation program that raises awareness and support for preserving local and national heritage.

Allen Levy December 25, 2011 at 01:11 AM
Just wait an see. If we let the MTa run the suystem for anotehr year who knows what would have been. Time will show that the MTA is not the only boss in town.
icarumba December 25, 2011 at 04:00 AM
allen levy- in the end, Nassau bus will be treated just like NUMC- which we all know is the hospital of last resort, and considered a poverty program by most residents.
Lloyd December 28, 2011 at 05:58 PM
Ya think I can vet a free ride to JFK Airport for New Years? Not that I ever drink, but I want the same break as the drunks get. Why must I pay $40 sober, when they puke all over the cab for free? Why discriminate against Diet Coke drinkers?
Dolores Kazanjian O'Brien December 29, 2011 at 03:24 AM
For Heaven's sake, can't we just appreciate the generosity of the taxi companies and the fact that some lives might be saved (could be yours if your were on the road when a drunk driver went crazy).
Bill Alderman December 29, 2011 at 03:27 PM
I agree with you Dolores. It allows us ALL to be safer. We all benefit in a way. Even though Lloyd does not get to take advantage. Not all specials are afforded to everybody. I doubt he gets to drink free (diet coke) on Ladies Night, Eat free on Kids Night, and hopefully does not need to use handicapped parking and has to walk from further to get to food shopping. BUT if he wants, I will drive him to JFK for Free on New Years Day, because the roads are safer now.

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