Drivers on Long Island Bus Monday circulated petitions to passengers opposing its sale by Nassau County to French water company Veolia.
The Republican-controlled Nassau County Legislature is scheduled to hold a hearing in its rules committee later Monday. Approval is expected by Nov. 28.
Republican County Executive Edward Mangano sold LI Bus, one of the nation's busiest suburban lines, to Veolia Transportation in hopes of attracting at least $106 million in 2012 in cash, with more in later years. He's seeking to balance a $2.6 billion budget. Nassau is under financial supervision by Albany because of its poor management.
In Great Neck Monday, early riders on the N58 line down Middle Neck Rd. were urged by their driver, who declined to give his name, to sign a petition to Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo to stop the deal. Virtually all of the 30 passengers signed it.
Besides heading to the Long Island Rail Road station in Great Neck, riders on the N58 transfer to other lines within Nassau County as well as the N21 which terminates at the Flushing Main Street subway stop for NYC Transit.
Veolia says it will eliminate many lines within Nassau and for sure, one of them will be the N57, the driver said, referring to another line that offers rush-hour service only to well-heeled communities including Kings Point and Great Neck Estates. Besides commuters, that line ferries household employees, health aides and other workers to residences.
Veolia last week said it will rename LI Bus Nassau Inter-County Express (NICE) and retain the current $2.25 fare and connections with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's MetroCard system for at least a year. Currently, LI Bus riders may ride free on the subway within two hours.
Judi Bosworth, the Nassau legislator representing Great Neck and surrounding communities, told IBTimes she would fight the sale but noted that with a Republican majority, there was little to do. Bosworth, a Democrat, was re-elected last week to her third term.