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NICE expands Flexi line

Valley Stream, Elmont commuters see increase service

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Nassau County and Nassau Inter-County Express Bus officials announced the expansion of the Elmont Flexi bus service on June 17. Nassau County Executive Laura Curran explained that the Flexi service, which operates from Hempstead Turnpike and Meacham Avenue to Green Acres Mall, would be expanded to include new morning and evening peak times and be able to accommodate up to 30 passengers at a time starting on June 23.

“Since the bus route was launched in 2017, the ridership has more than doubled to about 400 riders a day,” Curran said. “More and more residents are relying on NICE Bus to get around, and it’s vital that we accommodate their commuting needs.”

The Elmont Flexi will run from 4:50 a.m. to 9:57 a.m. on weekday mornings, and from 3:00 p.m. to 8:18 p.m. in the evenings. The Flexi was one of the first fixed route/on-demand hybrid buses in the county, serving an on-demand stop at the Northwell Hospital on Franklin Avenue. The route also allows transfers to the N1,4 and 6, which Curran said was necessary to maximize the transportation needs of the residents in Valley Stream and Elmont.

NICE Bus Chief Executive Officer Jack Khouz said the service would include five new buses that can fit 30 riders as opposed to the current ones, which can only serve 20. The new buses are scheduled for peak time. Khouz added that the Flexi service has proven to be a “success” since its pilot two years ago, which was why NICE agreed to expand the service this summer.

“Elmont Flexi has been well accepted by the community…with an emphasis on small vehicles with on-demand service,” Khouz said. “And these new, larger buses are a first of their kind vehicle in Nassau County.”

County Legislator Carrie Solages, who had helped advocate for the expansion of the Flexi bus, said that residents desperately needed the additional peak-time routes to help them during their morning commute. The earliest Flexi bus Elmont residents along Meacham Avenue could take toward the Valley Stream Long Island Rail Road Station was the 7 a.m., which Solages said was much too late for some residents to reliably use.

“We’ve been advocating for our commuters to have reliable public transportation after the previous administration had cut services to the Flexi in 2017,” Solages said. “We were able to get those services back, it now that its being expanded further proves that the partnership between the county and NICE works.”

He added that the expansion of the route would not only help morning commuters, but it would also increase the connection between Elmont and the retail sites in Valley Stream along Merrick Road, Sunrise Highway and Green Acres Mall.