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Nassau Inter-County Express


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According to NYCT forums,  there are some interesting news regarding the overall operations of Nassau Inter-County Express:                                                     -1: Apparently NICE is already installing Bus chargers to Mitchell Field Depot in anticipation for the upcoming XE40 test buses which scheduled to be delivered in fall 2022 (instead of 2023 that I had initially reported). They want to get 180 miles out of these buses that would cover a day shift. Might be a slightly different set range limit from MTA's also upcoming 60 XE40 bus order.                                                                      -2: It appears that the county's contract with Transdev was quietly extended to the end of 2024 due to the ongoing global emergency pandemic. This was done at the end of 2020. So no, the MTA is not coming back anytime soon....                                                               -3: In an update to the XN60 test fleet, NICE is apparently very pleased with how they preformed and as a result,  a new articulated bus order is in the works for possible delivery in the 2023-2024 time frame. Expect to see XN60s testing on the n4 soon, possibly other lines as well.                                                                                                 -4: The 2018 "Let's Go" vision plan to include Express/ Rapid NICE bus service to Manhattan is being put on hold for now. Not scrapped,  just delayed as NICE is working on other plans at the moment.                                                                                                   -5: There's rumors that NICE bus might revive a couple of discontinued routes as Apparently NICE held a community board meeting last night for the first in over a year. This would be in addition to the also rumored +SBS+ subsystem that the XE40s will allegedly be assigned to.

All in all, very interesting updates. Glad that NICE is really pulling through these days when just 5-6 years ago things were very chaotic under then county executive Ed Mangano...

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The 2021 Gillig Advantage BRT Plus CNG order is now complete as buses #2073-2079 had rolled into Mitchell Field Depot over the weekend. 

Needless to say...get your last rides on the 2009 Orion 7.501 Next Generation CNGs now before they retire, likely by the end of the week... 😔

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2009 Orion 7.501 NG CNGs #1728, #1729, and #1756 were all out in service this morning. #1728 and #1756 were both working the n24 and #1729 was working the n15. This may very well be their last week in service since the base order of 80 2021 Gillig Advantage BRT Plus CNGs is now complete (on top of the 110 XN40 order that was also recently completed).

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Starting 1/2/2022, NICE is launching new schedule changes. By the looks of things, the n4X is going to take a big service reduction and the n41 MIGHT get eliminated and just stay as the n40 from now on. Also, the n35 will see service improvements (especially on weekends) and run til almost midnight. 

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Things are coming down to the wire when it comes to the 2009 Orion 7.501 NG CNGs as several more buses retired over the week. #1737, #1764, #1766, #1770, #1776, #1787, #1788, #1789, #1792, and #1795 are ALL retired out of MF Depot. Only 5 more buses to go before this batch is history sadly. 

Remaining units are the following: #1728, #1729, #1756, #1769, and #1782. Catch these CNGs now as these last buses could be gone by week's end. 

As a side note, for the time being, #1785 and #1797 are NICE system reserve buses. Would be a smart move as a 2021 Gillig Advantage BRT Plus CNG broke down yesterday in Flushing on the n20G. 

#20XX

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8 hours ago, SilentSpades said:

Pardon my ignorance, but does NICE plan to get any more Gillig buses?

Yes, there are 2 option orders with this contract.  Option 1 is for 40 buses (#2080-2119) replace/ retire the 2010-2011 Orion 7.501 NG CNGs #1800-1839 (#1800, and #1804 are already retired), and the second option is for 45 more units (#2120-2164) to eventually retire the 2012-13 Orion 7.501 EPA10 3G CNGs #1840-1884.

Once that happens,  that will be the end of the Orion 7 era for not only NICE,  but for most likely NYC as a whole as by then, the MTA probably would gotten rid of most of theirs too. Also the end of Orion in general as no other buses exist after 2013.

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12 hours ago, Chris.A said:

Yes, there are 2 option orders with this contract.  Option 1 is for 40 buses (#2080-2119) replace/ retire the 2010-2011 Orion 7.501 NG CNGs #1800-1839 (#1800, and #1804 are already retired), and the second option is for 45 more units (#2120-2164) to eventually retire the 2012-13 Orion 7.501 EPA10 3G CNGs #1840-1884.

Once that happens,  that will be the end of the Orion 7 era for not only NICE,  but for most likely NYC as a whole as by then, the MTA probably would gotten rid of most of theirs too. Also the end of Orion in general as no other buses exist after 2013.

Sweet. Nice to see Gillig finally tap into the Northeast a bit more. Besides these options, does it seem like NICE would continue into the future? I know they have talks about XE40s ans XE60s

Shame to see Orion fading away, though I was never big on Orion.

If I'm not mistaken if Gillig has these options picked up, then Gillig would be the majority of the NICE fleet, right?

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10 hours ago, SilentSpades said:

Sweet. Nice to see Gillig finally tap into the Northeast a bit more. Besides these options, does it seem like NICE would continue into the future? I know they have talks about XE40s ans XE60s

Shame to see Orion fading away, though I was never big on Orion.

If I'm not mistaken if Gillig has these options picked up, then Gillig would be the majority of the NICE fleet, right?

NICE bus has around 300 or so buses, so once this order is completed and the last O7 is retired, the Advantage BRTs will be the backbone of the bus fleet. There are more Xcelsiors in the forecast though so I don't think that will be for long.

As for the next artic order, they are most likely for more XN60s, not XE60s.

We are only getting XE40s for now. 

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As of 12/23/2021, All remaining 2009 Orion 7.501 Next Generation CNGs are now retired. The following units are the last to be retired out of Mitchell Field Depot: #1728, #1729, #1756, #1769, and #1782. The status of #1785 and #1797 are unknown at this time, but they are likely still reserve buses. Bus #1729 was the last unit in service, spotted working the n70 on 12/16/2021.

It's really sad to see these go so soon, as these buses honestly held up pretty well considering NICE's piss poor maintenance (not that MTA Long Island Bus itself had that great maintenance, considering how beat to hell the 1996, 1997, and 1998 Orion 5.5.501 CNGs (#1400-1525, and #1806-1821 among others) were, most of which THESE replaced little more than a decade ago).

As of now, the only NG CNGs left in service are the 2011 Orion 7.501 NG CNGs #1801-1803, and #1805-1839 along with EPA 10 units #1840-1884, totalling 82 Orion 7 CNGs left on Long Island. The 2011 batch are goners once the first option of BRT Plus CNGs get here (#2080-2119), possibly this time next year.

End of an era, as well as yet another fleet of Orion 7s being completely retired from this city ( still count Nassau as basically an extension of NYC).....

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On 12/22/2021 at 9:48 PM, SilentSpades said:

Sweet. Nice to see Gillig finally tap into the Northeast a bit more. Besides these options, does it seem like NICE would continue into the future? I know they have talks about XE40s ans XE60s

Shame to see Orion fading away, though I was never big on Orion.

If I'm not mistaken if Gillig has these options picked up, then Gillig would be the majority of the NICE fleet, right?

As 2021 is nearing it's end we are almost at the 10 year anniversary of the creation and birth of Nassau Inter-County Express bus as well as the death of MTA Long Island Bus. It's amazing as to how much this former MTA Regional bus division has changed in such a short time frame. Since it's creation,  these are some of the routes that got axed over the years : n2, n8, n14, n17, n20L, n22A, n22L, n36, n45, n47, n50, n51, n62, n73, n74, n81, and n87.

Additionally, Rockville Centre Depot closed down in 2017 due to a particularly nasty string of cuts that year, to which it had all but spelled the end of the legacy Orion 5.501 CNG fleet on long Island. 

However, 2017 also was the year that introduced Articulated buses to the system so that was one good thing. 

Fast forward to 2020-2021 and NICE bus had deployed it's largest New fleet yet with more than 100 new CNG buses (XN40s and BRT Plus CNGs) and had retired this first ever large scale semi-lowfloor bus fleet in the form of the 2008-2009 Orion 7.501 Next Generation CNGs #1700-1799 ( whose main purpose was to help better integrate MTA LI bus with the rest of the fleet), the oldest buses in the fleet now are the 2011 Orion 7.501 Next Generation CNGs , #1800-1839 batch. One thing worth noting is that these are technically Long Island Bus's last new buses before the NICE takeover. However,  in all actuality,  it is the 2012-13 EPA10 Orion 7.501 3G CNGs #1840-1884 that were the TRUE last new buses destined for Long Island Bus. Those 3Gs in the grand scheme of things are basically transitional buses between the MTA era and the NICE era.

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Keeping an eye on the 2011 Orion 7.501 NG CNGs from here on out to see if they get regulated to weekday service duty only (along with the 2012-13 Orion 7.501 EPA10 3G CNGs). Noticed that NICE been doing that to it's oldest fleets in recent years (although just recently before they retired, a 2009 Orion 7.501 NG CNG was on the n40/n41 on a Saturday morning,  #1737 IIRC less than a month ago).

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  • 2 weeks later...

Strange, but it seems like it has been confirmed. 2011 Orion 7.501 NG CNG #1801 is now retired out of Mitchell Field Depot. This is a very early start to retire this series (not counting #1804, which has been dead since 2011 itself). There's a rumor that there will be 2022 Gillig Advantage BRT Plus CNGs (#2080-2119) as the build codes for possibly two of these are out now. Otherwise, NICE is going to risk a bus shortage, and unless those remaining NG CNGs are over 500,000 miles on the odometer, NICE could be on the hook with the feds for retiring these buses early (which is illegal).

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