Chelsea IrizarryAug 8, 2018, 10:05 pmAug 9, 2018, 1:46 pm

NICE’s new CEO plans to ride into the future of transit

Jack Khzouz lays out his plans for the bus system

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UNIONDALE — The Nassau Inter-County Express is under new leadership as the former chief administrative officer moves into the top role. As of Monday, Jack Khzouz officially took over the role of chief executive officer.

“We've established great practices and brought innovation into the system, and we will try to continue to enforce that throughout the system, using data to drive,” Khzouz said.

Khzouz is replacing Michael Setzer who led since the company's inception in 2012. Khzouz has been with Nassau's bus transit system for six years, most recently in the role of chief administrative officer.

“The transit system has changed a lot of in the last five years, mobile apps and on-demand type of services. We've adopted early and we just need to build off of that,” he said.

The 55-year-old said they plan to continue improving customer service, system performance, and safety driven by data and technology.

Khzouz is credited with playing a role in the development of NICE's mobile fare payment and real-time information app, as well as the new link on-demand bus service. According to Khzouz, the NICE bus system was one of the first transit companies in the country to launch the Uber-like service.

“Our hope is that by the end of the year, we will understand what needs to be changed and tweaked and how that pilot will evolve,” he said. “Our plans are ambitious.”

In the past, funding for Nassau's bus system has caused service to be scaled back. While it's a function of local and state government to decide on funding, Khzouz promises to make Nassau County's dollars go further.

“Our hope is that we have sustainable and understandable budgets going forward so we can plan accordingly,” he said.

In the past years, FiOS1 News has spoken to Long Islanders who've said that NICE’s able-ride service has given them problems, including keeping riders on hold for an hour and not guaranteeing a ride at all. Khzouz said it's an issue they've been working hard to resolve and will continue to do so.

“Most of those issues are behind us. Very rarely do you have a hold time that is more than five minutes anymore and 85 percent of those riders are being picked up and delivered on time,” he said.

The new CEO believes that the future of transit will be defined by being responsive, nimble, and flexible to rider demands.

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