GARDEN CITY - The Nassau County Bus Transit Committee has approved a NICE bus request for a 25 cent hike on fares for customers who pay with cash.

The hike means rates will increase from $2.25 to $2.50 per ride.

NICE bus CEO Michael Setzer says wage and benefit increases for employees, rising fuel costs and additional ride services are the main reasons for the change.

Setzer says if the board had voted down the fare increase, the alternative would have been service cuts.  One way or another, he says NICE has to plug a $2.6 million budget shortfall.

Commuters who pay with a MetroCard are already spending $2.50 per fare and will not see an increase.  

The new fares for those who pay with cash are set to start in September.