WOODBURY - Nassau County's NICE bus service is facing a $3 million budget shortfall.

Riders say they are concerned about potential fare hikes and fewer buses as a result of the shortfall.

Nassau Inter-County Express chief executive Michael Setzer presented details of the system's 2014 operating budget on Thursday, and announced a projected $3.3 million budget deficit.

Setzer blames the deficit on higher natural gas and health care costs, as well as a much greater demand for ABLE ride, a service for people with disabilities.

He says that fare hikes and fewer buses would be a last resort, and adds that NICE doesn't expect those changes to occur.

"I'm pretty confident that this is such an important public service that our public partners, Nassau County as well as the state of New York, will find a way to fully fund it so there's no change in services for people," he says

Setzer did mention some changes to security.  

In light of two assaults on bus drivers, Setzer says he is researching the cost and effectiveness of installing partitions and cameras on buses. He says he's already had some informal discussions with drivers about the idea.

Setzer says he plans to present his findings on the security measures to the Nassau County Bus Transit Committee at its next meeting in June.