MINEOLA - A major glitch is costing Long Island commuters.

Some NICE bus riders say their balances are being wiped out when they dip their MetroCards to pay for bus fare.

The Long Island Bus Riders Union says it is stepping in to help out by collecting serial numbers from the backs of faulty MetroCards.

NICE bus officials insist that they get fewer than 20 complaints per month about malfunctioning MetroCards. They say customers who have that problem can mail in their cards to request a replacement or refund, a process which can take up to six weeks.

The MTA operates the MetroCard system used by NICE buses, though fare collection boxes are maintained by the bus company.