MINEOLA - NICE bus riders may have to dig a little deeper into their pockets to pay for fares, but County Executive Ed Mangano (R-Nassau) is urging against any such fare hikes.

As News 12 Long Island has reported, the MTA plans to raise bus fares for city routes from $2.25 to $2.50 a ride, which would affect Long Islanders who use the NICE bus system to ride into Queens. However, NICE bus managers have said they want to match the MTA's increase by raising rates, even for riders who stay within Nassau.

The NICE fare hike must first be approved by the five-member Nassau County Bus Transit Committee, and Mangano is urging its members to vote against it.

"While I recognize it is not practical for NICE Bus to prevent customers from paying additional fares for MetroCards... I urge members of the Nassau County Bus Transit Committee to drop plans for a fare hike on cash customers," Mangano said.

The bus riders' union says Mangano's opposition may be enough to kill the fare hike, but NICE operators say that if the fare doesn't go through, the MTA will still collect a transfer free from city-bound NICE riders.