The summer and pumpkin-picking fall traffic on the East End is just about to begin its seasonal explosion, and one company is partnering with Southampton and Southold towns to try to ease the congestion.
M&V Limousines, Ltd., which runs the Hampton Luxury Liner, plans to launch the Hampton Bays Trolley with free rides the weekend of June 17, when it will operate from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Fees will be charged beginning the weekend of June 24, after which the trolley will run six days a week (excluding Wednesday) from June 30 to September 4.
A one-way ticket will cost $5, an all-day pass will cost $10 and an unlimited seasonal pass will cost $100.
The trolley’s route includes a “Beach Run” from the Hampton Bays railroad station to Ponquogue Beach, and a “Bay Run” from the Hampton Bays Community Center on Ponquogue Avenue to Meschutt Beach on the Peconic Bay.
Here’s a map of the Hampton Bays Trolley Route.
The project is partially funded by a $10,000 grant from Southampton Town.
“The new shuttle service will help support local businesses in Hampton Bays and provide a fun and easy way for residents and tourists to get around without adding to traffic,” said Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman.
M&V Limousines of Commack, which bought the naming rights to the Hampton Luxury Liner last fall after its original owner, Classic Coach of Bohemia, stopped operating in September 2016, is also working with Southold Town to run two 30-passenger trolleys from Mattituck to Southold on weekends this fall.
Southold Government Liaison Officer Denis Noncarrow gave a presentation on the program to the Southold Town Board at its May 23 work session.
“It’s been about a year in the works. We’d love to be able to roll it out for a September start for the fall season,” said Mr. Noncarrow. “If you come here on the Jitney, when you get to your bed & breakfast, you’re stuck there without a car.”
He said this service is designed to solve the public transit “last mile” problem, when people who rely on public transit in rural areas can get almost to their destination…but not quite there.
Mr. Noncarrow said financing of the project is a “work in progress,” and is dependent on upcoming grants. He hopes the trolley will operate throughout the summer by its second season.
He added that he’s looking to meet with businesses along the trolley’s path to see which ones would like to be an official stop on the route.
The Southold trolley would originate at the Mattituck railroad station, and would be coordinated with the Long Island Rail Road schedule. Two potential routes would run along the Main Road and the North Road to the Southold railroad station, connecting with the train, which runs to Greenport.
Mr. Noncarrow said M&V Limousines would need to add an additional trolley in order to provide service to Greenport, which could be an option in upcoming years.
“You don’t want to pick them up four hours later,” he said. “You don’t know what shape they’ll be in, depending on where you bring them.”
The trolley would run on Saturdays and Sundays from Sept. 1 through Nov. 12, with service on Labor Day and Columbus Day as well. Fares would be $10 for a daily pass and $100 for a season-long pass.
“There will be people right away who are naysayers, but I feel in my heart, if we try this. we will learn firsthand what direction to go to for the next season,” said Councilman Bill Ruland. “Once you start this and people are accustomed to and will depend on it, you’re going to go down that road and it’s going to work for you.”
“A private entrepreneur will be able to do kinds of things we could never do if it were municipally operated,” he added. “All our local businesses have a big stake in this.”