2012 Top Story No. 10: Water taxi links North and South forks

by |
12/22/2012 8:00 AM |

COURTESY PHOTO | The Peconic Bay Water Jitney debuted this summer for a 100-day run.

After one failed attempt and two years in the making, a water taxi linking the North and South forks launched this summer.

In June, Mattituck business owner Jim Ryan of Response Marine and Hampton Jitney president Geoffrey Lynch overcame a major legal hurdle after the Sag Harbor Village Board approved a measure to amend its code, which bars ferries, to allow the boat to operate on a 100-day trial.

The Peconic Bay Water Jitney, a 53-passenger ferry that ran five daily round trips between Sag Harbor and Greenport all summer long, had docked at the north end of Long Wharf in Sag Harbor Village and at Mitchell Park Marina in Greenport Village.

The 40-minute ferry run cost passengers $11 one way and $20 round trip.

Prior to the water taxi launching, both Shelter Island-based ferry companies — North Ferry and South Ferry — told The Suffolk Times they weren’t too worried that it would hurt their business and welcomed a new route linking the North and South forks.

It’s unclear if the blue and silver Peconic Bay Water Jitney will return next summer.

According to Shelter Island Town Councilman Chris Lewis, Mr. Lynch said there will be “no second summer” for the ferry unless investors are found.

Among the costs were $12,000 to rent parking lots in Sag Harbor and Greenport and the expense of shuttling passengers from their cars to the ferry terminals, which was a required service to ease concerns about downtown traffic congestion in both villages.

Mr. Ryan has denied Mr. Lewis’s claim and said he believed Mr. Lynch’s intention was to seek “additional investors to help support the service.”

“At this point, we’re focused on developing ridership,” Mr. Ryan said.