Water taxi service proposed from Greenport to Sag Harbor

JULIE LANE PHOTO | Jim Ryan is proposing a water taxi service to ferry passengers from Greenport to Sag Harbor.

The man who once owned Rudy’s in Mattituck is now proposing a water taxi service for pedestrians between Greenport and Sag Harbor.

Jim Ryan brought the idea before the Greenport Village Board Friday afternoon, saying that eventually he would like to extend the service to Riverhead, Southampton, East Hampton, Montauk, Shelter Island and even Block Island.

He would like to use dock space at Steve Clarke’s boat yard on Carpenter Street though he acknowledged he hasn’t yet obtained an agreement from Mr. Clarke who he described as a personal friend and who has provided him dockage in the past. He told Village Board members he would be paying for dock space and only asked them to consider letting him use signs to advertise his service in the village.

He is proposing to start the service with just one boat, he said. While he would like to initiate the service in April, he doesn’t yet have approval from Sag Harbor. A similar idea was rejected by Sag Harbor about 10 years ago, according to Greenport Trustee Michael Osinski.

Mr. Ryan proposes to charge $10 per person for a one-way passenger trip with a shuttle bus that would also take visitors to local vineyards, making it possible for tourists to use the boat and bus without needing vehicle parking in either Sag Harbor or Greenport. By encouraging foot traffic in both localities, he said he thought it would be a boon to downtown businesses in both villages.

He’s not proposing to try to compete with North Ferry and South Ferry that provide both vehicle and foot passengers with access between Greenport, Shelter Island and Sag Harbor.

While he has spoken to Riverhead officials about his idea and said he had a positive reception, Greenport Trustee Chris Kempner, who also is community development director for Riverhead, said that wasn’t true. She said it would be a slow process of extending the service to Riverhead, something that wouldn’t happen this year.

Mr. Ryan said Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter liked the concept and that he has also spoken with officials at Atlantis Marine World and the new Hyatt Hotel under construction in that town and both have expressed interest in the service.

While he’s not seeking dock space from any of the towns or villages, he said he didn’t want to start running the service without speaking with officials.

“We want to be transparent in what we do,” he said.

“Conceptually, it’s fantastic,” Mayor David Nyce said.

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