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Is a trolley service on its way to Southold?

A weekend trolley loop could make its way to the North Fork this fall with the goal of getting visitors to take the train to the North Fork and alleviate congestion on local roads. 

The loop is being proposed on a pilot basis by M&V Limousines of Southampton, which is tied to the new trolley line set to run in Hampton Bays this summer. A 30-person trolley car and bus is planned for the first season.

“This is for people who end up out here,” Southold government liaison officer Denis Noncarrow said Tuesday at a Southold Town Board work session at Peconic Landing. “A lot of people tell us all the time, well I could get there one way or the other, but I have no way to move around once I get out there.”

A potential loop organizers are considering would start at the Mattituck Long Island Rail Road station and head down Main Road into Southold. The route, which could also include Route 48, has not been finalized as organizers meet with businesses and chambers of commerce to gauge who wants to participate, Mr. Noncarrow said.  All potential stops on the loop would require participation of the business owner.

The service has to be a long-term plan, Mr. Noncarrow said. It will take constant adjustments in how it operates once it gets going.

“This is basically a pilot season,” Mr. Noncarrow said. “We also hope it works and hope we can move the people around and come to some real knowledge on how we’re going to work this through the years.”

Financing is a work in progress but there are some upcoming grants that could cover costs, he said.

The goal is to start the service from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in September after local businesses, including wineries, farms and bed-and-breakfasts, are contacted and volunteer to be stops on the trolley route. It would run until mid-November and start up again in the spring next year. Passengers would pay $10 for an all-day pass or $100 for a season.

More challenges come up than answers, Mr. Noncarrow said, including time between stops.

“There’s a lot of work in the next three months to put this together, but it can be done,” he said.

Councilwoman Jill Doherty said its a start to relieving traffic congestion in the town, but more needs to be done.

“There’s no one solution,” she said.

Councilman Bill Ruland said there will be people right away who are “naysayers,” but the trial season will be an opportunity to learn.

“That will teach us what direction to go to for the next season because I think once you start this and once people are accustomed and will depend on it that you’re gonna go down that road and it’s gonna work for you,” he said.

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