Early risers can now depart Shelter Island for Greenport an hour earlier as a new 5 a.m. ferry officially began service Monday.
The earlier ferry will allow Shelter Island residents to catch the first Long Island Rail Road train out of Greenport at 5:25 a.m., according to Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming (D-Noyac). The North Ferry Co. is moving its second ferry 10 minutes ahead — from 5:40 a.m. to 5:30 a.m. — to accommodate travelers trying to catch the 5:55 a.m. Hampton Jitney from Greenport.
At a public meeting last month on Shelter Island, residents expressed the need for an earlier ferry.
Ms. Fleming worked with North Ferry general managers Bridg Hunt and Stella Lagudis to push the effort forward with the intent of offering greater public transportation options, according to a press release. Legislator Al Krupski (D-Cutchogue) and Assemblyman Fred Thiele (I-Sag Harbor) also attended Tuesday’s press conference announcing the new ferry.
“We appreciate this effort by North Ferry Co. to accommodate this request in adjusting its morning schedule allowing passengers connecting to the LIRR to get to Penn Station, the airports, and medical appointments at earlier times,” Ms. Fleming said.
The effort, officials say, will also help keep the area green.
“As our community continues to experience adverse effects of a changing climate,” Ms. Fleming said Tuesday, “it is essential that we continue to support an inter-connnected public transportation system that will reduce both carbon emissions and traffic congestion. The local economy benefits when residents are well served by multi-passenger transportation options and can get away from reliance on individual cars.”
Mr. Hunt said the company was happy to meet customers’ demands, while working to protect the environment.
The first boat will leave at 5:30 a.m. on the weekend. Elizabeth Galle of Shelter Island, a member of the Island’s Ferry Study Group, said the change allows residents with more flexible schedules to choose their working hours, avoid the morning rush and better coordinate flight plans. Ms. Galle said that for her husband, this new ferry time is life-changing.
LIRR President Phil Eng added: “Connectivity throughout our regional transportation network is paramount to providing the best possible customer service to residents and visitors.”
Photo caption: Brig Hunt joined by Assemblyman Fred Thiele, left, Legislator Al Krupski and Legislator Bridget Fleming. (Courtesy of Bridget Fleming’s office)