01/11/13 12:00pm
01/11/2013 12:00 PM

COURTESY PHOTO | The Greenport-Sag Harbor water taxi seen in its inaugural, and most likely last, season.

While he’s not officially pulling the plug on the Peconic Bay Water Jitney, partner Geoff Lynch told Times/Review Newsgroup Thursday it would take a “multi-million dollar” infusion of money for the Greenport-Sag Harbor water taxi service to sail again this summer.

Mr. Lynch, who confirmed an earlier report this week after he spoke at the Sag Harbor Village Board, is president of Hampton Jitney, which partnered with Mattituck businessman Jim Ryan in a pilot program last summer. Hampton Jitney can’t put up the money it would take to keep the enterprise afloat, Mr. Lynch said.

“We can’t do it alone,” he added.

There were no expectations the business would make money on the initial season, Mr. Lynch said, but there were higher expectations on numbers of passengers taking the excursions around Shelter Island to both forks.

At the end of the season Mr. Lynch told the East End Transportation Council — a group of representatives from the five eastern towns exploring transportation services — the water taxi carried about 15,000 passengers since it launched in June 2012. Those who used the service praised it, Mr. Lynch said.

“We had nothing but positive feedback,” he said.

He said he hopes that at some point there will be water-borne service on Peconic Bay such as the water taxi offered, but held out little hope for the 2013 season.

He is expected to carry the same message he gave to the Sag Harbor Village Board last week to Greenport at that Village Board work session on Tuesday, January 22, or the regular meeting on Monday, January 28.

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12/22/12 8:00am
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.

READ MORE ABOUT THE PECONIC BAY WATER JITNEY

09/08/12 7:00am
09/08/2012 7:00 AM

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON FILE PHOTO | Mattituck business owner Jim Ryan aboard the water taxi earlier this summer.

Peconic Bay Water Jitney officials announced this week that its passenger ferry service linking the North and South forks will run through September.

The 100-day temporary approval granted in June by the Suffolk County Legislature allows the water taxi to shuttle passengers between Greenport and Sag Harbor villages until Sept. 28.

But ferry officials said Wednesday they believe they might be able to extend ferry operations an additional few days, if the Legislature approves an amendment to the plan during its next general meeting Sept. 13.

Mattituck business owner Jim Ryan of Response Marine, who launched the ferry plan jointly with Hampton Jitney president Geoffrey Lynch, said he and Mr. Lynch have decided to extend service past Labor Day to find out if the 45-minute ride is popular during September festivals in both villages.

“We’re pleased to have the opportunity to have a better look at the look at the off-season,” Mr. Ryan said.

Mr. Ryan said he didn’t need additional approvals from Greenport or Sag Harbor to run the ferry until Sept. 28 because those municipalities already agreed to allow the pilot program to operate through October.

Although the ferry had low ridership when it first launched in June, Mr. Ryan said he believes the pilot program was a success. After this season wraps up, he said he will work with both communities to tweak any changes to the plan before reintroducing it to Greenport and Sag Harbor next year. Peconic Bay Water Jitney customers have also provided feedback by answering questionnaires while aboard the boat, he added.

“We’ll only move forward with the input and support of both villages,” Mr. Ryan said. “Otherwise we won’t do it.”

The September schedule runs Thursday through Monday with extra late-day trips on Fridays and Saturdays. There will be no ferry service on Tuesdays or Wednesdays.

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06/30/12 7:00am
06/30/2012 7:00 AM

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Sag Harbor Village officials board the Peconic Bay Water Jitney Friday afternoon in Greenport.

East End visitors can now see the North and South forks in the same day by taking a 40-minute ride aboard the new Peconic Bay Water Jitney passenger ferry, which held a soft opening this week.

Mattituck business owner Jim Ryan of Response Marine, who proposed the 100-day water taxi pilot plan jointly with Hampton Jitney president Geoffrey Lynch, said ferry operations linking Greenport and Sag Harbor villages have gone “very well.”

“We’ve been on schedule,” Mr. Ryan said. “So far, so good.”

In Greenport, passengers get on and off the 53-passenger vessel near the camera obscura in Mitchell Park. From there, the ferry hugs the shoreline of Shelter Island and docks at the north end of Long Wharf in Sag Harbor.

Ferry operators said about 25 people rode the ferry as of 1 p.m. Friday afternoon.

Sag Harbor Village Mayor Brian Gilbride, along with Village Clerk Beth Kamper, Chief of Police Tom Fabiano and Superintendent of Public Works Dee Yardley took the 10 a.m. ferry to Greenport Friday morning in order to experience it first hand.

“The ride was very enjoyable,” Mr. Gilbride said. “I plan to take my kids and grandkids here.”

Sag Harbor Village officials said they ate brunch at the Coronet, visited Village Hall and window shopped.

“It was a great trip and beautiful ride,” Ms. Kamper said.

Peconic Bay Water Jitney also includes bus service to alleviate parking congestion in both villages.

Hampton Jitney shuttles passengers between Bridgehampton, East Hampton and the ferry dock in Sag Harbor. On the North Fork, shuttle service between Greenport School, where people would park, and Mitchell Park Marina is set to begin Saturday.

The ferry will make seven trips from each port Sundays through Wednesdays, starting at 7 a.m. from Greenport. There will be nine daily departures from each port Thursdays through Saturdays.

The estimated 40-minute ride will cost $11 for adults one way and $20 round trip.

For more information, visit peconicjitney.com.

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