From a van driving around the Hamptons in 1974 to a fleet of the luxury motor coaches in 2019, Hampton Jitney has become a recognizable symbol of connecting city dwellers to the East End. Daily service between the North and South Forks and the metro New York area have transported thousands of people, while also amassing thousands of passenger stories. Marking their 45thanniversary, the company is inviting all Jitney riders to celebrate by sharing their favorite memories from their own travels over the years.
Hampton Jitney’s 45thanniversary campaign kicked off with the love story of a man and woman who met during a summer day on the bus. Three years later he chartered a Jitney to propose, and she accepted. The couple now live in New York City with their three children. Being able to share stories like this have always been on the company’s mind.
“We thought about using stories from customers and have heard so many over the years,” says Hampton Jitney vice president Andrew Lynch. “We have gotten a lot of response for our request, including chance encounters, relationships that started with people sitting next to each other, the ability for people to see family members who have moved to the city and a lot of activity from people talking about how they rely on the service as part of their lives.”
Dozens of submissions for the campaign thus far have included couples meeting and later marrying, people creating enduring friendships and stories of random acts of kindness from strangers from simple positive conversations and interactions to detailed advice on places to enjoy or explore across the East End. Hampton Jitney will release stories periodically, and plans to host trivia events and giveaways into the summer. Lynch says they are impressed by the tremendous response and have been pleasantly surprised by how many people have positive memories of their service and how it has impacted individual lives.
As a privately operated and funded business, Hampton Jitney comes into own challenges. They operate year-round, which does not always make financial sense, particularly in the winter, but Lynch says they have an obligation to customers and also fill a niche not met by many other forms of transportation. New York is a difficult environment to operate in with Manhattan’s congestion, tolls, and fees, making it an increasingly hostile place to operate a business such as this.
“On one hand, 45 years sounds like a level of permanence that is really incredible to achieve,” Lynch explains. “But on the other hand, it’s a struggle on a year-to-year basis. It is not easy, so we’re always on our best game to make services more convenient for passengers and make operations more efficient. By viewing this as a struggle every year it helps to keep us sharp.”
Hampton Jitney was founded by former advertising executive James Davidson as a means for transporting people to and from various Hamptons towns during an oil crisis. The local service grew out of necessity to keep the business running, and Davidson began transportation services into New York City. In 1988, the business was sold to Lynch’s parents, with him and his brother, company president Geoffrey Lynch, run Hampton Jitney today. In addition to connecting passengers to the East End and the city, as well as area airports, the popular bus service also includes limousines, charters and tours throughout the northeast and Canada.
“Forty-five years is a tremendous milestone and tribute to our employees, customers, and partners,” said Geoffrey Lynch in a press release. “We are proud to be one of the icons of the East End and look forward to another 45 years.”
Customers wishing to share their own Hampton Jitney experiences for the campaign can submit stories to firstname.lastname@example.org.