Water Taxi Proposes to Return to Sag Harbor

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The water taxi sponsored by the Hampton Jitney in 2017.

The Peconic Jitney, a passenger-only ferry service that linked the villages of Sag Harbor and Greenport during the summer of 2012, may be making a comeback.

Jim Ryan, a representative of the company, which is a spin-off of the Hampton Jitney bus company, told the Sag Harbor Village Board on Tuesday that Peconic Jitney is seeking a long-term agreement to dock at Long Wharf.

In 2012, the ferry service cost $20 for a round trip or $12 one way. Mr. Ryan said it would likely cost $27 for a round-trip ticket or $16 for one-way passage if it were reestablished this summer.

As in 2012, the service would offer 12 departures from Sag Harbor, Monday through Thursday, and up to four more on Friday and Saturday.

In an interview on Tuesday morning, Mr. Ryan said the company had yet to approach the Village of Greenport but would do so shortly.

He said the company leased a 53-passenger vessel, the John Keith, from New York Water Taxi in 2012 and is in negotiations to lease a larger ferry that would hold 133 passengers from another company.

If long-term docking agreements can be reached and the service is as successful as the pilot program was, Mr. Ryan said, Peconic Jitney plans to have a 150-passenger ferry constructed at a cost of $3 million — but that would take 18 to 24 months.

Board members had no objections to the request, although they said they needed to see detailed plans for the service, including docking arrangements and a plan for parking.

“We’re going to need a site plan, soup to nuts, so we can make a real determination,” said Trustee Aidan Corish.

At Tuesday’s board meeting, Mr. Ryan said the pilot service was established as part of the Sustainable East End Development Strategies initiative of East End municipalities that sought to provide sustainable transportation alternatives. It was discontinued when funding ended.

The company had projected ridership of 12 passengers per trip, but an average of 19 people per trip actually used the service. During the 83 days it was in operation, a total of 18,590 passengers rode the ferry, removing an estimated 4,600 cars from the roads, he said.

The company had projected those passengers would spend an average of $25 to $50 per visit, but Mr. Ryan said questionnaires showed they actually spent much more — closer to $200 per trip — and had an economic impact of at least $1 million on the two villages’ economies.

In 2012, Peconic Jitney leased the parking lots at Pierson High School and Greenport High School and expected up to 30 cars a day to use those parking lots. Instead, an average of 1.5 cars used the parking, despite a free shuttle service to and from the docks, Mr. Ryan said.

“A lot of times, people parked in the village or on Long Wharf,” Mr. Ryan said. He added that the company recognized it would have to find a better solution in a traffic-clogged village like Sag Harbor.

At Tuesday’s presentation, Mr. Ryan repeatedly told the board the Jitney did not want to impose itself on the village but looked forward to working with it to provide an alternative transportation service linking the two forks.

On Wednesday, Mr. Ryan said he had discussed the idea of establishing a ferry pass that could be used by riders on Suffolk County’s S-92 bus line to provide another option for commuters.

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