Second District Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman said this week that Sunday bus ridership on the two East End county bus routes has increased sharply this week over last, in some cases by more than 50 percent.
Sunday bus service began as a pilot program initiated by Schneiderman in 2011. The first year the service operated for only part of the summer season. Last year the Sunday and holiday bus service ran from Memorial Day through Columbus Day. This year’s program will operate the same period as last year. The early numbers indicate a sharp spike in ridership over what was already considered a very successful program, said Schneiderman this week.
“The noticeable jump in Sunday bus ridership speaks to the strength of the East End economy and the need for Sunday service,” said Schneiderman. “I don’t know how we managed to go so many years without public transportation seven days a week. Businesses need workers and workers need affordable public transportation to get to work. Anyone out here knows that Sunday is one of the busiest days of the week. The new numbers really show the demand.”
On the S92 route, which runs from Riverhead to Orient Point and East Hampton, the numbers increased from 245 to 374 on the Sunday before Memorial Day, from 415 to 498 on Memorial Day, from 386 to 539 on the first Sunday in June, and from 415 to 607 on the second Sunday in June.
On the 10C route, which runs from East Hampton to Montauk, the numbers grew from 36 to 42 on the Sunday before Memorial Day, from 45 to 71 on Memorial Day, from 38 to 71 on the first Sunday in June, and from 73 to 77 on the second Sunday in June.
“The ridership numbers make clear how great the need is for Sunday bus service,” said First District Legislator Al Krupski, who has always supported Schneiderman’s efforts to expand Sunday bus service. “Hundreds of workers depend on public transportation to get to their jobs. And local merchants that do a huge part of their business during the busy summer season absolutely need those workers in order to thrive.”
Schneiderman recently secured additional funds ($1 million and $2 million) to expand Sunday service to other areas of the county.
“Suffolk is just beginning to emerge from a protracted recession,” said Schneiderman. “Expanding Sunday bus service will help other areas grow by providing workforce accessibility.”