By Kathryn G. Menu
Whether or not the Peconic Bay Water Jitney — a passenger ferry service between Sag Harbor and Greenport that operated on a pilot season basis throughout the summer of 2012 — will be proposed for 2013 remains uncertain.
The passenger ferry service has been running since July after both Sag Harbor and Greenport villages green-lit a trial run in May. The Peconic Bay Water Jitney is a partnership between the Hampton Jitney and Response Marine’s Jim Ryan, who oversees the water Jitney between the villages. The Jitney seats 53 people below deck and has over 20 seats on the top deck.
The permit from the Village of Sag Harbor allows the service to run through October 31 when the temporary law allowing passenger ferry service from Long Wharf will sunset and ferry service will become illegal in Sag Harbor without board intervention.
Since the service started, the village has been studying the impact of the ferry service through its environmental planning consultants, Inter-Science Research Associates.
According to Inter-Science President Rich Warren, that study will not be completed until later this month.
According to Ryan, there has been no official discussions about the future of the ferry service while the Hampton Jitney awaits financial statistics about the ferry service expected later this month.
While Hampton Jitney vice-president Andrew Lynch did not return calls for comment this week, in last week’s edition of The Southampton Press, Hampton Jitney President Geoff Lynch stated the service generated less than $200,000 in revenue, with daily ridership around 200 passengers, short of the 300 to 350 the company originally said was necessary to keep the business afloat.
In that interview, Lynch said outside investors would likely be needed for the service to continue in 2013.
On Monday, Lynch said nothing was off the table and that he has personally met with investors regarding the future of the passenger ferry, which he said, despite rumors, has no intention of expanding to include a Connecticut launch to casinos, nor has any dream of making Sag Harbor Village a passenger ferry hub.
If anything, said Lynch, if the service moves forward, because of the lack of infrastructure in Sag Harbor it would look to a maritime port like Greenport to become a hub, but that even for 2013, the company was simply not there yet.
If they do want to move forward in 2013, the Peconic Bay Water Jitney will need the approval, again, of the Suffolk County Legislature as well as the village boards in Sag Harbor and Greenport.
In Sag Harbor, if the Peconic Bay Water Jitney hopes to operate outside of a conditional license it will likely need approval from not only the Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees, but also the Sag Harbor Village Harbor Committee, its planning board and potentially its zoning board of appeals.