Following a 30 percent rise in passengers in the month of August, this week the Hampton Jitney announced it would extend service of the Peconic Bay Water Jitney through October 1 — a month longer than originally expected.
On Monday, Hampton Jitney vice president Andrew Lynch said the Peconic Bay Water Jitney is running a full schedule Thursday through Monday throughout the month of September, closing for Tuesday and Wednesday. The September schedule will provide six round trip passenger ferry trips between Sag Harbor and Greenport villages Sunday, Monday and Thursday, with seven round trips planned daily for Friday and Saturday.
According to Lynch, the ferry saw a 30-percent rise in passengers in the month of August — exactly the kind of boost the service needed to make the decision to continue through the beginning of the fall.
“We have had a lot of positive feedback and we want to continue the service to see what kind of off-season demand there is,” said Lynch on Monday.
As the Sag Harbor School District’s Pierson Middle-High School is open for the school year, Lynch noted that the shuttle service associated with the ferry would not continue, adding it was not used much to begin with.
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 mid-to-late October.
On Monday, Lynch said that no final decisions have been made on whether or not the Jitney would seek to continue the service next season or expand it to include destinations other than Sag Harbor and Greenport.
“We are going to take some time to do a deep evaluation of the service as a whole and see what kind of viability it has moving forward,” said Lynch. “That being said, August was a very strong month.”
“I have had nothing but compliments from people,” added Sag Harbor Mayor Brian Gilbride. “This has given a lot of residents the opportunity to take a real boat trip and maybe try something they normally have not had the chance to do in boating over to Greenport.”