Tag Archive | "Peconic Bay Water Jitney"

Peconic Bay Water Jitney Will Not Return to Sag Harbor in 2013

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By Kathryn G. Menu

Despite finding some success late this summer, Hampton Jitney President Geoffrey Lynch announced this week the Peconic Bay Water Jitney would not traverse the waters between Sag Harbor and Greenport villages this summer, citing the financial cost of funding the water taxi service.

“Having said that, we don’t want to stop pursuing funding from outside sources, whether public or private,” said Lynch at a Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday night, adding the company would look into possible federal funding to help cover the capital costs needed to make the service a success.

The Peconic Bay Water Jitney – as it was coined by Lynch and his brother Andrew, and Response Marine owner Jim Ryan – made its official maiden voyage between Long Wharf in Sag Harbor and Mitchell Park in Greenport on June 28. The launch followed a contentious debate about the impact the ferry would have on the quality of life of both Sag Harbor residents and businesses, fears of a demand for parking and an increase in traffic dominating the discussion.

Ultimately, with the exception of former village board member Tim Culver, the Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees signed off on the temporary use of Long Wharf for the service and passed a local law allowing passenger ferry service, which like vehicular ferries is illegal in Sag Harbor, for one summer season.

For the Lynch brothers and Ryan, this opportunity was viewed not only as a business venture, but also as an opportunity to study a new form of transportation on the East End – water based transportation in a region historically and recreationally celebrated because of its access to the water.

The ferry service, which ran on a single leased catamaran with 53 seats below deck and an additional 20 seats on the top deck, ran for approximately 85 days, ending on September 30.

According to Lynch, during that time, the ferry service carried 16,650 passengers, starting with just 212 at the end of June, growing to 5,404 passengers in July and peaking at 7,402 passengers in August before serving 3,632 passengers in September.

Lynch said that averaged to about 195 passengers a day, not the 250 to 300 passengers daily the company had hoped for, but “pretty good,” said Lynch. “And it certainly opens the door in terms of potential, but what the service needs is someone who has the financial resources to handle the start up costs for the appropriate vessel and can handle a loss over multiple seasons before the service is reliable enough for people to use on a regular basis.”

“We grossed about $160,000 in revenue,” said Lynch. “We spent a heck of a lot more than that.”

Financially, the 2012 operating costs were close to $500,000. According to figures provided by Lynch, the vessel lease of the John Keith from the New York Water Taxi Service cost the company $110,000, with insurance coming in at $41,000. Staff wages cost $86,000, with vessel fuel costs – admittedly higher than Lynch originally expected – at $91,000. The creation of a shuttle service for passengers cost the company $74,000 and docking fees in Sag Harbor and Greenport were a total of $24,000.

The ferry employed a total of 15 people during its service, including four United States Coast Guard licensed captains who operated the John Keith, six deckhands, two shuttle bus drivers, two call center customer care representatives and one person in charge of administration and accounting.

Lynch said the firm also utilized local contractors for fuel, mechanics, parts supplies, dock building, welding and print and radio advertising.

“Anecdotally, I would say the service was a huge hit,” said Lynch. “I heard very little negative feedback from customers, municipal agencies. I think we had one sailboater in the harbor who didn’t like the boat. Financially, it was certainly a bust for the Peconic Jitney and for myself and my brother who were funding this thing. Given that, we don’t have any immediate plans to go forward with the service for 2013.”

Lynch said this season was a learning experience, similar to what any new business venture would go through. He said one vessel proved not to be enough in order to keep the frequency of trips in line with demand and keep crowds at a minimum at docking sites.

In terms of the long-term goal of expanding the passenger ferry service to other waterfront ports on the East End, Lynch said another, larger vessel would be required to comfortably traverse the water.

Lynch said, based on credit card receipts, it did appear the service was favored locally – locals making up a majority of riders rather than just day trippers and tourists.

“So the appetite for this from a local perspective is there and the potential for tourists and other day trippers,” he said. “There was a much broader market out there and I am hopeful we can continue, but we cannot do it on our own.”

According to Sag Harbor Mayor Brian Gilbride, who praised the service and pushed for the temporary permit to allow it to run in the summer of 2012, if the Peconic Bay Water Jitney does come back to the village with a 2013 proposal, it will have to start from scratch in terms of earning approval to run the service, and run it from Long Wharf – newly acquired by the Village of Sag Harbor through a deal with Suffolk County.

Peconic Bay Water Jitney Will Run Through October 1

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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.”

Peconic Bay Jitney Ridership Low; Hampton Jitney Remains Hopeful

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The Peconic Bay Water Jitney — a passenger ferry service operating on a trial basis this summer between Sag Harbor and Greenport — has not seen the ridership Hampton Jitney President Geoffrey Lynch originally hoped for during its first two weeks of service.

According to Lynch, the ferry service has averaged 175 riders per day, a far cry from the 300 passengers Lynch originally said would make the venture a financially worthwhile endeavor for his company to pursue.

However, on Tuesday night in front of the Sag Harbor Village Board, Lynch said he remains hopeful that once his firm starts advertising and marketing the water taxi in a comprehensive fashion ridership will increase, making it viable for the Jitney to consider pursuing long term plans for a passenger ferry service out of Sag Harbor.

“To date there has been a total of 1,920 passengers both ways, which is roughly 175 passengers a day,” said Lynch. “It’s not enough that I would say it is a viable business, but it is encouraging given we have only had 11 days of operation.”

Lynch said statistics have shown that ridership is fairly even in terms of people coming from Sag Harbor or Greenport villages, although Greenport has a slightly higher number of passengers using the service.

A shuttle bus service, operating from a Pierson High School parking lot to the ferry and also connecting with stops in East Hampton, also shows lower ridership than expected. According to statistics presented by Lynch on Tuesday night, about 60 people in total have taken advantage of the shuttle, just five or six passengers using the shuttle to get to East Hampton Village.

Noting he plans to be more aggressive with marketing and advertising, Lynch said he is hoping ridership will increase in coming months. Sag Harbor Village’s temporary law allowing the passenger ferry service to operate sunsets on October 31, although Lynch has said will likely suspend the service and assess its success after Labor Day weekend.

The ferry was docked on Tuesday and for most of Wednesday contending with mechanical issues, but was expected to start service again by Wednesday afternoon.

Sag Harbor Mayor Brian Gilbride wondered if Lynch would even continue the shuttle service given its low ridership.

“I have committed to do it,” said Lynch. “Unless there are objections I plan to continue to do it. If it went to zero despite marketing I may consider pulling it but at the moment it is seven days a week.”

Sag Harbor resident Mia Grosjean wondered if discount commuter tickets might encourage people coming to Sag Harbor or Greenport for work in the morning to use the ferry as a means of public transportation. Lynch said ridership is particularly low on the 7 a.m. ferry from Greenport and the 8 a.m. leaving Long Wharf in Sag Harbor.

Lynch said if a demand is there, his company would respond.

“I am happy to talk to them,” he said. “Send them my way.”

Resident Myrna Davis, speaking on behalf of the board of Save Sag Harbor said she was concerned that surveys — meant to discern how people were getting to the ferry, where they were parking and how they were spending their money — had not made it onto the boat yet.

“It’s the only way without following people to know where they are parking,” said Davis. “A lot of people think the excessive traffic, and I know it is happening in other villages as well, is because of the ferry.”

“I will say, there is a lot of traffic around and the water Jitney only wishes they were all riding the ferry,” said Mayor Gilbride.

Mayor Gilbride and Lynch committed to ensuring the surveys would be on the ferry as soon as possible. Mayor Gilbride added that the first meeting of a committee to monitor the ferry will be held next Tuesday.

“The traffic for the last two weeks that everyone is encountering — trust me, it is not the ferry,” said Sag Harbor Village Police Chief Tom Fabiano, who is monitoring the ferry service’s impacts not only as the Chief of Police but also as a member of the committee the village has created to assess the impact of the ferry on the community.

Noting that despite fears, the ferry was not causing a wake and not running over boaters or children sailing, Chief Fabiano said many of the concerns about the ferry have so far proved unfounded.

“I just want to say it is not happening,” he said. “Enough is enough.”

Sag Harbor-Greenport Ferry Service Takes Off

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On Thursday morning, the inaugural departure of the Peconic Bay Water Jitney ferry service from Greenport to Sag Harbor had just one passenger — Hampton Jitney Vice President Andrew Lynch.

“We were biting our nails a little bit with me being the only passenger on the 7 a.m., but as the weekend progressed we were pleasantly surprised by the number of people using the ferry,” said Lynch on Tuesday.

For East Hampton resident Jane Stuart, an avid fan of the North Fork, finding a new way to travel to Greenport without a car was an experience she could not pass up. On Tuesday morning, Stewart and Patty Robert, a Staten Island resident visiting for the holiday, boarded the noon ferry from Long Wharf, excited at the prospect of meeting friends in Greenport for lunch and coming back to Sag Harbor as a group for dinner.

“Usually I take my car over,” said Stuart, as the ferry glided out of the harbor and into Peconic Bay. “This is much better. We get to be out on the beautiful water for 40 minutes each way. It’s almost like owning your own boat.”

Stuart and Robert made their way to the ferry through the Hampton Jitney’s shuttle service, which picks up people at Pierson High School, where passengers from outside Sag Harbor have been encouraged to park their cars.

“It was easy, smooth,” said Stuart. “I will definitely be doing this again.”

The Peconic Bay Water Jitney, operating on a catamaran coined the “John Keith,” began traversing Peconic Bay between Sag Harbor and Greenport last Thursday. For the next several months, the Hampton Jitney company will assess the financial viability of the passenger ferry service, which has been approved by the villages of Greenport and Sag Harbor on a temporary basis for this summer. Those villages will also be studying the economic, traffic and parking impacts the service has on their communities to discern whether or not this concept holds water for everyone involved in the long term.

According to Jim Ryan, of Response Marine, who is leading operations of the ferry service, this past holiday weekend ran smoothly, and ridership after the inaugural voyage was in line with what he had hoped for during what he called the ferry’s “soft opening.”

“We have been pleasantly surprised by the number of people who have taken it,” agreed Lynch. “Especially since we have not even really advertised it yet.”

According to Lynch, over the weekend an average of 30 passengers rode on the 53-passenger vessel.

“We even had one trip coming back from Sag Harbor on Sunday that was sold out,” he said.

Late Wednesday night, Lunch noted the Jitney had finally reached a deal with the Suffolk County Transit Authority and East Hampton to allow for a bus route between East Hampton and Sag Harbor for those looking to incorporate the Long Island Railroad or Suffolk County Transit Authority into their mass transit traveling options, and to reduce parking and traffic woes in Sag Harbor Village.

Starting at 9:15 a.m. the shuttle will make six loops – seven on Friday and Saturday – throughout the day, stopping at EAst Hampton’s Lumber Lane parking lot for a pick-up before a stop at the East Hampton Railroad Station. From there is will head to the Pierson High School parking lot to pick up passengers before dropping off at Long Wharf.

“We want people to use as many mass transit options as possible,” said Lynch. “Now that there is more signage, we are hoping to see an increase there.”

The company is directing those who make reservations on the ferry and are driving to Sag Harbor for the service to the Pierson High School parking lot, which they are leasing for the summer from the school district. The shuttle bus is included in the $20 round trip fare for the ferry. Discounted tickets are available for children under 13 and a one-way fare is $11. Bikes ride free.

Service begins in Greenport at 7 a.m., the ferry’s first Long Wharf departure at 8 a.m. except on Sundays when service begins an hour later. The ferry, which takes about 40 minutes, departs on the hour, leaving Greenport at 7 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. with service from Sag Harbor at 8 a.m., 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m., 5 p.m., 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. There is an additional 10 p.m. departure from Greenport on Fridays and Saturdays with an 11 p.m. boat out of Sag Harbor as well.

For Dr. Tom Halton, a Sag Harbor resident and member of the village’s Harbor Committee, Tuesday marked his first trip on the ferry. He was joined by his wife, Diane and daughter, Corrine, who shopped in Greenport while Dr. Halton explored the nautical history of the village – a hobby of his.

“I think it is just a wonderful way to travel,” he said on his return trip to Sag Harbor. “I am just thanking God the village decided to give this a chance. It’s a really beautiful ride.”

While a number of residents and business owners in Sag Harbor raised concerns with the Sag Harbor Village Board before it approved the ferry service on a trail basis for this summer season, according to village clerk Beth Kamper there have been no complaints logged with the village or the police department since the ferry launched.

Kamper joined Sag Harbor Mayor Brian Gilbride, Sag Harbor Village Police Chief Tom Fabiano and Superintendent of Public Works Dee Yardley on a Friday voyage to Greenport. Mayor Gilbride said he spent most of his time in Greenport looking at local shops and asking business owners what they thought of the service.

“Everyone seemed pretty happy to see us,” he said on Monday.

Mayor Gilbride, Chief Fabiano, Yardley, Kamper and Sag Harbor Planning Board Chairman Neil Slevin will study the service this summer with the help of environmental planning consultant Rich Warren and Harbor Committee Chairman Bruce Tait.

“If it works, it works and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t,” said Mayor Gilbride. “But we had to give it a chance.”

Suffolk County Approves Ferry Service

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Now that it has the approval of the Suffolk County Legislature, as early as next Thursday, the Peconic Bay Water Jitney will make its inaugural voyage from Greenport to Sag Harbor. On Tuesday, the legislature voted unanimously to grant the service a license and approved the rates it will charge to transport customers on the passenger ferry between Greenport and Sag Harbor villages on a trail basis this summer.

It was the last step the Peconic Bay Water Jitney needed to begin service between Mitchell Park Pier in Greenport and Long Wharf in Sag Harbor. Both villages have already approved the venture, which will be run by a new corporation formed by the Hampton Jitney and Response Marine.

“We don’t have everything yet,” said Jim Ryan, president of Response Marine and a principal in the Peconic Bay Water Jitney corporation, which is being funded by Hampton Jitney’s president, Geoffrey Lynch. “I need a successful summer season and then I feel comfortable saying, ‘We have everything we need.’ Honestly, I am just grateful we received the approvals to operate.”

Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman — one of the leading supporters of the ferry service — said on Tuesday he hopes it is a success this summer and that it could potentially be expanded to other ports like Montauk.

“We are just testing this idea, but I do believe it will reduce car traffic, bring the North and South forks closer together and provide a little relief for Shelter Island, which deals with the brunt of car traffic travelling between the Forks,” said Schneiderman. “It will be good for businesses, who will see more foot traffic, and it may pave the way for expanding to other waterfront villages or hamlets like Montauk.”

Schneiderman added the service is only allowed on a trial basis and this is an opportunity to try out a concept discussed as a possible transportation alternative for years — water-based transportation around the East End.

“I applaud the village board in Sag Harbor for having the courage to allow this to be tried out,” said Schneiderman. “Assuming the numbers work out for the Jitney, and it isn’t too burdensome on village residents, this could be the kind of thing where people end up fighting to ensure this kind of service is never taken away. It could become a part of the fabric of Sag Harbor’s waterfront, which let’s not forget has a rich maritime history.”

Ryan confirmed the 53-person catamaran, which will be blue and grey displaying the Peconic Bay Water Taxi logo with the traditional Hampton Jitney wave, will have its inaugural voyage on Thursday, June 28. On Wednesday, June 27 his brother John Ryan, a Catholic priest, will bless the vessel at Mitchell Park at 10 a.m.

The ferry, which Lynch said will operate through Labor Day weekend, will offer seven round trips between Greenport and Sag Harbor Monday through Thursday and add two additional round trips on weekend nights.

The boat will depart from Greenport at 7 a.m. with the first departure from Sag Harbor scheduled at 8 a.m. Departures will be every hour, alternating from Greenport to Sag Harbor.

The Suffolk County Legislature has approved a one-way passenger fare of $11, and a round trip ticket price of $20. Children under 12 are offered a round-trip ticket for $11 and a one-way ticket for $6. Bicycles will be stowed gratis.

Sag Harbor Village Approves Passenger Ferry Service, For Now

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Despite mounting opposition, the Sag Harbor Village Board approved a passenger ferry on a trial basis on Tuesday night, offering service between Sag Harbor and Greenport villages this summer.

Deputy Mayor Tim Culver cast the lone dissenting vote.

Operated by the Peconic Bay Water Jitney corporation — a company founded by Hampton Jitney President Geoffrey Lynch and led by Response Marine’s Jim Ryan —Lynch says he hopes to have the ferry service up and running by June 28, the Thursday before Fourth of July weekend.

According to Lynch, while the village approved a temporary permit giving the Peconic Bay Water Jitney the right to ferry passengers from Greenport to Sag Harbor and vice versa through October 31, he expects to end the service after Labor Day weekend. After that it will be evaluated for its success or failure — both from the business’ perspective and that of the village — before Lynch decides whether or not he will apply to the village for a long-term service, possibly with more ports of call.

As a part of the agreement, which stipulates the village can discontinue the service immediately if it finds it’s having a negative impact on Sag Harbor residents, the Peconic Bay Water Jitney will pay the village $12,000 to dock on the north end of Long Wharf. The 53-person catamaran will dock overnight and re-fuel in Greenport, which will charge the ferry the same fee.

Lynch said he is looking for upwards of 300 total passengers per day to determine whether or not the ferry is a successful business venture.

The Village of Greenport has already approved the ferry service with Tuesday night’s meeting behind them, the Peconic Bay Water Jitney needs only the Suffolk County Legislature to sign off on its charter and fee schedule. According to Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman that is expected to happen at the legislature’s June 19 session. Lynch has proposed charging $20 roundtrip, $11 one-way and half price for children under 13. Passengers may bring bikes aboard for free.

After determining it would lead the environmental review of the ferry, the trustees were met with three-hours dominated by voices of opposition, arguing that the village board did not have clear standards by which it would judge the success or failure of the ferry service once it ceases operation. Residents also argued allowing the ferry, even on a temporary basis, could hamstring the village into allowing Lynch to move forward with a larger ferry service whether they want it or not. Others expressed concerns about traffic and parking, particularly around Pierson High School where the Peconic Bay Water Jitney has contracted to lease parking lot space on Jermain Avenue from the Sag Harbor School District for $20,000.

Madison Street resident Kathryn Levy opened the public hearing presenting a statement signed by a number of residents and business owners.

“We believe that the proposed trial is unacceptable,” read Levy. “The impacts have not been fully or properly assessed. No criteria for the trial’s success — as defined by the costs and benefits to the village community — have been established thus making it an entirely arbitrary, some would say fraudulent, trial.”

Levy said the group was concerned about the impact the service could have on the harbor, the merchants who need precious parking for their patrons and not ferry passengers and the impact on the historic streets and houses of Sag Harbor.

Save Sag Harbor board member Jane Young said her board also had some concerns about the ferry service and has been inundated with emails from residents.

Young said the not-for-profit wanted assurances the service would in fact remain temporary and that criteria could be legally established to study the potential impact of the ferry on residents, including benchmark numbers for how they will assess traffic and parking. Young said trustees should also charge fair market rates for dockage on Long Wharf and that Save Sag Harbor wanted to be assured the service would not cost the village or its taxpayers a dime, under any circumstances.

Jermain Avenue resident Carol Williams said she was concerned about the impact to her neighborhood now that the Hampton Jitney will be encouraging people to park at the school lot before they are shuttled on a 12-person van to downtown Sag Harbor. That concession was offered by Lynch in an effort to reduce parking concerns associated with the new service. The Jitney has also proposed a shuttle service between Bridgehampton, East Hampton and Sag Harbor in an effort to reduce traffic impacts.

“I don’t believe the parking has been thought out,” said Williams, noting it was only in the last couple of weeks she even discovered parking at the school was being considered.

Zoning board of appeals chairwoman and architect Gayle Pickering wondered how the village intended to assess the ferry service.

Sag Harbor Mayor Brian Gilbride said the villages would ask passengers to complete a survey about how they got to the village, where they parked, and how much money was spent during their travels. He added it is also something that will be monitored by Sag Harbor Village Police Chief Thomas Fabiano, Superintendent of Public Works Dee Yardley, Village Clerk Beth Kamper and Planning Board Chairman Neil Slevin. At her request, he invited Pickering to join that committee.

Harbor Committee member Jeff Peters questioned why the village would only charge $12,000 for dockage.

“We should be asking for more money if we want to do this,” said Peters.

Responding to the criticism, Sag Harbor Trustee Robby Stein noted that the Sustainable East End Development (SEED) study included the suggestion of passenger ferry service on the East End. He added the village’s Harbor Committee, sans Peters, has also deemed it consistent with the Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan (LWRP). He added the decision to lease parking space to the Jitney was solely a school decision and not one made by the village.

“I do not know what the effect will be,” said Stein. “If we don’t try it and look at it, how will we know?”

Stein added he believed adolescents who don’t drive but would like to spend time in Greenport would also benefit from the ferry service, as would those who don’t have access to boats.

The American Hotel owner Ted Conklin said mechanically the ferry could work, but he was concerned about the impact it could have on the sailing community, traffic, parking and did not believe it would benefit local businesses.

“Financially, it will not be beneficial especially when you look at the demographics of Greenport,” said Conklin. “It will be more beneficial to Greenport than Sag Harbor.”

To the naysayers who accused the village board of rushing the process, The Wharf Shop owner Nada Barry said this has been in discussion for months.

“There are people in our area who want to use this,” said Barry. “I also want to say in one’s life, and I am older than most of you in this room, static-ness does not get you anywhere be it in business or in community.”

According to Lynch, he will open his books regarding ferry service to the village and the village will be indemnified should any accidents occur associated with the ferry.

“Again, this is only a pilot project and I think that is being missed,” said Lynch’s attorney Tiffany Scarlato. “It is a 100-day project and will not continue unless the village board thinks it is successful.”

“Certainly, what I have gotten from this is it is a way to gather information to determine whether or not it is viable,” said Mayor Gilbride. “If it is out of control we can terminate it quickly.”

Greenport Approves Ferry as Sag Harbor Village Debates How to Study the Service

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Geoffrey Lynch’s plan to test the viability of a Hampton Jitney run passenger ferry service between Sag Harbor and Greenport continued to find support last week. The Village of Greenport authorized Mayor David Nyce to draft a letter of consent to allow the service to dock and operate out of Greenport on a trial basis this summer season.

According to Mayor Nyce, the village board reached that agreement on Thursday and will discuss where the vessel should dock as well as a rate schedule in executive session during its Monday meeting.

In an interview on Monday, Mayor Nyce said that following a hearing where residents asked village officials to protect the shellfishing industry by siting the passenger ferry at Mitchell Park Marina, the village was moving in that very direction.

While supporting the service with a letter of consent, in order to ensure the pilot passenger ferry service is not held up for this season, Mayor Nyce said on Monday the board will likely discuss the terms of a final deal with the Hampton Jitney. He added that Greenport officials are working with the Village of Sag Harbor to ensure rates and responsibilities carried by the Hampton Jitney during this summer season are similar in both villages.

Mayor Nyce confirmed that both villages, by law, will have to charge the Hampton Jitney docking rates for the Peconic Bay Water Jitney, as municipalities cannot gift public property, but declined to reveal what rates the villages were considering until the contract was reviewed next Monday.

The Village of Greenport’s decision follows the Village of Sag Harbor, which last week also paved the way for what Lynch — the owner of the Hampton Jitney — has coined the Peconic Bay Water Jitney. The Sag Harbor Village Board, sans Deputy Mayor Tim Culver, temporarily amended its village-wide ban on passenger ferry service in Sag Harbor through October in an effort to give Lynch the opportunity to test the waters on a ferry services between the Twin Forks as an alternate transportation option on the East End.

In addition to the villages’ approval, the Peconic Bay Water Jitney must also receive a license from Suffolk County, which also has the right to approve the ferry’s rate schedule. Currently that is proposed as $20 round trip, $11 one-way per person. This week Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman said he was trying to ensure a 15-years and under children’s ticket was available at half price to ensure families could afford to use the service.

According to Legislator Schneiderman, the county will continue its review of the ferry service in June. Lynch and his partner, Jim Ryan of Response Marine, have said they would like to launch their service at the end of June and intend to run it through Labor Day, assessing its success after the final holiday weekend of the summer.

Sag Harbor residents have largely been divided on whether the ferry service, which will launch nine times a day on a 53-person catamaran off one side of the north end of Long Wharf and will dock overnight in Greenport, will be a detriment or benefit to the community. Mayor Nyce said residents in Greenport were “generally favorable” of the concept and particularly like the idea of increasing commerce in the downtown.

In response to some residents concerns, Sag Harbor Mayor Brian Gilbride spoke of developing a task force of village employees to study the impact the ferry has on traffic, parking and commerce — the three areas of concern raised by village residents during the debate over the ferry this spring.

On Monday night, the village’s Harbor Committee took that one step further, giving the proposal its seal of approval under the Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan (LWRP) under specific conditions. They also called on the village to develop a substantive way to assess the ferry’s impact.

Harbor Committee chairman Bruce Tait, who has been working with Planning Board Chairman Neil Slevin, said he would like the village to develop a metric based system to analyze the impacts to traffic, parking and commerce. Tait suggested the village should contract with a planning expert — like the village’s consultant Inter-Science Research Associates — to formalize those metrics so that the final study of the ferry is not subjective, but one based in fact.

Tait and Slevin envision the village team Mayor Gilbride suggested — the police chief, harbor master, superintendent of public works, village clerk and members of the Harbor Committee and Planning Board — could report to an expert conducting these traffic, parking and commerce studies.

The cost of the study, said Tait, should be born at least in part by the Hampton Jitney as they are a commercial entity that stands to profit from the proposal.

As an example, said Tait, one way to study parking and traffic impacts is to poll people using the ferry on how they got there — by car, by Jitney shuttle or by foot — and if they did come to Sag Harbor by car, ask where they parked. Similarly, ferry passengers could be asked to fill out basic information on where they shopped or ate in Sag Harbor while touring the village.

“This way at the end of the trial period we don’t have an assessment with people saying, ‘I like it,’ ‘I didn’t like it’,” said Tait. “We have metrics to measure this by.”

The Harbor Committee also formally approved the plan as consistent under several chapters of the LWRP, including those that promote the use of the village as a center of maritime activity, suitable for water dependent uses including specifically a ferry service, as well as a village that promotes access to the water and protects scenic resources and vistas.

One condition, however, was that the north end of Long Wharf, long used for fishing or simply gazing into the harbor, not be used by the ferry service.

While Tait argued the village could use the west side of Long Wharf for the ferry instead of the north end, after the meeting Harbor Master Bob Bori told Tait he did not believe the boat could safely navigate into the west side and would need to take a portion of the north end.

The Sag Harbor Village Board will review the Harbor Committee’s recommendation at its June 12 meeting where it is also expected Lynch will make a formal proposal to run the ferry service this summer off Long Wharf.