A passenger ferry between the villages of and Sag Harbor is closer to becoming a reality this summer season.
Last year Response Marine presented the idea to the Greenport Village Board but the idea hit a stumbling block because Sag Harbor prohibited passenger ferries from coming into the village. However, public sentiment toward passenger ferries in Sag Harbor has changed and Response Marine’s Jim Ryan said the group has partnered with Hampton Jitney in the venture to make the program a success.
Ryan said the Hampton Jitney will run a shuttle between Long Wharf in Sag Harbor and Bridgehampton and East Hampton throughout the day. He said right now there are no plans for such a shuttle on the North Fork so it will not compete with local cab companies. The Greenport docks are also located near both the railroad and bus transportation hubs. He also left the proposal open to “any village that may want to participate in the future.”
The proposal is currently before the Suffolk County Legislature and is scheduled to be heard at the next meeting. Ryan said the company has asked the legislature to set the fares at $11 for one-way and $20 for round-trip passage.
Greenport Trustee Christine Kempner said she likes any idea that involves alternative transportation but also questioned whether or not Greenport and Sag Harbor residents would be able to receive a discounted rate.
Ryan said he had to look at operating numbers before he could come up with an answer.
Greenport Mayor David Nyce also said he would push for a discount for village residents but he said he understood this was a pilot program that needed to get off the ground. Nyce said he would understand if the discount did not come during the trial period.
Ryan has met with Village Administrator David Abatelli and Manager Jeff Goubeaud to look available slips. Ideally, Ryan said, they would like slip 3, which is right behind the carousel and visible to pedestrians on Front Street.
The mayor said he was not sure if the village would be willing to rent out a prime slip for activity that may disrupt other boaters. Instead, he suggested looking at the courtesy dock on the west side of the marina’s property. He said the location is ideal because it drops right into the village’s transportation hub.
Currently, the plan is to start after Memorial Day and run shuttles continuously from 7 a.m. and ending at 8:45 p.m. Ryan said they are making plans for the boat to be rented out for sunset and fireworks cruises.
Since the boat will be docked at in the evenings, Ryan said this proposal will help bring money to local businesses.
“Our purpose is to add more foot traffic and alleviate parking concerns in both villages,” Ryan said.
The village will hold a public hearing on the proposal on March 16 at 5 p.m.