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Apr 12, 2017 11:46 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Additional South Fork Train Service Plans Near Finalization

Commuters board the train in Southampton heading west. DANA SHAW
Apr 12, 2017 12:02 PM

More transportation options are being discussed for the South Fork as officials finalize details of a proposed “commuter connection” service.

The Long Island Rail Road has proposed increasing service to six local trains a day, serving the eastern segment of the Montauk branch throughout the year—although the schedule would most likely need to be modified during the summer, according to New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr.

The proposed schedule would include three one-way eastbound commuter trains in the morning from Speonk to Montauk and three westbound commuter trains from Montauk to Speonk in the afternoon, with the hope of reducing traffic congestion on Montauk Highway by providing motorists with an alternative. The railroad has also proposed adding a direct, morning Penn Station-bound train from the East End.

Additionally, East End towns would provide shuttle bus routes to transport commuters from train stations on the South Fork to employment centers—such as government buildings, downtown districts and Southampton Hospital—leaving the train stations in the morning and transporting commuters back in the afternoon.

Mr. Thiele said this week that he expects another meeting with LIRR representatives in May to further refine the planned service and finalize a deal by Memorial Day.

“This all on a positive track,” the assemblyman said, noting the pun. “I think that we will have something pretty specific after the next meeting.”

LIRR representatives met with officials from New York State, Southampton Town, East Hampton Town and the North Fork on April 7 to iron out some details of the additional service, which is now estimated to be unveiled sometime in the fall of 2018, according to Southampton Town Director of Public Transportation and Traffic Safety Thomas Neely.

“I think it was generally a good meeting,” Mr. Neely said. “We certainly have plenty of transportation issues and plenty of transportation opportunities.”

He noted that for the local bus system—which has been estimated to cost each East End town between $500,000 and $1 million annually—Southampton Town officials are currently working to determine schedules and funding sources as well as to address parking concerns, specifically relating to the popular Hampton Bays station.

In that regard, Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said at the most recent Town Board meeting that town officials are considering establishing a “tourist shuttle service” in Hampton Bays, which would hypothetically be run by a private operator. Although it is unclear whether the bus service would be contracted out by the town, Mr. Neely said funding for the shuttle would most likely be on the burden of the private operator, who would use advertising and possibly a small fare to make a profit. Mr. Schneiderman estimated the cost to take the shuttle service, which would run throughout the hamlet, at around $2.50 per ride, or $5 for the day.

North Fork travelers will also see an increase in the number of trains going in and out of Greenport, which could begin by the end of 2017.

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About time. This was a no-brainer.

Probably better if they just took train out and made tracks a new highway through Hamptons.
By Amagansett Voter (62), Amagansett on Apr 12, 17 2:16 PM
This is a nice start but hardly enough by itself. Train service should start and return to at least Shirley as that is where a significant amount of the labor force comes from. Also need parking at the West stations where people can leave cars. Parking at Speonk & West is quite limited. Thankfully the state is taking Uber over site away from the towns so at least there can be usable car service at the eastern end. Would be great if there were safe spaces at the eastern stations where commercial ...more
By bird (829), Sag Harbor on Apr 12, 17 2:26 PM
There's also ample right of way for a path for autonomous driving vehicles -- we should have a test from one of the large well funded tech companies developing this alternative, which doesn't require taxpayer subsidies or overtime pay for union employees.
By dfree (818), hampton bays on Apr 13, 17 9:57 AM
But how can I cut somebody off in my big black pickup truck just cuz I'm l a local if a computer is controlling it? This aggression will not stand............man.
By johnj (1024), Westhampton on Apr 13, 17 1:00 PM
I'm sure there will still be many opportunities for alpha male aggressive behavior -- for example, I suggest buying an SUP and then joining the summer line up at Ditch Plains. Lots of gnashing of teeth and waving of arms there.
By dfree (818), hampton bays on Apr 13, 17 1:57 PM
johnj, do you have a lot of feelings of inadequacy?
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Apr 19, 17 6:36 PM
Not at all, why? Ohhhhhh, I get it. That's racist yo.
By johnj (1024), Westhampton on Apr 21, 17 9:10 AM
I don't understand how this will relieve traffic. Most morning traffic is trsdesmen who need their trucks and vans to carry their equipment to the worksite. Or they are making deliveries. There aren't a whole lot of office workers out here.
By btdt (449), water mill on Apr 13, 17 5:36 PM
2 members liked this comment
I agree with you. It doesn't make a lot of sense....but that is our local government...solutions in search of a problem...and not really spending the time to analyze why the problems exist and come up with a meaningful solution...smoke and mirrors....photo ops...headlines....hope to be out of office before people realize it is a complete waste of money....
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Apr 14, 17 7:29 AM
1 member liked this comment
Will shuttle service alleviate some traffic? Won't know until it's tried. Think it's worth the expense for a trial. Would be a great idea to have a secure spot where tradespeople could leave their cars overnight and commute back and forth. The old Verizon on King Street would be perfect in East Hampton.
By harbor (415), East Hampton on Apr 14, 17 8:05 AM
The local government doesn't think it though. Have they surveyed the people heading east in the morning as to what, if anything, would take them out of their cars and put them on a train? I suspect not knowing how the local government works. They made it up in their heads, hope for a photo op and get the heck out of dodge (or move along to the next level of government) before anyone notices. Didn't Suffolk County cancel buses due to lack of use?
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Apr 14, 17 8:49 AM
A problem without a solution is no longer a problem. Therefore, we have no traffic problem. Do you understand now Grasshopper?
By country joe (60), sag harbor on Apr 19, 17 6:08 PM
Mo' people, mo' problems.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Apr 19, 17 7:04 PM