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Jan 17, 2019 10:07 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Commuter Connection Services Start In March

The Hampton Hopper may be enlisted to shuttle commuters in East Hampton Town.   PRESS FILE
Jan 22, 2019 5:48 PM

With less than two months to go before the start of the South Fork Commuter Connection shuttle trains and buses, officials in East Hampton and Southampton Towns are weighing proposals for providers of the shuttle bus services and working on designing the shuttle routes through hamlets that will complement additional rush hour trains being added by the Long Island Rail Road.

The pilot commuter program will add two eastbound trains to the LIRR’s usual schedule each weekday morning, and two westbound trains each weekday afternoon.

The state has dedicated $500,000 in funding to East Hampton and Southampton towns in each of the next two years with which to contract for shuttle buses that will connect hamlet train stations in Southampton Village, Bridgehampton, East Hampton Village, Amagansett and Montauk to places of employment in the surrounding community.

The additional trains will run different routes. The first commuter train will depart Speonk at 5:16 a.m. and stop in Westhampton at 6:22, Hampton Bays at 6:35, Southampton at 6:45, Bridgehampton at 6:53, East Hampton Village at 7:03 and Amagansett at 7:08 a.m.

The early train will end in Amagansett at 7:08, but East Hampton Town’s shuttle bus proposal calls for a route that would take riders of that early train to points east if needed.

The later eastbound train will begin in Hampton Bays, departing the station there at 8:26 a.m., and stopping in Southampton at 8:36, Bridgehampton at 8:44, East Hampton Village at 9 a.m, Amagansett at 9:05 and Montauk at 9:25 a.m.

In the afternoon, trains would head west from Montauk, at 2:48 p.m. and 4:50 p.m., stopping in Amagansett at 3:07 p.m. and 5:09 p.m., and in East Hampton Village at 3:12 p.m. and 5:14 p.m., in Bridgehampton at 3:21 and 5:33 p.m., in Southampton at 3:31 and 5:33 p.m. and in Hampton Bays at 3:41 and 5:43 p.m. Only the earlier of the trains will go all the way to Speonk, arriving there at 4:14 p.m.

The round-trip daily fare will be $8.60, including the shuttle bus connections to whatever destination.

Neither town has yet released the routes the shuttle buses will follow.

Southampton will contract with the Hampton Hopper to conduct its shuttle in Southampton Village and the Hampton Jitney to handle the shuttles in Bridgehampton, which will also connect to Sag Harbor.

East Hampton Town last week approved a contract with Hampton Hopper to handle the shuttle services in all three of its hamlets

The program is a test run of what some have hoped could become a permanent, and possibly expanded, mass transit commuter shuttle program if it proves popular.

State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. and Senator Kenneth P. LaValle announced this week that the state has allocated another $500,000 for the program’s funding in 2020, bringing the total committed to the program by the state to $1 million.

Mr. Thiele said that the money will be in place if the need for more shuttles during the first year arises, and to ensure that the program will continue into 2020.

“The major task ahead is getting the word out to the public,” he said. Among the strategies that will be employed: roadside signs along the chronically congested Sunrise Highway and County Road 39.

The program and train schedule was modeled on a schedule used in 2008 to help commuters negotiate traffic when roadwork on County Road 39 in Southampton was snarling traffic.

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Buses for the proletariat so that the roads are less congested for party members. Way to go comrades.
By Babyboo (293), Hampton Bays on Jan 17, 19 4:29 PM
1 member liked this comment
Best idea for commuters and way overdue. It will be a great way to avoid sitting in traffic iwasting time and money and polluting the air needlessly. Electric buses should be a priority, they can also be profitable by feeding the power grid while plugged in at night.
By Non-Political (125), Hampton Bays on Jan 17, 19 5:23 PM
Could you please add links for the earlier articles, and more detail, such as the fact that this starts in Speonk at 6:16 AM?

Thanks for tracking this important commuter service.

"If you build it, they will come!"

By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jan 17, 19 6:09 PM
Better idea would have been to equip standard bus coaches with retractable wheels that can ride on rail tracks. The MTA uses such a wheel system for repair vehicles.
By harbor (415), East Hampton on Jan 17, 19 9:25 PM
There is a lot more than just putting a 25,000lb school bus on a track with a 250,000lb (just the engine weight not including the cars) train. 1-Repair vehicles and trains are not on the track at the same time. 2- why replace a train that can hold many hundreds of people with a bus that can hold 45? The busses in the program are to get the people from the train station to their jobs.
By deelove (152), Bridgehampton on Jan 19, 19 8:56 AM
Short buses? How appropriate! Total waste of 500,000 dollars! I'm sure it will be just as successful as the Southampton shuttle was...
By DisgustedHamptons (58), Hampton Bays on Jan 18, 19 3:05 AM
1 member liked this comment
Automobile exhaust smells bad and causes athsma : (

Cars stink, ride a bike : )
By Aeshtron (431), Southampton on Jan 18, 19 6:36 PM
There is nothing wrong with train commuting if it is convenient. The problem on the east end is that the trains don't run frequently and there is no support transportation to get to your final destination. The Suffolk bus doesn't even go to the Bridgehampton train station. This plan only give people a very limited number of options. If you miss a bus or train in this plan you are screwed. No such thing as waking up late or working late. No one wants the stress of missing the only bus or train that ...more
By deelove (152), Bridgehampton on Jan 19, 19 9:09 AM
500k down the crapper no one is using it. Workman need their tools, and there is no study to show how it will even be effective
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jan 19, 19 12:34 PM
1 member liked this comment
Thank you for the updated article with many new additional details.

This train and bus combination is but one of many tools we will need to solve traffic congestion on The East End. Folks who need work trucks and equipment out here will find other solutions, No one tool can do all the work.

Earlier versions of this commuter connection worked well for certain segments of the workforce. If this could be made permanent, not just experimental, it could gather a head of steam and be ...more
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jan 23, 19 9:38 AM