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Jul 17, 2018 5:52 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

New Train-Bus Commuter Connection Coming In February For $8.50 Round-Trip

Commuters who rode the LIRR commuter trains and buses organized in 2007 when roadwork on Southampton caused long delays on roadways. The LIRR and New York State are now funding a new pilot program to offer additional commuter trains and buses in 2019. Dana Shaw
Jul 19, 2018 4:46 PM

Commuters will be able to ride new weekday commuter trains and shuttle buses to most villages and hamlets between Speonk and Montauk starting this winter for $8.50 per day, round trip.

The Long Island Rail Road will add four new commuter trains, two eastbound in the mornings and two westbound in the afternoons, between Speonk and Montauk on weekdays starting in February. The trains will connect with shuttle buses run by Southampton and East Hampton towns from between each hamlet’s train station and nearby into downtowns and to major centers of employment.

Fares for the trains will be $3.25 each way and $1 for the connecting bus, paid as a single fare, or $8.50 round trip per day, and $42.50 per week, the system’s planners told East Hampton Town officials this week. Schedules and stops have not yet been established, but the two morning trains are expected to arrive in East Hampton Village at 7 and 9 a.m.

For comparison’s sake, East Hampton Town Assistant Planning Director Joanna Pahwul told members of the East Hampton Town Board on Tuesday, driving the 22 miles from Hampton Bays to East Hampton in an average car would cost about $30 a week in gas at current prices, without calculating for wear-and-tear on a car, or time spent sitting behind the wheel in stalled traffic.

The experimental commuter system was spearheaded by State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. and State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle, who also secured $500,000 in state funding for the two towns to split and put toward the “last mile” bus services, designed to deliver commuters from train stations to final destinations. Each town will be expected to match the state’s contribution with $250,000 of its own to meet the anticipated costs of the bus contracts for one year.

“The idea here is to increase use of public transportation during the rush hour periods,” Mr. Thiele said in East Hampton on Tuesday. “It’s not going to replace automobiles as a means to get to the East End, but we’re trying to mitigate some of the issues.”

The system is modeled on a 2007 program set up when County Road 39 in Southampton was being widened. The trains that year carried an average of about 400 riders per day, even though the limited schedule meant that the trains often left the eastern hamlets too early in the afternoon to be of much use to 9-to-5 workers.

Ms. Pahwul noted that some employers may need to be a little flexible with workers hours depending on when train schedules for arriving and departing in the easternmost hamlets.

The towns will be in charge of work with bus contractors to lay out specific routes and stops for shuttles to follow through the hamlets. Planners said they expect routes and the sizes of buses used to have to be adjusted as the system is implemented to meet the demands of riders.

Requests for proposals from bus companies will be sent out by the towns in mid-August and agreements would need to be inked by December to get the system in place by February.

Mr. Thiele said that if the program is seen as a success, he has already discussed with the LIRR the addition of new double-tracks in some spots to allow trains to pass each other.

Tom Neely, Southampton Town’s director of transportation, said the committee that has overseen the organizing of the pilot program also may ask that the LIRR re-open long shuttered stations at the Stony Brook University Southampton campus and in Water Mill and create a new station in Wainscott.

Mr. Neely also said that in conjunction with the commuter program, the state has dedicated funding to pay for the expansion of the parking areas at the Hampton Bays train station. As many as 30 new spaces will be created, depending on the final design, he said. The state contributed $125,000 toward the project.

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$8.50 all day, not bad... But what does it cost us taxpayers ???
By knitter (1892), Southampton on Jul 18, 18 11:24 AM
1 member liked this comment
Where are the reverse commuters going to park their cars? The stations seem to be pretty full with the city commuters and people who leave their cars at the station when they return to NYC after parting hard all weekend.
By Gene10x (27), Southampton on Jul 19, 18 1:29 AM
This could be an epic fail as the mind set is one directional. The dumping on hamlets continue by leaders east of the canal on those west of it. Why is the problem east of canal the problem now of those living west of it?

The cost and govt share is and will always be unknown. LIRR knows this. There will be additional issues if it happens. People who purchased east of the canal knew the challenge and issues, good and bad that goes along with living east of canal.
By ZGerry (42), Hamptons on Jul 19, 18 10:24 AM
It would be nice to have a schedule that works for our dedicated East End school teachers.
By dunes (11), East Hampton on Jul 19, 18 10:35 AM
And everyone else for that matter, what good is a ride east if you can't get one coming back west. The US Open was a disaster for the LIRR - unfortunately they are limited with the little amount of track they have and need to do something about that before they could truly provide additional worthwhile service.
By HamptonDad (236), Hampton Bays on Jul 19, 18 12:10 PM
And what about the folks who work in the hospital? The lab has a hard time keeping workers there in Southampton. A member of the hospital told me recently "--we have a hard time keeping them here. We train them in the lab and then they leave for a better job up west."
By summertimegal (93), southampton on Jul 28, 18 11:25 AM
So let me guess: they'll run it in February then claim there's no ridership and then cancel the program by Memorial Day. Have I got this right?
By johnj (1019), Westhampton on Jul 19, 18 12:13 PM
2 members liked this comment
There is no need to spend money on parking in Hampton Bays. None. There is so much additional parking at that new pocket park that can be used and It’s a short walk to station. This way the park can then be used for something other than a few events a year: Mr. Neely is this correct? Go look for yourself.
By ZGerry (42), Hamptons on Jul 19, 18 1:15 PM
1 member liked this comment
The train is not going to ease traffic the trade parade can't use it. It will most likely make traffic worse because of the grade crossings.
By DP (6), southampton on Jul 22, 18 11:37 AM
Jay and neely ride yet? Give up your cars and ride the train. How about all town hall employees ride the train and relieve the parking problem at town hall???
By knitter (1892), Southampton on Jul 25, 18 9:46 AM
2 members liked this comment
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