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Jul 11, 2018 9:31 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Suffolk County Transit Holds Hearings On Bus Route Modifications

Chris Chatterton and Bridget Fleming talk with residents Tuesday at the Montauk Library regarding proposed modifications to Suffolk County Transit routes.      BEN KAVA
Jul 11, 2018 9:59 AM

Residents gathered at the Montauk Public Library on Tuesday in what was the first of two public hearings organized by Suffolk County Transit to consider making changes to three bus lines serving the East Hampton area.

Representatives of the East Hampton Town Planning Department, Twin Forks Transportation—which operates the buses—and Suffolk County Transit were present, as was Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming.

The proposed route modifications affect three lines that currently operate in East Hampton—the 10B and 10C regular routes as well as the S94, a seasonal shuttle service to the Montauk Lighthouse. Due to a lack of ridership in several Montauk locations, the proposal includes eliminating all service to Ditch Plains—a former stop on the 10C line—and restricting service to the Montauk Lighthouse.

Should Suffolk County Transit make the proposed changes, the S94 bus will no longer operate. Instead, the 10C will make stops at the Montauk Lighthouse, though only four times per day. The S94 currently makes eight trips per day between the Lighthouse and downtown.

A third and final modification, should the changes be approved, will be the addition of service to East Hampton Town Hall and Pantigo Place Health Care Center, along the 10B route.

Ms. Fleming stressed the importance of this addition, expressing the concern that it could currently take Springs residents up to three hours to access the health-care facility.

"This is an idea whose time has come," she said.

Ms. Fleming, along with Chris Chatterton, a principal transportation planner, said that the route changes are revenue neutral. They also explained that the elimination of bus service to Ditch Plains was necessary in order to fund the addition of 10B service to Pantigo Place.

At least one Ditch Plains resident was concerned about the new routes. A suggestion was made to extend late-night service from Montauk to East Hampton on the 10C line, to accommodate employees on late work shifts.

The new routes are a "win-win situation for everybody," Ms. Fleming said at the hearing. "For the environment, there will be no wasted fuel. For the people, they will get access to Pantigo Place Health Care."

A second hearing will be held at East Hampton Town Hall on Wednesday, July 11, from 5 to 7 p.m.

After the hearing in East Hampton, there will be a five-day period for public comments. Should Suffolk County Transit go forward with the changes, there will be an additional 14-day notice before any changes are implemented. The department hopes to finalize the new routes by August 1.

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