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May 18, 2018 5:30 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Hampton Bays Will Not Get Trolley Service This Summer

Downtown Hampton Bays. FILE PHOTO
May 21, 2018 11:24 AM

A trolley service operated in Hampton Bays last summer won’t return this year, because it was not cost-efficient and did not boost tourism in the hamlet, as had been hoped.

On Friday, Southampton Town’s director of public transportation and traffic safety, Thomas Neely, said that fewer than five people rode the trolley on average per day last summer. Tickets had cost $5 each, or $10 for a “ride all day” ticket.

The town had signed a contract with Hampton Luxury Liner in May 2017 to run the 30-passenger trolley from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., from June through September. Last year, the trolleys ran in a continuous loop, hitting each stop every hour. It stopped at the Hampton Bays train station, the Ponquogue Beach pavilion, near the Shinnecock fish dock at the end of Beach Road, and at Good Ground Park, among other locations.

According to Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, the $10,000-per-season cost to run the trolley was just too steep. “You can’t really justify the cost of running it if only three people are going to get on it,” he said.

Mr. Schneiderman pointed to several factors, admitting that the trolley was unsuccessful in part because it was not advertised well and did not run late enough. He also said that he had initially wanted to offer it as a free service but was unable to do so based on limited capital funding. “I think $5 is just too much for people,” he said.

“They would’ve made it if they offered it all night until midnight,” said Kalen Raynor, a Hampton Bays resident and owner of Ponquogue Point Properties Inc. on Montauk Highway.

On Thursday, Janet Allen of Hampton Bays voiced her disappointment in the town’s decision to eliminate the trolley, noting that it had the potential to draw tourists to the area.

“It was so refreshing to see them,” she said. “I don’t feel like there’s enough being done to bring tourism back to Hampton Bays."

Ms. Allen suggested that the five-member Town Board revisit the idea next summer, offering later hours and shorter wait times. “If I could hop on that for $3 and only have to wait 20 minutes, I would definitely do that,” she said.

Mr. Schneiderman’s dilemma: “Do you wait until there is more foot traffic? Or do I provide the trolley with the hopes of creating foot traffic?” he said, adding rhetorically, “The trolley may have arrived ahead of schedule.”

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It was a great idea, but too late. All the businesses by the beach are no longer and the group rentals are gone.
By Infoseeker (271), Hampton Bays on May 20, 18 11:25 AM
1 member liked this comment
Neelys folly... What is his real job?
By capt rich (12), Southampton on May 20, 18 4:48 PM
clean the beaches like in SH, renovate the damn pavilions,parking lots & garbage containers at Ponquoque & Tiana and tourists will come. Only empty dilapidated buildings around like old CPI ,Neptune Club... and talking and talking and nothing done! They just block developers and make "plans" for years now...and nothing!
By dany (29), Water Mill on May 20, 18 5:20 PM
3 members liked this comment
Just like everything this administration does.

Half baked
poorly executed

By Draggerman (883), Southampton on May 20, 18 5:26 PM
Government is people.

People are the problem, not inanimate things. The latter is easy to blame or even demonize. Things don't fight back.
By Mr. Z (11107), North Sea on May 20, 18 5:47 PM
1 member liked this comment
Well put Infoseekee.
By jams (127), hampton bays on May 20, 18 6:09 PM
Infoseeker
By jams (127), hampton bays on May 20, 18 6:11 PM
Another poorly executed plan -another missed opportunity - approved by the Town Board. It is about time the Town Administration starts to own their own poorly executed plans. They have no problem wanting a pat on the back for the good ones. The success of this should have been easy breezy - a couple of tours - some bar crawls - beach events etc. - instead it drove around aimlessly all day and at times seemed to be int he Park for hours. "less that 5 passengers a day" - I believe it was 1 or 2 ...more
By G.A.Lombardi (372), Hampton Bays on May 21, 18 4:45 PM
1 member liked this comment
NEELY< NEELY???
By knitter (1653), Southampton on May 25, 18 9:12 AM
It wasn't Mr Neely idea. This was the brilliant idea of our supervisor Jay Schneiderman. Put the blame where it belongs.
By A Great American (78), East Quogue on May 26, 18 10:59 PM
a stop at the Boardy Barn on Sunday afternoon into the evening would make $$$ and keep the idiots out of traffic.
By bigfresh (4237), north sea on May 26, 18 2:55 PM
1 member liked this comment