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May 10, 2016 11:13 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Hampton Hopper Hopes To Add Montauk Loop

The Hampton Hopper is aiming to have a Montauk Loop this summer. Press File
May 10, 2016 2:16 PM

The Hampton Hopper, a private summertime shuttle service that uses converted school buses, has begun a Kickstarter fundraising campaign with the goal of creating a dedicated 40-minute loop serving Montauk this summer.

Hampton Hopper founder Derek Kleinow said the Montauk Chamber of Commerce pitched the idea, as parking is expected to be limited in the hamlet this season, especially on Edgemere Road near the Surf Lodge. The company currently has three converted school buses, but the funds would cover the initial costs to purchase another vehicle for the Montauk loop.

“They asked us if we would be interested in doing a civic route in Montauk to help people get around within that hamlet exclusively,” he said, adding that there had been discussions about adding a dedicated route in Montauk since last summer. “I think if you have been in Montauk the last few years, it is just getting out of hand there.”

Mr. Kleinow founded Hampton Hopper in 2014 after realizing that the traffic was getting worse every summer. The transportation service is based on an iPhone app, through which the locations of the sea-green buses can be monitored and rides can be bought. There is currently one main loop, which makes stops in Sag Harbor, East Hampton, Amagansett and Montauk. The regional service is slated to begin on Memorial Day weekend.

To fund the Montauk project, Mr. Kleinow has created a Kickstarter and hopes to raise $35,000 by mid-June. If it succeeds, the loop will be 40 minutes and cost $7 for a single ride, or $15 for an unlimited daily pass.

The Hopper will stop at certain places around the downtown area, and business owners who want the bus to stop at their personal businesses can “buy a stop” for $3,500. That amount includes 100 season passes, which business owners can resell to their customers and “recoup their investment completely,” Mr. Kleinow said.

“This goes to specific spots that people frequent, and I think that the businesses, the hotels, the restaurants and what not are very happy about it,” said Laraine Creegan, director of the Montauk Chamber of Commerce. “I think it will work out—we think it is fantastic.”

“As we all know, those are huge problems out there, particularly the drunk driving,” Mr. Kleinow said. “I think it is something that is more out of control than people would like to admit. People are not bad. We need to have enough options to make better choices.”

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