East Hampton Town officials say that they hope to have town-operated buses looping through the hamlet of Montauk in the summer of 2017 to help those without their own cars get to work, to the beach or to various venues.
On Tuesday the Town Board will begin discussion of the logistics of possible routes, hours of operations and the number of buses that would be needed to provide convenient service between Montauk's bustling downtown and dock areas and the Long Island Rail Road station that delivers thousands of weekend visitors to the super-chic hamlet each weekend.
In the vision of Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell, the buses would even have a mobile phone app service by which riders could see where the bus or buses are at any given moment to plan their travel time.
The key is going to be to get a schedule where in a relatively short period of time that bus would be available at various spots around Montauk, so that people can rely on it," Mr. Cantwell said on Monday. "Montauk in particular is a hamlet where a lot of people are working and visiting who don't have their own transportation. There are lots of seasonal employees there and, as we know, lots of tourists who arrive by mass transit."
Mr. Cantwell said he would expect that the buses would charge a "modest" fare for rides but that a portion of the costs would have to be subsidized by the town and, he hoped, with some financial support from New York State.
In February, State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. said that he was pushing for the state-operated LIRR to start offering commuter trains along the length of the South Fork this summer and would like to see each hamlet have its own intra-hamlet shuttle bus system. He said the state could pay for as much as half the cost of creating those bus lines.
Several Montauk businesses had tried to muster a private effort to get a shuttle bus service running in Montauk last summer to help their summer employees, many of whom are 20-somethings from other countries, get from rental housing to their jobs and back each day.
The East Hampton Town Board will hold a discussion of the Montauk bus line idea at its regular work session on Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. at the Montauk Fire Department firehouse.
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