Surprisingly, it was not until this summer that a passenger ferry was launched between the North and South Forks of Long Island. The Peconic Bay Water Jitney, run by the Hampton Jitney company, is the first of its kind to travel from Sag Harbor to Greenport. Running six 40-minute round trips Sunday through Thursday, and seven trips on Friday and Saturday, riders can now easily travel between the forks.
The Hampton Jitney created the service, operating on a trial basis beginning on June 28. Adult tickets cost just $11 one-way and $20 round trip on their 53-passenger air-conditioned vessel. To alleviate parking concerns, customers can park in the Sag Harbor Pierson High School parking lot and then take a shuttle, which also stops at the East Hampton Lumber Lane parking lot and the East Hampton Railroad Station. Daily parking for passengers starting in Greenport is provided at the Greenport School, with a shuttle running on Saturday and Sunday. In addition to its convenience, another intention is to give a boost to local businesses through higher foot traffic.
Since its inception, however, the ferry has not drawn enough riders to make it a financially worthwhile venture. According to Hampton Jitney President Geoffrey Lynch, who spoke at a recent Sag Harbor Village Board meeting, there has been an average of 175 riders per day, far from the 300 that they had hoped for. In addition, as of the meeting earlier this month, only 60 people in total have used the shuttle. Just five or six of these people took advantage of the services to East Hampton Village.
This is pretty low ridership for such a valuable endeavor. The ferry makes the commute between the two forks quicker and more pleasant. Then why the lagging numbers?
For an increase in customers, the Water Jitney should be more aggressively advertised, and there is no better way to do this than a flash mob. It seems like everybody is doing a flash mob these days, but they could do something no one has done before: a flash mob on water. Picture a fleet of motorboats—or maybe of pirate ships—suddenly commandeering an average Water Jitney journey. Mobbers could jump on board and start rapping a custom (and very much cleaned up) version of “I’m On A Boat” by T-Pain.
Or, they could hold a flash mob on Main Street in Sag Harbor or Greenport. It has to be on a Saturday to maximize its impact. To organize it, they should hire that guy who proposed to his girlfriend with a dancing flash mob in Downtown Disney World. His YouTube video currently boasts six million views, so I’m sure he would be very effective. Maybe they could feature the ferry’s captains and crew.
Of course, the Hampton Jitney company would have to film the flash mob and put it on YouTube so it can “go viral.” I’m sure they can find many interested participants, because who doesn’t want their 15 minutes of fame of the Internet variety? The staff at Dan’s Papers and I would certainly be willing to help.
The Peconic Bay Water Jitney will run at least through Labor Day weekend, when they will reassess profitability. Hopefully the flash mob can raise sales enough to keep the ferry running, providing both a convenient service for customers and a boost to the local economy.
For more information about the Peconic Bay Water Jitney, including ferry and shuttle times, visit www.peconicjitney.com or call 631-702-8300.