I Love the Hampton Jitney But Not Everyone Knows What it Is

What is a Jitney?
What is a Jitney? Photo: Rasmus Rasmussen/iStock/Thinkstock

All of us around these parts know the Hampton Jitney is a comfortable, affordable and reliable means of transportation emanating from various points on the East End.

I must admit that I am one of their biggest fans. In fact, if I added up the amount of work I was able to accomplish during my many rides into Manhattan, I should be cutting the owners of Hampton Jitney a bonus check. And most times, on my way back from the city, I am resting in one of the luxurious seats, which in itself is a great benefit vs. having to fight the traffic on the Expressway. This way I arrive home refreshed and amicable.

Before I moved to Southampton, I had never heard of the Jitney. That got me thinking, and so while I was on a recent layover in Atlanta, I decided to see if those living outside our area knew what a Jitney was. Once they answered incorrectly, I asked them to explain. The responses were surprising.

Bob, Retired: “An old injury to your knee that makes it pop out of place” (He was thinking “jit-knee.”)

Jan, Bartender: “A cooking spice used in upscale restaurants” (She meant chutney.)

Angela, Waitress: “That is another term for when a boyfriend dumps you. The one who does the dumping is the jitner and the one who is dumped is the jitnee.” (I can’t even begin to explain how she got jilted and Jitney confused.)

Carrie, Computer Programmer: “It’s a video conferencing and instant messaging application for windows.” (Close, but that’s actually called “Jitsi.”)

Minnie, Nurse: “A word that makes someone crazy or whacked out.” (Possibly confused with the definition for the word jibney?)

Margaret, Former Teacher: “The first name of a famous actress that did the striptease.” (Instead of Gypsy Rose Lee she thought it was Jitney Rose Lee.)

Larry, Consultant: “I know-Jitney Bowes is one of the country’s largest shipping and mailing services. I have one of their machines in my office.” (Obviously confused with Pitney Bowes.)

Of all the confused people I interviewed, Mark, a taxi driver was the closest, as he at least recognized the word jitney as a form of transportation when he said, “It’s a bicycle with three wheels” (I didn’t have the heart to tell him that would be a tricycle).

I love my Hampton Jitney, even if people outside this area don’t know what is. I have even come up with an acronym for JITNEY:

Just In Time Now Enjoy Yourself

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