It’s no secret that a drive out to the Hamptons can be a stressful experience. Fighting traffic on the Long Island Expressway is not the most relaxing way to begin what should be a relaxing weekend on the East End. Weary weekend travelers will be relieved to know that just this past Memorial Day weekend, another travel option became available. The first Sea Jitney ferried passengers from locations in Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York City out to the Hamptons, combining ferry and bus service in a seamless, stress-free trip.
“Everything worked perfectly.” Hampton Jitney Vice-President Andrew Lynch is pleased with the smoothness of operations on the Sea Jitney’s first day of service this past Friday, May 22. “We had people coming out from NYC, from Connecticut, and from New Jersey.” Passengers from all three locations (Highlands, NJ; East 35th Street, New York; and Bridgeport, CT) begin their trip with a high-speed ferry ride to Port Jefferson. From there, Hampton Jitney takes them further east in buses to Southampton, Sag Harbor and East Hampton. On the very first day of operation, there were over 50 reservations for Hamptons-bound travelers.
The commitment to providing hands-on quality control goes all the way to the top, Lynch explains.
“My brother, Geoff, the President of Hampton Jitney, drove one of the buses today out to East Hampton. I saw Jeff as he came through Southampton.”
It took no less than three different entities to make the Sea Jitney a reality—the Hampton Jitney, Seastreak, and the Bridgeport/Port Jefferson Steamboat Company. “The original idea came from Seastreak Ferry. They reached out to us. The Village of Port Jefferson was involved from the start and they were incredibly helpful.” Lynch took the idea into a management meeting at Hampton Jitney, where it was met with enthusiasm. “It just made sense to look at the possibilities.” The Lynchs worked with Bridgeport-Port Jefferson Ferry General Manager Fred Hall, and Seastreak President Jim Barker, to combine Seastreak’s ferry service from New Jersey to New York, the Bridgeport-Port Jefferson connection and the Hampton Jitney to create the Sea Jitney, which will run on weekends throughout the season.
A trip on the Sea Jitney will run from $30 to $50, including free passage for any little ones under the age of 2. Bring your bike along for an additional $10.
It takes about 2 hours to sail from the New York to Port Jefferson, and a little more than an hour more to get out to the Hamptons, so plan on your entire trip taking about 3 and a half hours.
If you’re starting your trip from New Jersey, plan on a little extra time on the ferry, about 3 hours from Highland, NJ to Port Jefferson, but you can move freely around the boat and watch the waves, which is definitely a nicer view than you’d have on the LIE, staring at the rear bumper of the car in front of you. If you’re Hamptons-bound from Connecticut, the Sea Jitney will save you the inconvenience of driving to New York City before you can start the considerable jaunt out East. Figure on about two hours and 45 minutes from Bridgeport to Hamptons beaches.
No matter where you’re starting out from, the aim of the Sea Jitney is just to make the trip a lot more pleasant. “The ability to be outside in the open air after a stressful day is a plus,” Lynch observes. “And there is bar service and Wi-fi.” There is also the pleasure of arriving for your Hamptons weekend relaxed and calm instead of frazzled and crazed. As Lynch points out, “You know, there’s just no traffic on the water.”