Sag Harbor approves Greenport ferry plan; one hurdle left

06/13/2012 12:00 PM |

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON FILE PHOTO | Mattituck business owner Jim Ryan aboard the proposed water taxi earlier this month.

The first-ever Greenport-Sag Harbor passenger ferry is poised to launch later this month now that the Sag Harbor Village Board has signed off on the plan linking the North and South forks.

Sag Harbor Village, which agreed last month to amend its anti-ferry code to allow the ferry company to operate on a 100-day trial, approved the Peconic Bay Water Jitney application Tuesday night. The final hurdle is the Suffolk County Legislature’s approval of the ferry’s fares and schedule, which will be voted on June 19.

The Greenport Village Board unanimously approved the ferry plan May 10.

Mattituck business owner Jim Ryan of Response Marine, who is proposing the water taxi plan jointly with Hampton Jitney president Geoffrey Lynch, said that after the county signs off on the plan, he expects the first ferry ride from Greenport to Sag Harbor to happen sometime between June 20 and June 28.

“We’re excited about carrying out the service we proposed,” Mr. Ryan said.

This is the second time in the past two years that Mr. Ryan has proposed the alternative transportation project.

The most recent plan includes bus service to alleviate parking congestion in both villages. Hampton Jitney would shuttle passengers between Bridgehampton, East Hampton and the ferry dock at the north end of Long Wharf in Sag Harbor. On the North Fork, shuttle service would be provided between Greenport School and Mitchell Park Marina.

The 53-passenger vessel would tie up at Mitchell Park near the camera obscura.

If approved, the ferry would make seven trips from each port Sundays through Wednesdays, starting at 7 a.m. from Greenport.

There would be nine daily departures from each port Thursdays through Saturdays. The estimated 40-minute ride will cost $11 for adults one way, $20 round trip. Fares for children under 12 would be $5.50 one way, $11 round trip.

The route between the North and South forks would hug the western shoreline of Shelter Island. During bad weather, an alternative route would move along the island’s eastern side. The ferry’s captain will ultimately decide the safest course through commercial channels, Mr. Ryan said.

The vessel was built in 2003 by Derecktor Shipyards in Bridgeport, Conn., for New York Water Taxi, which has leased it to Peconic Bay Water Jitney.

Instead of painting over the yellow passenger ferry, Mr. Ryan said he plans to shrink-wrap it with Hampton Jitney’s colors — silver and green.

jennifer@timesreview.com