The North Fork Link, the recently launched free shuttle service, will not run for at least a few weeks, operators said.
Service has been temporarily suspended “while we address some issues that impact overall rider experience,” according to a message posted on the North Fork Now website. Both the shuttle service and the website are products of the North Fork Promotion Council.
“Current service levels are not where we want them to be,” said North Fork Promotion Council president Duncan Kennedy, owner of the Duncan Inn in Jamesport. “We want our riders to have the best possible experience, so we are taking a pause to make some course corrections. We expect service to resume in a few weeks, and plan to run the North Fork Link later into September to make up for the Saturdays when it wasn’t operational.”
In December, the North Fork Promotion Council was awarded a $112,500 grant from the New York State Regional Economic Development Council to operate a North Fork trolley service on weekends from May to November. The grant followed a $20,000 pilot program to operate a trolley service from September to November last year.
While the previous service was launched using trolley cars and ticket sales, this year North Fork Link was introduced as a free luxury transportation service. It began July 7 and was set to run on eight Saturdays through Aug. 25. The fleet of six vans can each seat 27 passengers and are equipped with leather seats, WiFi and power outlets.
“The Link” had been running a 23-mile loop between Riverhead and Greenport, stopping at over 30 locations including Long Island Rail Road stations, local farms, vineyards and downtown areas.
The initiative seeks to promote local tourism to visitors without a car while reducing traffic congestion during peak season, officials said.
At a press event for the service last month, transportation was provided by M&V Limousines of Southampton. Officials at the limo company declined to comment, saying they “do not operate the North Fork Link service.”