Suffolk Transit heading to the East End on Sundays

Sunday bus service is officially heading to the East End.

County Executive Steve Levy on Thursday signed into law a bill to provide Sunday bus service on two East End bus lines, and to increase the fare by 50 cents on those two lines to pay for it.

The county Legislature approved the measure by a 16-1 vote on March 22. But Mr. Levy said he wanted to see proof it was needed before approving it.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO A Suffolk County bus heading to one of the community college campuses Friday afternoon in Riverhead.

“Upon adoption of this resolution, I instructed the Department of Public Works to conduct a survey of the ridership on the routes impacted by this resolution,” Mr. Levy stated in a memo adopting the resolution into law.

“The riders overwhelmingly favor paying an increased fare to support the expansion to Sunday service.”

The fare increase, from $1.50 to $2, and the service increase to Sundays, will apply only to the S92 route, which runs from Orient to East Hampton, and the 10C, which runs from East Hampton to Montauk.

The bill sets the deadline for implementing Sunday service on these two lines as July 3, 2011

South Fork Legislator Jay Schneiderman (R-Montauk) said the S92 has the highest Saturday ridership of any bus in the county system.

He and North Fork Legislator Ed Romaine (R-Center Moriches) have for years stressed that Sunday is an important business day on the East End, and many of the employees of East End businesses rely on public transportation to get to work.

“In my district, the lack of public transportation is appalling,” Mr. Romaine said at the legislative meeting when the vote was taken. In addition to there being no bus service on Sunday, there also are no trains, as the Long Island Rail Road discontinued weekend service from Ronkonkoma to Greenport, he said.

They submitted letters in support from the Riverhead Chamber of Commerce, Tanger Outlet Center and the tourist site, East End Getaway, and the towns of Riverhead, Southampton and Southold also supported the measure.

In his memo adopting the bill, Mr. Levy said he has vetoed proposals to establish Sunday bus service on the East End that would have been support by fare increases countywide, saying “I do not feel it appropriate to have some bus riders not receiving the service subsidize expanded service to others.”

He added, “I am pleased that this resolution provides that service will only continue so long as sufficient revenues are produced by the fare increase. Since the impact of the increased far is limited solely to the patrons of the routes that will experience Sunday service, and since as public officials, we should reflect the will of the people, I am returning this resolution signed.”

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