Connect with us


Hampton Jitney Adds Hudson Yards Pickup for East End Travel



Hampton Jitney Adds Hudson Yards Pickup for East End Travel

The phrase “Taking the Jitney” has become as quintessentially New York as “down the shore” is to New Jersey. And for good reason: more than a few hundred thousand New Yorkers rely on Hampton Jitney to get to and from the East End of Long Island every summer. They have been for 50 years.

There are other ways to get there, of course: helicopter, car, or the Long Island Rail Road — the Jitney’s main competitor, which even sued to prevent the Jitney from hitting the road back in the 1970s. And then there’s Uber. But Hampton Jitney has something special going for it, according to its president, Geoff Lynch.

“I think people gravitate more to our service because of the reliability, because of the frequency, and because this is our forte, this is our bread and butter, this is what we do,” said Lynch, who runs the business with his brothers, vice-president Andrew and youngest brother Peter. “Our passengers know that we can get around traffic accidents or construction that might hold up an Uber driver or somebody who’s not familiar with the route.”

Twenty hours a day, seven days a week, there are enough Jitneys on the road — 50 plus coaches in total — to constantly feed information to their drivers. The main dispatch offices in Southampton and Calverton buzz like air traffic control rooms, monitoring the fleet minute by minute. Any issue with a particular route, they’re making adjustments on the fly, quicker and more reliably than Waze.

For the Lynches, such fluency in the ways of transport is a birthright. They’re part of the McAllister family, the tugboat operators who’ve been active in New York City waterways since the 1860s. The current McAllisters and Lynches are first cousins, and the family get-togethers are a must-listen for anybody who has any curiosity about how to navigate the sea or land.

Sometimes, the Lynches collaborate with the McAllisters. The Jitney runs day tours, including some to New England, coordinating with their cousins who operate the Port Jefferson-Bridgeport ferry. This season, multi-day trips extend as far west as Michigan, south to Georgia, and north to Nova Scotia.

Currently there are three different Jitney brands: the traditional Hampton Jitney; Hampton Ambassador, which started in 2000, and most recently, Hampton Luxury Liner, which they acquired in 2020 and is starting service this year picking up and dropping off on the west side and Hudson Yards.

There’s an existing Brooklyn service, and Lynch said he’d like to add more trips in and out of Brooklyn as well and other parts of the city.

When asked about the future, Lynch admitted it’s been tough finding drivers with commercial driver’s licenses (CDL). It’s a well-paying job at $140K if you love to drive, but they often have to recruit professionals from Florida, Oklahoma, and other states during the busy season.

“CDL drivers are tough to come by these days,” said Lynch. “We’ve always been hindered by a tight labor supply, and it’s just gotten worse. COVID exacerbated the issue, and it hasn’t rectified itself. Also, like other parts of New York, it’s an expensive place to live. The middle class and a lot of the labor supply we rely on are leaving Long Island, leaving New York, and that certainly impacts us.”

Despite the challenges, the Lynches have their eye on expansion. “We’d like to see other points west of the Hamptons or west of the North Fork within Suffolk County where we can add stops or add even a separate line to bring regular commuters, not just weekenders or summer residents, out to the east end.”

Bottom line: Nobody knows better than a Jitney where the bottlenecks are and how to navigate them. As Lynch put it: “It’s a lot easier than driving yourself!”

For more information go the Hampton Jitney website

Continue Reading