Some Port Washington residents are getting to their offices in the city two hours earlier than they need to be, according to Residents Forward Executive Director Mindy Germain. That’s because locals are trying to get to Port’s Long Island Railroad station before all 1,000 parking spots are taken.
“The lot is pretty much full by about 7:15 a.m.,” she said.
To give residents an alternative, one Port man has started a shuttle service that will travel from the LIRR station to several stops in the village of Port Washington North.
“Some people are paying more for private parking spaces or taking a taxi or ride sharing,” said Jamie Engel, the service’s founder.
Service is scheduled to begin on Aug. 20. The shuttle will make six stops along Soundview Drive before heading to the station. Engel said it will make six round-trips in the morning — timed to line up with the express train to Penn Station — between 6:45 a.m. and 8:35 a.m. Shuttle service in the evening will last from 5:00 p.m. until 8:45 p.m.
Engel said he was inspired to create the service when he purchased a home in Port Washington a few years ago.
“In shopping for a house, I recognized the need for proximity to train,” he said. “When you’re out doing your research, you need to learn how do get to the train station, when do you get there to get a spot… and going through that process, I thought, ‘the town could use a shuttle.'”
His dream dovetailed nicely with work that Residents Forward had been doing.
“We recommended a shuttle for residents, so we conducted a survey in October 2016 and the results were astounding,” Germain said. “Seventy-two percent of respondents said they were interested in a shuttle service, and we surveyed over 1,0000 people.”
The limited service in Port Washington North was selected because that’s where the shuttle survey had the strongest response, Germain said. But she said it should be considered more of a pilot for the program, which be known as the Jiffy Shuttle.
The service’s website jiffyshuttle.com includes a link where Port residents can suggest future routes for the shuttle.
“I think the idea is, let’s make it work on Soundview route and then we can expand it based on demand.”
The website also includes the route’s map, timetable, and the option to purchase tickets. Those who do so before the end of September will get a preregister discount — $99 for 10 weeks.
After that trial period, the cost of the shuttle will bump up to $169 a month.
That is $130 more than the monthly cost of an LIRR parking spot, but Engel noted that was half the cost of using a ride-sharing service every day or paying for a private parking spot, which can cost as much as $250 per month.
“You also don’t have to pay for the gas and maintenance of a second or in some cases third car,” Engel said. “It’s a car-free ride from your home to the city and back… that’s riding the wave of the future.”
Reach reporter Luke Torrance by email at [email protected], by phone at 516-307-1045, ext. 214, or follow him on Twitter @LukeATorrance.