Local officials have granted the wish made by Sag Harbor teens of having a shuttle to Sagg Main Beach this month.
At the ‘Speak Out’ event, which took place on March 1 at the Bay Street Theater, 25 Pierson High School students came out to talk to a group of 12 civic leaders about the programs they’d like to see made available to them.
The teens made several requests at the event including to have a shuttle from Sag Harbor to Sagg Main Beach.
After the event, county legislator Jay Schneiderman took on the kids’ request and checked into the county bus inventory to see if any equipment was available at auction.
He worked with Debbie Skinner of The Youth Resource Center of Sag Harbor (YRC), and figured out the cost of a bus would be prohibitively expensive for the center to acquire and run.
Southampton Town Council member Bridget Fleming and Southampton Town Youth Services director Nancy Lynott then began working with Southampton Town to look into the availability of its buses in the area.
They connected Speak Out organizers to The Hampton Jitney and then to The Free Ride, the electric cart shuttle service operating in East Hampton and Southampton.
While neither of the services had the right equipment for the Sag Harbor Village-to-Sagg Main Beach run, both championed the idea and led Speak Out volunteers to explore other options.
“I get it. This is a hard place to get around, for every age group,” Alex Esposito, Free Ride co-founder said. “I grew up out here and what I saw led me to develop The Free Ride. When this shuttle idea came up, I looked into using our electric cars, but it didn’t seem feasible.”
Esposito then provided the connection to the Hampton Hopper, a local app-based bus service in the South Fork, and its founder Derek Kleinow, saying that he knew the Hopper service was a “better fit for the longer distance.”
From there, a match was made and now the Hopper-to-Sagg Main shuttle will be launching with a trial run next week.
“I also grew up out here, and that’s what led me to start The Hampton Hopper, wanting to beat the traffic and be able to travel with friends,” Kleinow said. “This shuttle run is a good one for our service; we’re not usually operating mid-week and it allows us to do more for the community and its kids.”
“It’s incredibly generous of Derek and The Hampton Hopper to step up for the students this way,“ Villa said. “It proves to them the adults in this community do listen and that their participation with community leaders does make a difference.”
The Hampton Hopper will be offering a trial Sagg Main Beach shuttle from Sag Harbor village for middle school and high school students, ages 13 and up on Tuesday, June 30.
The Hopper will run a continuous loop that day free of charge, departing initially from the Sag Harbor Cinema Jitney stop at 11:30 a.m., with the last run leaving Sagg Main Beach at 4:30 p.m.
Rain date will be Wednesday, July 1.
Reservations can be made by mobile devices, or online, via the Hampton Hopper app.
Speak Out co-organizer and PTSA volunteer Benito Vila will be serving as chaperone for the trial run.