Shuttle Expands Service

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Residents Forward Executive Director Mindy Germain, Mayor of Port Washington North Robert Weitzner, Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth, CEO of NICE Bus Jack Khzouz, Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton, Councilwoman Dina De Giorgio and Residents Forward Executive Vice President Betsy Liegey. (Photo by Christina Claus)

On May 28, the Shore Road Shuttle, which has been renamed the Port Washington Shuttle, expanded to serve more Port Washington commuters with a new route.

“I’m very proud to have this project come to fruition that we’ve been talking about for years,” said Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton. “We were able to improve our route by combining it with an idea Residents Forward had, and it’s really worked out. We think the new ridership will secure our route and we’re hoping it’s going to save a few parking spots in our incredibly full Port Washington train station. We have 1,100 parking spots and almost 1,000 a day are used. Even if we can free up 20 to 30 parking spots a day, we consider that a big plus. Plus, it’s also green.”

The shuttle service was truly a community effort.

The service began along West Shore Road due to a need for a bus to connect West Shore Road with the Port Washington and Roslyn Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) stations.

Both representatives of The Amsterdam and nearby industrial park business owners advocated for the service to serve current and potential employees who use public transportation to commute to and from work. Current employees would walk three miles from the Roslyn LIRR station in the morning and back at night regardless of the weather. Also, residents of The Amsterdam were forced to use taxis to leave the facility because they no longer drive. The West Shore Road pilot shuttle service began on Jan. 21.

Residents Forward Executive Director Mindy Germain explained the organization had also been looking to have bus service in the Soundview area. Before Residents Forward went to the elected officials, Germain explained, the organization wanted to have its research in place.

“We put a survey out there and in a short period of time, 1,000 people responded and 70.5 percent said they would take the shuttle,” said Germain.

“Last year, [we thought] we could do a pilot program through a private company that unfortunately didn’t work out,” said Village of Port Washington North Mayor Robert Weitzner, who worked with Residents Forward for the route. “It’s not often municipalities get a second chance to achieve something great. This isn’t just about people being able to leave their homes later and not have to fight for spots, but this also relieves stress in our village. Less cars on the road means roadwork can be done more successfully.”

NICE Bus CEO Jack Khzouz explained that each bus has room for about 14 seated and six standing passengers, and will make three stops in the morning and three in the afternoon, potentially allowing for 60 passengers in the morning and afternoon at maximum capacity.

“As a pilot, the idea is to keep service tight, see how it does, what the acceptance is and, if it’s accepted, certainly we can talk about expanding service later,” said Khzouz.

Port Washington Shuttle operates weekdays from 6:50 to 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. Drop-offs and pick-ups are scattered along Soundview Drive and West Shore Road, as well as adjacent roads, stopping at the Port Washington LIRR and popular storefronts and businesses. The route also includes hail-only stops to provide added convenience.

Shuttle fares remain the same as fixed-route buses at $2.75 one-way, with NICE GoMobile, MetroCard and cash (in exact change) payment methods available. Fareboxes do not accept dollar bills. The service is free through June 10.

For a full schedule and additional information, visit ww.nicebus.com/PortWashingtonShuttle or call the Transit Information Center at 516-336-6600.

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