Suffolk County Transit is considering major changes to the 10C and 10B buses, East Hampton Town’s only daily form of mass transit other than the Long Island Rail Road, along with the S94 line, which would be eliminated. The 10C connects Montauk to East Hampton while the 10B links Springs to East Hampton, as well as to Bridgehampton.
The two lines are essential to workers who don’t have cars to get from where they live to where they work. One rider of the 10C who works at Stop and Shop in East Hampton, lives in Montauk and identified herself as Andrea. She spoke last week.
During the summer season, there is an explosion of workers in East Hampton Town and riders on the bus. Andrea leaves Montauk six days a week, headed to East Hampton and her job every morning at 7:05, year-round. “It is bad, now,” Andrea said. “The 4:30 (the bus she takes back to Montauk every day) is always late.”
The two buses essentially make a loop. The 10C starts at the Jitney stop in Montauk on South Euclid, then goes west on Main Street, before turning onto Second House Road to Industrial Road, followed by a turn onto Flamingo Avenue, and continues to the Montauk dock area. From there it goes south on West Lake Drive, does a loop through Ditch Plains, before turning west on Montauk Highway, ending up back at the Jitney stop.
The 10B’s loop starts at the train station in East Hampton Village, then heads north on Three Mile Harbor Road, eventually circling around and heading south on Springs Fireplace Road. It takes a detour onto Abrahams Path, then down Accabonac Road, stopping by Windmill Village, and eventually ending up at the train station. Only one bus is utilized on each route daily.
The 10C makes a run to East Hampton every three hours, the 10B to Bridgehampton Commons every two. The S94 runs exclusively in Montauk from the Jitney Stop to Montauk Point, and back.
While the buses are owned by Suffolk Transit, which designs and regulates the routes, the Hampton Jitney operates them. If a bus breaks down, it can mean long delays until a replacement bus can make the trip through summer traffic from the Hampton Jitney base in Southampton.
Until just a few days ago, the vehicle used for the 10C line was a 2017 Arboc 20-seat bus. In recent days, overcrowding became a major issue on the 10C, particularly during rush-hour rides. On one East Hampton to Montauk run, scheduled to leave at 4:35, the bus didn’t show up until almost 5:00. There were more people standing than seated on that run back to Montauk.
The Hampton Jitney then swapped the Arboc for the older, larger bus being used on the 10B line, a 2010 Orion. While the moves helped alleviate overcrowding on the 10C, it is not clear how that will affect crowding on the 10B.
The Hampton Jitney would not respond to requests for comment, other than to say in an email that “Hampton Jitney is merely an operator of the 10C, we are supplied the vehicles by the county. Please contact the Suffolk County Department of Public Works.” However, according to a source who works for the company, the decision to swap buses between the two lines was made inhouse at Hampton Jitney. Suffolk Transit also did not respond to calls asking for information.
According to a notice issued by Suffolk Transit, there will be two public hearings on planned changes to the two lines, one in Montauk at the Montauk Library at 871 Montauk Highway at 4 PM on Tuesday, July 10, followed by a public hearing at East Hampton Town Hall on 159 Pantigo Road, July 11 at 5 PM.
The public notice states that “the following changes will be considered: the elimination of the S94,” along with major changes to the 10C and 10B routes. The 10C will stop looping through Ditch Plains, and, instead, will “serve Montauk Lighthouse on select trips.” The 10B’s route will be expanded to continue east from the East Hampton train station to East Hampton Town Hall.
How all this impacts Andrea’s six-day-a-week ride remains to be seen.