Visitors to the North Fork will soon have another way of traveling among their favorite shops, restaurants and wineries as a North Fork trolley service is set to begin on Sept. 2.
The fall service, which will run until November, will act as a pilot program and organizers will adjust the service based on user response. An official launch is expected for spring 2018.
Those who wish to use the service will pay $10 for a bracelet which allows them to ride for the day. One trolley can fit about 30 people.
A preview of the new service was offered on Wednesday.
The service is organized through a collaboration between Southold Town, the North Fork Promotion Council, local business owners and the Suffolk County Department of Economic Planning.
“We’re excited to build a pleasurable experience that tourists both local and further west can appreciate and enjoy,” said August Ruckdeschel, East End projects coordinator for the county’s economic development and planning department.
The pilot program will cost an estimated $20,000 and will be partially funded by the East End Tourism Alliance, although organizers hope to supplement that through advertisements, local business contributions, ticket sales and other avenues.
The goal is to have two separate trolley routes, one that will transport visitors along various stops from Mattituck to Southold and a second route that travels from Southold to Greenport. Ideally, the trolleys would run on a continuous loop so rides are available every 30 minutes. Future plans also include an app that tracks the trolleys so riders know when to expect it at each stop, as well as the ability to order tickets online in advance.
Stop locations and schedules have not yet been set, but the trolleys are expected to run on Saturdays and Sundays from noon until 8 p.m. Town officials and other collaborating groups want the trolleys to work with the Long Island Rail Road schedule to accommodate riders traveling to the North Fork from western Long Island and New York City.
Organizers hope the trolley service will raise the quality of life for those on the North Fork by alleviating car congestion and potentially reducing drunk drivers, while also attracting additional day trippers.
TOP PHOTO: Inside the North Fork Trolley, which will shuttle visitors among North Fork attractions. (Credit: Krysten Massa)