The Hampton Jitney’s foray into Brooklyn — a trial run for the Manhattan-centric luxury bus-line — has been declared a success and will be continued at least through January.
“It’s not experimental [any more],” said Jennifer Friebely, a Jitney spokeswoman. “We’re looking to expand it — it’s been a hit.”
When the Brooklyn-to-Hamptons service was announced in May, the Jitney would only promise service through Labor Day — unlike its Upper East Side-to-Hamptons buses, which run year-round.
Friebely wouldn’t give ridership numbers, citing company policy, but did say that on a few summer Fridays, beach-bound Brooklynites filled as many as two buses. On the Upper East Side during peak weekends, the Jitney can fill up to four buses per scheduled trip.
Friebely’s enthusiasm is clearly a sharp turnaround from reports of low turnout on the Hamptons- and North-Fork-bound buses, which pick up passengers at two stops in Park Slope (at Fourth Avenue and Ninth Street, and at Fourth Avenue and Union Street), and one in Brooklyn Heights (on Tillary Street, between Cadman Plazas East and West).
Its success also adds credence to the deep-seated fears of many locals, who decried the Jitney’s arrival as further proof that the once-gritty borough had sold out to folks who’d be just as comfortable on the Upper East Side (the only other neighborhood in New York City where the Jitney does pick-ups).
Still, the Jitney’s high cost — $51 compared to $19 round-trip on the Long Island Rail Road —means it’s unlikely to replace more pedestrian forms of transportation. On the plus side, the pricey ticket comes with a light snack, newspapers, and a three-minute limit on cellphone calls.
That was apparently enough to attract 15 or so Labor Day weekend passengers who filed onto the 6 pm Jitney in Brooklyn Heights last Friday.
“It’s too much of a hassle to go to Penn Station,” said David McMaster, a Clark Street resident and a native of East Hampton. “This is pretty much door-to-door service for me.”
Comfort was also a deciding factor for Manhattanite Laura Kaufman, who works in the Financial District — just two subway stops from the pick-up.
“The LIRR is uncomfortable,” she said.