Port Jefferson village, in starting up its connection with Stony Brook University for transit into the village, has hired on another bus to man the original route in the meantime.
The village approved an agreement with Suffolk Transportation Inc. at its Sept. 3 meeting to act as village jitney for $75 an hour for the remaining months of the university’s Fall semester.
Mayor Margot Garant said this was to help hold their obligation to the University and still run its regular bus route. The new bus itself is colored white instead of red, but it’s expected to be similar in size and number of seats to the current jitney bus, according to Parking and Mobility Administrator Kevin Wood.
Wood said this is in the interim while they continue to look into an additional Jitney bus. He added he is also considering reducing the number of hours of the regular jitney route due to low ridership.
In 2018, the bus saw ridership as low as 27 in a week last September. Most jitney ridership occurs on event days, such as the Mini Makers Faire and the Dragon Boat Festival, which last year saw a ridership that week of 164. In 2018, the jitney saw an average of around 70 riders a week.
The first two-and-a-half spring pilot for the PJ/SBU transit showed 3,200 riders. Wood has said he expects more ridership in this term. The spring pilot cost the village about $14,000, Wood said.
“This is definitely bringing people into shop, that’s what it does,” he said.
Daily schedules will remain the same, though the last pickup will be at 10 p.m. from SBU. The schedule is anticipated to be Thursdays from 3 to 10 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The loop starts at Port Jefferson train station along Main Street in what’s known as Upper Port, before heading into Arden Plaza in the village, continuing up West Broadway down Route 25A, stopping at Stop & Shop in East Setauket. Once on the Stony Brook campus, it will make stops at the main circle loop, West Campus and the Chapin Apartments before coming back down Route 25A and ending at Port Jeff train station.
The PJ/SBU transit bus is open to all Stony Brook students as well as Port Jeff residents and visitors.