After , East End bus riders had their first taste of Sunday and holiday bus service the day before Independence Day.
County Legis. Jay Schneiderman, I-Montauk, Ed Romaine, R-Center Moriches, and public transit advocates hopped on for a ride Sunday morning after fighting for the service which they are hoping will pay for itself with a 50 cent increase on the line from $1.50 to $2.00.
The daily fare increase will hit riders on the S92, which loops through Riverhead from Orient Point to East Hampton, and the C10, a feeder line between Montauk and East Hampton. It is part of a pilot program which, if it proves sustainable paying for the Sunday and holiday service, could become permanent – and may spread to western Suffolk.
"There is literally a lot riding on the success of this program," Schneiderman said on Sunday. "It will be difficult to fight for countywide service if this failed. But it seems from today that it's off to a good start."
The legislator said about 10 riders got on at the Riverhead rail road station Sunday morning on the 9:45.
Schneiderman and Romaine pressed hard for Sunday service on the East End. Schneiderman said he has fought for Sunday service for seven years, an effort he said he will continue to fight for on a county level. Sunday service countywide , though Schneiderman and Romaine were after County Executive Steve Levy vetoed the bill.
Vince Taldone, a board member of 5 Town Rural Transit who does not drive, said ridership on the S92 has been growing roughly 6 to 7 percent every year as of late, and recalled a 25 percent jump in 2006-2007 after the county upped its service options during the week.
"I think this is going to work out," he said. "Ridership has been growing, and an extra dollar for the value that comes with it - you can't beat that."
Levy signed the bill into law after the County Public Works Department conducted a survey among riders which overwhelmingly supported a fare raise to fund Sunday service.