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Free Shuttle to Coopers Beach Debuts Saturday

Electric vehicle will loop from beach to Main Street in Southampton Village all summer long.

If you don't live in Southampton Village, parking at can run you as much as $40 per day or $350 for the season, but a new shuttle service offered by village natives will drop you off and pick you up at Coopers this summer for a price that's much easier to swallow: Free.

As lifeguards go on duty at 9 a.m. Saturday, Chris and Stacy Dimon, the husband-and-wife founders of SpotRides, will offer their first free ride to the beach. It starts on Main Street and goes on a 6-mile loop, taking approximately 20 to 30 minutes. The shuttle will operate from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week, at least until two weeks after Labor Day, Stacy Dimon said. On weekends, the shuttle will hit the streets again in the evening, to offer rides between village restaurants and hotspots.

The shuttle is a neighborhood electric vehicle, or NEV, Dimon explained. “It is a 100 percent electric vehicle, and we’re actually planning on adding solar panels that will keep it charged up a little longer, so it’s very green, very environmentally friendly.”

NEVs, which fit a driver plus five riders, can go 25 miles per hour, but are legal on streets with limits up to 35 miles per hour, she said.

As of now, SpotRides' only two drivers are Stacy and Chris, and they hope to keep two NEVs on the road most of the day.

Their slogan is, “Take a ride, on us."

The shuttle is advertiser supported; Dimon said that the exterior of the NEVs will be wrapped in ads, and a screen inside the shuttle will show static ads or video commercials from local business.

“We’re really looking forward to being out there and helping other local business get their name out in front of as many local people who come out for the summer as possible,” Dimon said.

The couple currently live in Hampton Bays, but are Southampton Village natives. In fact, they are high school sweethearts who graduated together from in 2002.

They have two existing businesses, , in Hampton Bays, and SafeHampton Childproofing and Home Safety.

Meanwhile, in the town of East Hampton, Hamptons Free Ride, a similar beach shuttle service, will , and begin in Montauk for the first time.

Dimon said that the idea to start SpotRides in Southampton actually predates Hamptons Free Ride's arrival on the South Fork — she and Chris first saw such a shuttle in Florida a couple years ago. “We thought that would be a great idea to have here,” she said.

The shuttles can be found elsewhere as well, including in college towns to discourage drinking a driving, Dimon said.

“Here especially, it's going to be great for people in the village who don’t have a beach sticker, for people that didn’t know Coopers Beach was named the number one beach in America a couple years ago," she said.

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Dimon said they are interested in seeing SpotRides expand locally to Westhampton Beach Village, and also setting up shop in Clearwater Beach, Fla., during the Hamptons off-season.

Alice P May 27, 2012 at 05:59 PM
I also took a ride in this shuttle. Just went from Jobs Lane to Main St. but was impressed with the idea. Why do people have to be so negative about anything new before they try it?
SH BUSINESS OWNER May 27, 2012 at 07:53 PM
Why are we giving away rides? The village and towns rely on Tax money and parking money for upkeep at te beaches. Taxi's do drop people off, but as taxis the drivers each pay for a hack license. The vehicles pay for vehicle license and the Business owner pays $750 fro business license all revenue that goes to the government. Not to say by giving free rides they are taking away from the Taxi drivers that live local and rely on the fares to support their families. And the drivers do live local and spend money locally. So lets get this straight Taxis pay license fees to drop off at the beach the drivers spend money locally but now only the Dimons are takiung money out of locals mouths and businesses and not paying license fee's ad giving people free rides from the village taking them away from the local businesses... Sounds like they just want the advertising money!!!!
SH BUSINESS OWNER May 27, 2012 at 08:06 PM
Taxi's Do drop people off every day at the beaches, but they pay the town for the right so the town makes revenue from drivers hack licenses, vehicle licenses and business owners licenses. The drivers rely on the fares to support their family and local businesses schools and restaurants. Why are we giving away rides for free and hurting people that live here year round!
chris May 27, 2012 at 10:17 PM
SpotRides is not intended to take money from the village at all. In fact, the idea is to bring more people throughout the village shopping district & bring more revenue to village businesses. As well as to give tourists & locals a new reason to shop in the village & to give businesses the opportunity to advertise to the riders. It is also a great way to help out environmentally by the using NEV's. The main advantage is to get more people to utilize the muni-lots and ease traffic conditions on Main St & Jobs Lane. It is not a reason for people planning to go to the beach to forgo buying a beach sticker but if your in the village & want to check out the beach it's great way to introduce Coopers to visitors who may not know about it. Coopers is one stop among 11, 6 of which are at or near muni-lots. The shuttle is free to make it more enticing for people to want to park in the municipal lots rather then drive around 3 or 4 times until a spot opens up on Main St. The drivers we hire will all be local people who spend money locally as well. It does not take the place of a taxi as it runs a specific route and doesn't pick up from homes nor does it take reservations. However, you can count on it to be at a designated "SpotStop" every 20-30 minutes. Having come from a family that has been in Southampton for over 200 years & having grown up here we thought this would be a unique way to showcase our beautiful village! Before you judge, Come Take a Ride, On Us!
Roger Blaugh May 28, 2012 at 01:46 AM
It doesn't cost anything to try it for the summer. Let's all get onboard and go for a ride before we judge the pros or cons. What a great weekend. Enjoy the fine weather!!

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