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Grant to create East End shuttle bus for tourists
The East End Tourism Alliance has secured a $335,000 grant from the state’s regional economic development council to help finance a shuttle service that would connect the area’s tourism hot spots with transportation hubs and lodging, thereby helping reduce summer traffic.
“Eventually we’d like to have some type of shuttle service that people can get to, either from train stations, mass transit or ferry terminals, and get from point A to point B,” said East End Tourism Alliance board member Bryan DeLuca, also the executive director of Atlantis Holdings and the Hyatt hotel in Riverhead.
DeLuca said the shuttle would be environmentally conscious, considering the tremendous explosion of traffic on the East End during the high tourist season. He said stops would include vineyards, wineries and other East End attractions, including the Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center and Tanger Outlets in Riverhead, and that each business that chooses to be part of the route would be charged a fee.
“You’d get some of the operational costs absorbed by the businesses, and some also by the grant,” he said, adding that a reduced impact of cars and fewer people on the roads during the summer would be beneficial for the region.
The group hopes to have a shuttle service implemented by this summer, DeLuca said, starting with a single-event trial run sometime early in the season to gauge interest.
Photo: The coral reef display at Atlantis Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center in Riverhead is a tourist attraction. (Feb. 24, 2012)