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Few commuters using North Hills shuttle

A free shuttle service the Village of North Hills began last month to ferry its commuting residents between the village and the Manhasset Long Island Rail Road station has attracted fewer riders than the village had expected, the mayor said at a board meeting Wednesday.

The village voted in June to create the weekday shuttle service to take village residents to and from the station from two pickup points: Village Hall and the parking lot of Christopher Morley Park.

The village budgeted $250,000 for the six-month pilot project; so far, it has spent about $31,100. The money is coming from the village's roughly $37 million incentive-zoning fund, which is earmarked for community amenities.

Mayor Marvin Natiss said ridership from Village Hall was between seven and 11 people per day for the last 12 days of July, with even fewer riders using the shuttle from the county park during that time.

"It's just not getting the use I hoped it would get to support the kind of expense that we are going to be incurring," Natiss said.

The village created the service in response to concerns about a shortage of parking around the station for its residents.

Deputy Mayor Dennis Sgambati urged the village to end the service from Christopher Morley at the end of the third month, making Village Hall the sole pickup point.

"There's no more than an average of six people every single day" from the park, Sgambati said. Natiss said the board would consider that idea next month.

Meanwhile, the board agreed to create fliers advertising the service to hand out at the LIRR station in hopes of increasing ridership.

"We'll try to keep selling it," Natiss said. "Don't worry -- it's going to keep going until it starts to make no sense."

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