A new shuttle service scheduled to launch this summer may help Port Washington commuters avoid having to line up for coveted parking spaces at the hamlet’s Long Island Rail Road station.
Port Washington-based Jiffy Shuttle aims to address issues that its founder, Jamie Engel, said affect commuters in cities and suburbs – a lack of parking spaces and congestion.
“We need less cars on the road, we need less traffic,” said Engel, 47, of Port Washington. “People are interested in owning less things.”
The idea of a shuttle service was proposed by the community in an October 2016 parking and traffic survey conducted by a North Hempstead Town committee, said Mindy Germain, the executive director of Residents Forward, a Port Washington nonprofit. The hamlet was the top area in the town voting in favor of a shuttle, Germain added.
“Parking has been a problem in our community for so long and it’s only getting worse,” said Germain, 47. “People are looking for alternatives because there are really not enough parking spots.”
The survey results were shared publicly, leading to the partnership between the nonprofit, the village of Port Washington North and Jiffy Shuttle.
Riders who sign up for a $169 monthly pass gain access to unlimited rides Monday to Friday during rush hour of the morning and evening commutes. There are six shuttle pick-up locations along Soundview Drive. Engel said residents can propose new routes, which will be considered and launched as needed.
Village Mayor Bob Weitzner said the shuttle service would be a way to “change the pattern of racing to the train two hours early to just get a spot.” The village is not charging Jiffy Shuttle to operate at the Port Washington station.
Engel said the shuttle service would have a soft opening date of Aug. 20, with a limited membership. The service will officially launch in the fall. Preregistrations are ongoing.
“It’s another option for people,” Engel added. “It’s a less expensive option for people that should hopefully be convenient for them to use every day.”
The service is designed to be cheaper than a ridesharing company, and it is priced to cost less than a spot at the train station, Engel said. Parking spots at the LIRR station require resident permits that cost $240 for an annual membership and $30 for a monthly membership. Town officials said there are about 1,000 spots available at the station, the majority of which are full by peak commuting times in the morning.
“If it’s raining or if it’s snowing or cold, how do you get the prime spot?” Weitzner said. “I think one of the beautiful things about the shuttle, aside from weather, is to be able to time your train more to when you need to be at work as compared to when you need to get a spot.”
Get a ride in a Jiffy
Riders can preregister on Jiffy Shuttle's website; from Aug. 20 to Sept. 30. The service is offering 10 weeks for $99. The shuttle locations are at:
- Soundview and Driftwood drives
- Soundview and Steamboat drives
- Soundview Drive and Schooner Lane
- Soundview Drive between Angler and Marin lanes
- Soundview Drive and Sandy Court
- Soundview Drive by Building #27 at Wildwood Garden Apartments