Great Neck will be trying out a rush-hour shuttle service as a way to ease parking demand at the village’s LIRR station, officials said Thursday.
The weekday service, called Buzz, begins Monday and will run through March 8, according to the Great Neck Park District, which operates the three parking lots that serve the station on Great Neck Road. The program will be extended if the three-month test proves successful, officials said.
Buzz is being billed by the park district as “the sweet spot” between riding the bus and ride sharing. The service couples ride-sharing technology such as online reservations with rides in 14-seat vehicles, which officials describe as similar to airport shuttles.
“This is a forward-thinking program that focuses on transporting commuters to and from the train station while alleviating the pressure on the commuter parking lots,” parks superintendent Jason Marra said in a statement.
For the test run, the service will be available only to commuters who live in the area bounded by Franklin/Rogers Road on the north, Grace Avenue on the south, Middle Neck Road on the west and Park, East Shore and Station roads on the east.
Hours will dovetail with 14 of the most heavily traveled morning and evening peak trains, officials said.
Rides are free for the first four weeks. In the second month, fares kick in. The round-trip cost will be $4, a dollar less than the daily parking rate.
Commuters will need to make reservations a week in advance at greatneckbuzz.com. The deadline for the first week is 9 p.m. Friday.
Shuttles will be operated by Transdev, the transportation company that operates Nassau-Inter-County Express (NICE), the county’s public bus system.
The park district’s three commuter parking lots have a total of 377 spaces, which are all taken, and the waiting list for a parking permit is growing, officials said. The North Station lot, they said, is typically full by 6:30 a.m. weekdays.
Demand is expected to increase even more when the LIRR adds service into Grand Central Terminal in the next few years, officials said. Today, about 3,000 commuters use the Great Neck Station daily. The LIRR projects another 600 riders during peak times after it finishes its East Side Access project in 2022.