Duncan Kennedy is the president of the North Fork Promotion Council. He assumed the role one year ago and has since assisted the organization in undergoing a transformation for a transportation solution.
“With my background in hospitality, I took over and the first project we worked on was a pilot project for transportation,” he said “The next step was a larger project where we received funding from The Empire State Economic Development Fund (EDF) to do a bigger project for this summer.”
That project came in the form of the North Fork Link, a luxurious free shuttle service that allows guests to the East End to hop on and off at various locations between Riverhead and Greenport. The shuttles run in loops, going clockwise and counter clockwise around the area from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays. Kennedy said the goal was to alleviate traffic issues that the North Fork of Long Island sees in the summer.
“We want to encourage folks to arrive by public transportation, then we can take them around the Fork so they don’t rely on their own cars,” said Kennedy, adding that those who wish to come by car can still use the service to traverse the area.
The service, which is free of charge, was designed for peak times in the summer, totaling eight weekends of availability with the last date as Aug. 25. The entire length of the shuttle circuit is about two hours and with five to six shuttles in operation equipped with USB ports, Wi-Fi and air conditioning, wait time is minimized.
“There has been a need identified for many years to solve traffic during peak periods. It is by no means a final solution it’s a start,” said Kennedy. “We have implemented a transportation solution for residents and visitors alike that helps alleviate the notion that party buses just drive around the North Fork. We take responsible people out for the day to enjoy what wine country has to offer.”
North Fork Link stops at various art galleries, museums and retail stores in the area, including Downtown Greenport, North Fork Chocolate Company, Hallock State Park Preserve, Town Beach, The Duncan Inn and Harbes Family Farm as well as vineyards such as Bedell Cellars, Jamesport Vineyard, Castello di Borghese and Palmer Vineyards. It’s an all-around experience of the North Fork, which Kennedy hopes will broaden visitors’ itinerary when they venture out to the island.
“We did a partnership with MTA/LIRR and they have a promotion where if you buy a ticket, you get a discount to two vineyards and North Fork Chocolate Company,” said Kennedy of the travel packages. “Our goal is to promote public transportation to get here and use it while you’re here.”
For more information on North Fork Link, visit NorthForkNow.org/nofolink.