Long Island’s fast-growing micro-transportation company, Qwik Ride, is officially launching its services in Port Jefferson Village this weekend.
Qwik Ride, which chauffeurs people around in souped-up golf carts for free, announced Port Jefferson was the company’s latest place of expansion last month.
They will be hitting the streets starting this Saturday and Sunday. After this weekend, they will be operating on Thursdays and Fridays as well (hours of operation below.)
The company, founded by childhood friends Dan Cantelmo and John Yancigay, was founded in Patchogue in May and quickly expanded into Huntington and Northport.
According to the founders, the purpose of the cart service — in part — is to help free up parking spots in Long Island’s vibrant downtowns.
“We’re trying to ease parking,” said Cantelmo, “To encourage people to park farther away, so we can bring them into the town.”
Since its original launch in Patchogue, Qwik Ride has given over 9,000 rides, the owners told GreaterPortJeff.
Qwik Ride works similarly to ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft, where patrons can order a ride through the app. However, with Qwik Ride carts, which can also be hailed down, the rides have no fee because the rides are supported by local advertising.
A tip is encouraged for the driver.
Qwik Ride’s will start its new venture in Port Jefferson with two street-legal Polaris Gem E6s — the six-passenger model– that are equipped with heat, as well as TVs, sound systems and lighting.
The goal is to have five carts operating in Port Jeff by spring.
Attendees to last month’s Taste at Port Jefferson event were able to get a sneak peek of the carts, said Port Jefferson Village Mayor Margot Garant.
“It solves all our issues,” said Garant. “It can help employees park out of the village and open up a spot; it can bring a resident downtown. I think they are innovative and they are flexible.”
Local business leaders are also supporting the new service.
“The fact that there is no charge, I can’t see how it won’t be a huge success,” said Tom Schafer, owner of Harbor Grill and Tommy’s, and president of the Port Jefferson Business Improvement District.
“I believe parking is one of our biggest issues,” said Roger Rutherford, general manager of Roger’s Frigate. “I think the goal is to get our employees to be shuttled to and from work… so more spots are open to our customers.”
Moving forward, the Qwik Ride owners say they’re working with the village to find distant parking lots from which to shuttle employees.
where they will take you
Qwik Ride carts will be driving passengers everywhere in the Port Jefferson Village zip code: 11777. The carts will be able to pick up and drop off residents directly from their own if they live in the zone above.
To download the app, click here.
For winter months, the carts will be operating Thursday and Friday from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m., and Saturday and Sunday from noon to midnight.
Top: The two Qwik Ride carts at Harbor Grill in Port Jefferson Village. (Credit: Nicholas Esposito)