Ready for a free ride to the beach and back?
will kick off its 2012 season on Saturday, for its second summer of eco-friendly service around East Hampton Village, and .
"We can't wait to launch in Montauk. It's Jimmy's hometown and he's been waiting for this for a few years now," said Alex Esposito, an owner with Jimmy Mirras, as he was counting down the days. "We're fortunate to have some great sponsors on board and are hoping this summer's even better than last. Come take a ride for some free products, frisbees, giveaways and discount cards to your favorite local spots."
The service is free and makes money from its advertisers.
The environmentally friendly shuttle service launched with just three electric Chrysler GEM cars in 2010, now has eight — four in the village and four in Montauk. They will run nine hours a day (roughly 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.), 7 days a week. Each run for more than two hours or 40 miles before they need a charge.
Also new this year, are vouchers like "Buy 1, Get 1 margarita free" at the or discounts at . Also, they are working with Vanity Fair to provide gift bags to riders on select weekends.
In Montauk, the route will be around the immediate village with stops at the to Main Street, possibly to , then back up by the , down to the beach and then back up behind the . Esposito hopes to pick up those at the parking lot by Kirk Park Beach who want to go to the beach by the Atlantic Terrace, where parking has been a problem.
Hamptons Free Ride will continue its route in the village, starting at the large parking lot south of the to the train station, to the Reutershan's lot, to the Hampton Jitney stops, and then and back.
A map of the routes are attached to this article.
Esposito said Zappos.com will sponsor two cars and Heineken will sponsor another in Montauk. In East Hampton, cars will advertise, and East End Tick Control.
Service may also be coming to Amagansett, with a loop from to , stopping at the and bus stop. Esposito said they are looking toward July and are still working out some route logistics.
The saw as many as 300 riders on a busy weekend, and Esposito estimated that between 6,000 and 10,000 used the shuttle service from Memorial Day weekend to the end of September.