August Ruckdeschel Helps Introduce North Fork Trolley Service

Last fall, August Ruckdeschel of Suffolk County's Department of Economic Development introduced a pilot trolley service scheme to Long Island's North Fork.

​Responding to much-demanded efforts to help alleviate traffic concerns during the North Fork’s busiest months, a coalition of partners trialed new shuttle services on the East End that would connect commuters to downtown hamlets and agritourism assets in the region.

In Phase I, the pilot program implemented trolley loops connecting the hamlets of Peconic and the incorporated village of Greenport. A second phase of the program established shuttles between the hamlets of Mattituck and Peconic.

Dependability is paramount.

August Ruckdeschel

Speaking of the project, August Ruckdeschel remarked, "I spoke with the Long Island Railroad and they were very supportive."

"I live in Ronkonkoma," he added. "The train ride from Ronkonkoma to Mattituck and Greenport is gorgeous — it's beautiful."

The pilot, consisting of 2 trolley vehicles, was successful enough that a more regular service is to be rolled out this summer as a result.

Though planning meetings have yet to take place, a summer launch will most likely see a third shuttle loop introduced to extend services into Riverhead.

Last Fall's successful pilot saw a twice hourly service operating on a loop. Rides on the service were free.

A state economic development grant is expected to help toward the cost of continuing and extending the service.

The pilot created a great buzz on social media and was featured heavily in the local press. North Fork Promotion Council heavily promoted the arrival of the trolleys on Instagram and via a number of video and email marketing activities.

In an effort to subsidize fares, local businesses will be invited to advertise on the sides of the trolleys when the wider service comes into effect.

A smartphone app is also in development, which will allow riders to plan their trip by detailing arrival times and journey lengths. Users will also be able to track the trolleys in real-time, reflected on a map of the area.

"Dependability is paramount," says August Ruckdeschel. "Riders want to know when that next trolley is arriving. That's why we're insisting on app development. Being able to look at a map and knowing when the trolley will arrive is invaluable."

The trolleys aim to be more than just public transport. The intention is that they themselves will also prove a draw for visitors.

Indeed, the North Fork is popular with tourists and is home to over 50 vineyards, many of which offer wine tasting sessions for locals and visitors alike.

The North Fork is also well-known for its October pumpkin picking season, which is a particular draw for people from neighboring areas and further afield.

It's hoped that visitors to the area will particularly enjoy and benefit from the trolley service.

Ruckdeschel explains, "We will hopefully have ambassadors on the shuttles who will function as informal tour guides. It will create value for the riders, providing something more than just a ride from place to place."

Ruckdeschel concludes by adding, "We want to create an experience."

To learn more about August Ruckdeschel, please visit his LinkedIn here.

Media Contact:
​Eric Blankenship

Source: Web Presence, LLC


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