• The Legend of Hampton Jitney

    Legend has it the concept of Hampton Jitney was born at a dinner party at artist Loren Dunlap's Sagaponack home, during the Arab oil embargo in 1973 which caused a horrendous gasoline shortage and long lines at the fuel pumps in the US. James Davidson a young entrepreneur living in Water Mill and founder of Hampton Jitney, originally intended to create a bike bus to ferry people and their bikes to and from Amagansett and Southampton College so that one could get around the Hamptons without a car. You’d put your bike on the rack, climb in the van and go to the next Hamlet, get off and bike to where you wanted to go. The van would appear on intervals, and you’d pay 25¢ per town. With a single van, Davidson established a convenient means for traveling in the Hamptons.

    Davidson saw a need for a new transit option for people travelling between New York City and the popular Hamptons region of Long Island. In 1975, Jim continued with the intra-town service, but then, for the first time, he also quietly began offering a minivan that would leave the Hamptons at 11 a.m. and go to New York City, arriving at the Upper East Side around 1:30 p.m. Passengers were picked up from a barn on Butter Lane and Davidson was taking reservations from his kitchen table. It carried 10 passengers, all of whom chatted away as if they were at a party on wheels as they were served beverages. This was a stunning success. There were waiting lists to ride that trip, and so he added a second, which left Southampton at 3 p.m., then stayed overnight and came back the next day. And thus Hampton Jitney, as we know it today, was born. Service to/from New York City and the Hamptons began with a handful of vans, the cost was $12 one way and $20 roundtrip. After the first year,
    the service to New York City became the staple of the Jitney's success. Some of the original passengers who rode the Jitney back and forth included Lauren Bacall and George Plimpton.

    Hampton Jitney was later purchased in the 1980s by J. Brent and Missy Lynch. Service and frequency increased, operating year-round and nearly hourly trips on the Montauk Line Route, and eventually expanding service with the Westhampton and North Fork lines. Additionally Hampton Jitney developed a Charter and Tour department that operates throughout the Northeast. Today, Brent’s son, Geoffrey Lynch is president with siblings Andrew, Stephanie, and Peter also active in the company.
    Born at a Sagaponack dinner party, from a kitchen table business to one of the most successful businesses in the Hamptons, the Jitney has evolved into the most reliable option for traveling between the East End and New York City for the last 50 years.

    Hampton Jitney Wave Logo

    The story goes that renowned artist Roy Lichtenstein originally designed the Jitney’s iconic wave logo that has become part of the East End landscape. He drew the wave design on a cocktail napkin at a party and gave it to his friend Davidson. Jitney used the logo to launch the "Ride the Wave" campaign. Neither the font nor the design of the logos have been changed since they were first created.