If you don't live in Southampton Village, parking at can run you as much as $40 per day or $350 for the season, but a new shuttle service offered by a Hampton Bays couple will drop you off and pick you up at Coopers this summer for a price that's much easier to swallow: Free.
As lifeguards go on duty at 9 a.m. Saturday, Chris and Stacy Dimon, the husband-and-wife founders of SpotRides, will offer their first free ride to the beach. It starts on Main Street and goes on a 6-mile loop, taking approximately 20 to 30 minutes. The shuttle will operate from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week, at least until two weeks after Labor Day, Stacy Dimon said. On weekends, the shuttle will hit the streets again in the evening, to offer rides between village restaurants and hotspots.
The shuttle is a neighborhood electric vehicle, or NEV, Dimon explained. “It is a 100 percent electric vehicle, and we’re actually planning on adding solar panels that will keep it charged up a little longer, so it’s very green, very environmentally friendly.”
NEVs, which fit a driver plus five riders, can go 25 miles per hour, but are legal on streets with limits up to 35 miles per hour, she said.
As of now, SpotRides' only two drivers are Stacy and Chris, and they hope to keep two NEVs on the road most of the day.
Their slogan is, “Take a ride, on us."
The shuttle is advertiser supported; Dimon said that the exterior of the NEVs will be wrapped in ads, and a screen inside the shuttle will show static ads or video commercials from local business.
“We’re really looking forward to being out there and helping other local business get their name out in front of as many local people who come out for the summer as possible,” Dimon said.
While the couple currently lives in Hampton Bays, they are Southampton Village natives. In fact, they are high school sweethearts who graduated together from in 2002.
They have two existing businesses, , in Hampton Bays, and SafeHampton Childproofing and Home Safety.
Meanwhile, in the town of East Hampton, Hamptons Free Ride, a similar beach shuttle service, will , and begin in Montauk for the first time.
Dimon said that the idea to start SpotRides in Southampton actually predates Hamptons Free Ride's arrival on the South Fork — she and Chris first saw such a shuttle in Florida a couple years ago. “We thought that would be a great idea to have here,” she said.
The shuttles can be found elsewhere as well, including in college towns to discourage drinking a driving, Dimon said.
“Here especially, it's going to be great for people in the village who don’t have a beach sticker, for people that didn’t know Coopers Beach was named the number one beach in America a couple years ago," she said.
Dimon said they are interested in seeing SpotRides expand locally to Westhampton Beach Village, and also setting up shop in Clearwater Beach, Fla., during the Hamptons off-season.