Why drive when you can Qwik Ride in Northport?
It’s a frigid January night on Main Street in Northport. Traffic in the village is sparse, but Gino stands outside his Qwik Ride electric vehicle ready to roll.
He’s parked on the corner of School and Main, just steps from the iconic bar Gunthers Tap Room. That’s where his next customer is most likely to emerge from. Not that it matters how or why. Gino, who declined to give his last name, only wants to know where to?
The free ride-hailing service Qwik Ride launched in Patchogue last May, and after a huge response (an estimated 9,000 rides) debuted in Huntington in late August. It added service to Northport in October and expanded to Port Jefferson in November. The company says it plans add Bay Shore to the network next.
It’s given these parking-challenged, bar-hopping communities an extra connectedness – and residents a real option to battling the interlopers for a parking spot. Qwik Ride, operated by Deer Park-based LNC Transportation, relies on sponsorships to offer free rides several nights a week.
“We transport anybody, old to young,” Gino said, relaying the tale of a recent trip to and from a nearby gas station after someone who ran out of gas asked for a lift.
Northport’s six-seat electric Polaris GEM is wrapped with a Bottle Bargains logo and travels up to three miles from the heart of the Village.
Gino will stop for anyone who hails him, but download the Qwik Ride app and he’ll come to your door upon request. Hours are Thursdays (5 p.m.-1 a.m.), Fridays and Saturdays (5 p.m.-2 a.m.) and Sundays (2-9 p.m.).