By Emma Boskovski
The Ride on Us deal offers customers a lateral Fire Island Water Taxi ride back to anywhere between Kismet and the Pines when they dine at any participating restaurant in Ocean Beach. To benefit from the deal, customers must purchase any full price dinner entrée and show restaurant staff a valid water taxi receipt for their return ride … free.
Participating restaurants include the Island Mermaid, The Landing, Maguire’s, The Hideaway, Matthew’s Seafood, Boccee Beach and Albatross.
“The return ride free has a few different aspects to it that have changed over time,” Scott Hirsch, owner of the Island Mermaid, said. “I originally helped create it years ago as a way to make it easier for people from other Fire Island communities to travel and dine Ocean Beach without costing an arm and a leg.”
In collaboration with the Fire Island Water Taxi, an agreement was reached between restaurants to encourage guests to dine in Ocean Beach, as well as encourage inter-community travel. Hirsch describes the agreement as a “win, win, win situation,” for the guests, water taxi and restaurants.
“It’s not cheap to come from neighboring communities, dine and then travel home,” Hirsch said. “We are trying to use the deal as a pretty straight forward promotional tool, but a very fair one all around. The Water Taxi cooperated and made it something that was feasible, and it has worked.”
To speak essentially about the deal, Hirsch describes it as a way to travel from Ocean Beach and back at half price while spending what is a “reasonable amount” on your dinner.
“We have adjusted the process for the current deal based on what used to be called Taste of Fire Island,” said Sean Carlin of the Fire Island Water Taxi. “The conversation to reintroduce the deal was started by Scott Hirsch and Jim Betz.”
According to Carlin, participating restaurants purchase tickets from the water taxi that allow the return ride free for the customer. Water Taxi customers who choose to utilize the deal will pay full price to travel anywhere between Kismet and the Pines to Ocean Beach for dinner.
“They arrive at Ocean Beach, go out to dinner, tell their server that they are doing the return ride free deal, and their server will let them know if there are any limitations on the menu,” Carlin said. “They then order their meal, are served their meal, eat their meal and after are presented with a water taxi ticket for the ride home.”
Carlin stressed that the customer needs to request a receipt from the water taxi crew then present that receipt to the server. After the meal the water taxi receipt is stapled to their return ticket home.
Carlin synthesizes the deal similarly to Hirsch. He said the participating customer receives 50 percent off their Water Taxi ride.
“If it was $13 to go from Kismet to Ocean Beach, it is now costing nothing to go home,” said Carlin.
According to the Fire Island Water Taxi Lateral Rates sheet, a water taxi fare in any community from Kismet to the Pines can cost anywhere from $9 to $19.
“We want to get people moving from community to community while also enhancing business,” Jim Betz, owner of Maguire’s, said. “We are always looking to create different business ideas as well as getting people moving all over the island … we felt this was a great way to do that.”
Betz said that the deal started in the middle of August last summer. “It took off pretty well …We figure that the promotion that we are doing along with word of mouth, people will really start to take advantage of it all the way from Kismet to the Pines,” Betz said.
Entrées at participating Ocean Beach restaurants range in price from $20 to around $50, according to participating restaurant menus.
“Last August the deal seemed to work out towards the end of the season,” Jim Mallott, owner of Albatross, said. “The offer speaks for itself … a free return ride on the water taxi.”
Ride on Us complementary lateral return trips through this program are available in June, Thursday through Monday; July and August, Sunday through Friday; and September, Thursday through Monday. Water taxis become available for this package after 4:30 p.m. Please call the participating restaurants for reservations in advance, and call Fire Island Water Taxi at 631-665-8885 to book your trip.
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