Hampton Jitney is now ‘disgusting, like taking an old Greyhound bus’

Kylie Cawley, a 26-year-old who lives in Soho and works in advertising, used to love taking the Hampton Jitney to her family’s place in Southampton nearly every weekend in the summer.

“It was such a fun experience. The crowd was great,” she told The Post. “On one trip, the girl I was sitting next to opened a bottle of wine and offered to split it.” 

But, no longer. Cawley said the coaches are now dirty and in disrepair.

“I have been on seats that are really disgusting, like taking an old Greyhound bus,” she said. “The cup holders are falling off. There are wrappers and empty bottles.” 

The Hampton Jitney was once seen as a cheap, chic way to travel east — a quintessential summer mode of travel for a certain set of New Yorkers for whom share houses and family homes are the norm. Carrie and Co. rode it on “Sex and the City,” as did Serena van der Woodsen and Dan Humphrey on the original “Gossip Girl.” But, regular riders gripe, the wheels are coming off the once iconic bus service.

Back of side of Hampton Jitney with clear letterings.
The Hampton Jitney has long been an essential part of summer to certain New Yorkers.
Taidgh Barron/NY Post

“The experience has progressively gone downhill. I dread taking it,” said Cawley, who noted other indignities, including spotty Wi-Fi that led her to lose work in a Google Doc and once being made to switch to another bus in Hampton Bays for an unspecified reason.

“I don’t know if the bus broke down or ran out of gas,” she said. “It was horrible.” 

On Yelp, the Hampton Jitney averages 2.1 out of five stars.

Kylie Cawley stands in front of the Hampton Jitney.
Kylie Cawley complains that Hampton Jitney has gone downhill.
Stefano Giovannini

“Cattle car to the Hamptons. No air conditioning. No Space. No internet. 3rd world transportation,” wrote one reviewer, David H., earlier this month, posting a photo of a Jitney with rain on the bus floor.

Sid, a 28-year-old who works in media relations and declined to share her last name as she fears Jitney retribution, said delays have become a major issue.

Once, a driver forgot to make the airport stop just outside the city, and the entire bus had to backtrack in heavy traffic, adding over an hour onto the journey. “People missed their flights because of it,” said Sid, who rented a place in Sag Harbor this summer.

One trip, in particular, was especially traumatic. 

For an unexplained reason she had to change buses in Southampton and wait 30 minutes for a new one to arrive. “The sun was beating down, and there were a lot of older people just waiting,” she said. 

Also harrowing was a journey in which another passenger got trapped in the bathroom for several minutes, and passengers were then told not to use the facilities because of the faulty door.

Annotated TikTok still of a Hampton Jitney with rain on floor and a closed hatch.
A Yelp reviewer posted a picture showing a Hampton Jitney with rain on the floor and noting that there was no air conditioning and little air circulation.
David H. / Yelp

“I really had to go,” recalled Sid, who eventually used the loo with the aid of a fellow rider who held the door closed for her.

The Hampton Jitney declined to comment for this article. Some passengers blame the Jitney decline on the fact that the company now also owns and operates two other Hamptons coaches, the Ambassador and the Luxury Liner. The Jitney costs $40 in advance or $47 onboard, while the Ambassador is $62 or $69, and the Luxury Liner starts at $34 and goes up based on timing.

Cawley says the pricier Ambassador is nicer, akin to what the Jitney used to be.

Kathryn Cowles, a retiree in her mid-60s who spends the summer in Southampton, said the Ambassador is indeed sufficient.

"Sex and the City" still with Carrie and Miranda boarding the Hampton Jitney.
The Hampton Jitney was once glamorous enough to be on “Sex and the City.”

"Sex and the City" still with the Hampton Jitney.
Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte went to the Hamptons on the Jitney.

“It’s dependable, I think the drivers are very professional, and I think the onboard staff, despite the fact that they are sometimes English-language challenged, are good,” she said.

Still, she has some complaints, namely unreliable internet and the lack of an app for booking, leading her to have to log on to a website to buy tickets.

“It’s Neanderthal, like spend a little money and create an app,” she said. “It’s outrageous.” 

Meanwhile, Sid continues to ride the Jitney, but she can’t help but be nostalgic for its glory days.

“When I first moved to the city in 2017 or 2018 I loved the Jitney. I felt that it was glamorous to go to the Hamptons, and you wanted to meet the other people doing that also,” she said.

“Now I don’t even do my makeup for it.”  

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