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New Rockaway Beach Shuttle Offers Sunscreen, Beach Toys and Yoga

By Katie Honan | July 12, 2013 9:32am
 The New York City Beach Bus takes Brooklynites to Rockaway Beach.
The New York City Beach Bus takes Brooklynites to Rockaway Beach.
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ROCKAWAY BEACH — The Rockaway bus service battle is heating up.

Another bus company has rolled into the game of shuttling public urbanites to popular Queens beaches, offering sunscreen, beach toys and even yoga to customers.

The New York City Beach Bus began running buses to Rockaway on July 4, with nearly identical pick-up and drop-off locations as the popular Rockabus.

Riders can catch the buses in Williamsburg and at the Barclays Center, with drop-offs at Jacob Riis Park and Beach 84th Street in Rockaway Beach — the same as Rockabus.

Rockabus also offers an additional pickup in Manhattan, on the Lower East Side.

There are other differences between the two.

Roundtrip bus fare on Rockabus is $15, and $10 one way. You can ride the New York City Beach Bus for $12 round-trip, but the one-way cost is the same as Rockabus.

Both companies offer discounts at businesses and bars in Brooklyn and Rockaway. For example, Rockabus riders can get 2 for 1 cans of beer at Battery-Harris, a new bar in Williamsburg open by two Rockaway natives.

Riders from the New York City Beach Bus say they get 25 percent off their entire order at the Metro Deli at 78 Havemeyer St.

But the newest bus stands out with it's amenities, providing sunblock, beach toys and, for an additional fee, yoga classes once you get to the sand, according to co-owner Ayo Omojola.

“We give you everything you need,” she said, saying she’s trying to bring an “adult summer camp” vibe to their bus.

Amojola, a paralegal, and her husband, a construction manager, began shuttling friends to various parts of the tri-state a few years ago, chartering buses for snowboarding and hiking trips.

They realized that it was a success within their circle, and decided to expand it this summer.

"If we can do it with our friends without killing anyone, we can invite all of New York City," she said.

A third bus company, Alexis Vans, as reported by the Brooklyn Paper, and provides a similar service.

Amojola thinks the demand for faster and more convenient service to the beach is growing, warranting the multiple services.

"It’s the same way that any airline company is offering flights to anywhere, so competition is good for everyone," she said.

"We’re doing our own thing and having a good time doing it."

Those looking to catch some rays and take a dip the old-fashioned way can always pick up a Far Rockaway-bound A train in Manhattan, Brooklyn and other parts of Queens.

That ride only costs $2.50 each way, but you have to pack your own sunblock.