WILLIAMSBURG — More Rockaway beach bus lines hit the streets this summer, but riders are proving that the rival companies need not compete for clients — in fact, there aren't enough seats to go around.
Both the year-old Rockabus and the three-week-old NYC Beach Bus sold out their yellow school bus rides Sunday from Brooklyn and Manhattan to the beach, owners said, with the Rockabus experiencing record ridership.
"We transported more than 350 individuals to the beach and back yesterday. It was...the highest level of ridership we've ever experienced in a single day," Rockabus founder Sam Morrill said Monday. "I attribute this to the good weather and the fact that we continue to enhance the level of service that we provide."
The NYC Beach Bus, which launched at the beginning of July, had 260 riders on sold-out buses Sunday, and founders said "aggressive marketing" of their new company had helped "make people more aware of a beach bus in general."
"There was a big party on the beach this Sunday so we had a lot of one-way riders," NYC Beach Bus founder Ayo Omojola said of this weekend's tiki disco party at Rockaway Beach's Rippers bar. "July ending signifies the end of summer to most people so people are trying to get their beach days in before it's too late."
The bus companies — which both work with local bars and shops to offer free drinks and discounts to riders — leave from Williamsburg and the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The Rockabus also offers a pickup location on the Lower East Side. Both lines drop off riders at 84th Street in Rockaway Beach, as well as Jacob Riis Park.
The NYC Beach Bus is $12 for either a one-way or a round-trip ticket, while a one-way ticket on the Rockabus is $10 with round-trip fare costing $15. The NYC Beach Bus boasts free sunscreen and beach toys for its customers, plus special yoga classes on the beach for an extra fee.
In response to growing demand, Rockabus plans to launch a bus from Brooklyn's Grand Army Plaza, Morrill said. NYC Beach Bus will not add more buses this summer, but the founders said the company would likely bring in more rides when it launchs its fall and winter service, taking customers apple picking, hiking, skiing and snowboarding outside the city.