Citing a need to divert cars from downtown Oak Bluffs, the town is moving forward with a plan to offer park-and-ride service this summer.

The free bus service, provided by the Vineyard Transit Authority, will shuttle passengers between Ocean Park and a parking lot near the town hall starting June 20.

Buses will begin at 8 a.m. and will run until 7 p.m., with a break between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

“We are trying to meet a need because we have a lot of pressure on parking downtown,” said board of selectman chairman Gregory A. Coogan at a meeting this week.

The town-owned lot, which can accommodate 60 to 70 cars, is located behind the Catholic Parish Hall, at the corner of School street and Pacific avenue.

The bus will pick up passengers at the lot, carrying them along New York avenue to Ocean Park. The return trip will follow Oak Bluffs avenue to New York and back to Pacific.

Town leaders have been considering the service for more than a decade,

Summer brings hordes of people to downtown Oak Bluffs, but parking availability has long been inadequate. Often, beachgoers and ferry passengers park in the nearby neighborhoods, infuriating residents.

“We have people who park their car on Monday morning and then don’t come back until Friday night,” said resident Ann Smith, who lives at Waban Park.

The park-and-ride would be marketed to employees and ferry boat passengers, as well as casual visitors, selectmen said.

Business owners will promote the service among their employees, Oak Bluffs Association president Dennis daRosa said.

“We don’t have a lot of cash to throw at this but we do have a lot of influence through our own word of mouth as owners and managers of businesses,” he said.

When the VTA was asked to participate, administrator Angie Grant offered two scheduling options to the board -- a full-day schedule and a split one, with a break at midday.

After debating the merits of each, the board decided to go with the cheaper, more limited schedule.

“We didn’t want to go into this with a big financial hit and a big risk,” Mr. Coogan said.

A state subsidy will cover $27,435 of the total cost of the service, leaving the town to fund the remaining $11,757. Next month, the town will approach the Steamship Authority for help with their portion.

When the vote was taken, four selectmen voted in favor of the limited schedule, while Gail Barmakian abstained from voting. Earlier, she had expressed support for the full-day schedule.

“I think it’s really important as you start out to make it as convenient as possible,” she said.

The selectmen said they would adopt the limited schedule on a somewhat trial basis, with the hopes that a growing interest in the service will enable them to expand it.

Selectman Kathleen Burton, who works in downtown Edgartown, said she observed that trend in Edgartown’s park-and-ride system.

“I watched how long it took for that park-and-ride to get going, but now it’s spectacular,” she said.

Vineyard Haven also has a park-and-ride which serves the boat terminal and downtown area.

But not everyone was in favor of the new bus route in town.

Resident David Underwood said the plan would bring unwanted bus traffic to his neighborhood.

“People have been living here for years and you do not give them the dignity of informing them what you are planning to do with their neighborhood,” he said.

Plans for the service are not yet set in stone, officials said.

“This is the beginning of the process,” Mr. Coogan said.

The town will hold a public hearing on the park-and-ride proposal on March 10.