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MTA to vote on ticket policy to prevent LIRR Hamptons 'hoarding'

An LIRR train at the Montauk station on

An LIRR train at the Montauk station on June 26, 2008. Credit: Newsday / Jim Peppler

The MTA Board is expected to vote Wednesday on a change in Long Island Rail Road ticket policy aimed at preventing seat “hoarding” on a popular Hamptons summer weekend train.

LIRR officials said they saw a 103 percent rise last summer in their Hamptons Reserve Service on the Cannonball express train, which goes from Penn Station to Montauk on Friday afternoons in the summer.

Although the two reserved-seating cars on the train consistently sold out and had long waiting lists for seats, they often went 20-30 percent unoccupied. That’s because some customers would reserve several seats, not use them, and then seek refunds at the end of the season, according to the LIRR. The agency said it paid out about $10,000 in refunds on the Cannonball last year and lost potential revenue from onboard beverage sales because of the unused seats.

Under the proposed plan, the LIRR will only allow refunds for trips canceled by noon on the Thursday before the scheduled trips. It will also combine the cost of the trip and a separate $20 reservation fee into one single ticket that will cost $47 eastbound and $39.75 westbound.

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