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Southampton, East Hampton towns want LIRR strike contingency plan for East End

Southampton and East Hampton town supervisors Tuesday urged Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials to create a contingency plan for the East End if LIRR unions go on strike Sunday.

"We would like for them to provide some alternative transportation for this segment of Long Island," Southampton Town spokeswoman Jennifer Garvey said Tuesday.

"They are providing transportation as far west as Ronkonkoma, but nothing beyond that," she said of the MTA's contingency plan that includes bus service from several Long Island locations. Ronkonkoma is the farthest east that buses are offered.

"Local businesses can not afford the loss of thousands of patrons -- which is what a LIRR strike would mean," Southampton Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst and East Hampton Supervisor Larry Cantwell wrote to the MTA and Long Island Rail Road.

Both towns have suspended some municipal parking restrictions to allow motor coach companies to use LIRR parking lots as pickup and drop-off locations, the supervisors said in the release. But they need LIRR approval for the buses to use those lots.

Throne-Holst and Cantwell said in a statement Tuesday that they have not received a response from the MTA or LIRR.

MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan did not comment on the request other than by referring questions to the agency's contingency plan, which does not include transportation alternatives on the East End.

About 10,000 to 12,000 people take the LIRR to one of the five stations in the town of Southampton and three stations in the town of East Hampton every weekend during the peak summer season, according to the news release."We have a seasonal economy," Garvey said. "July and August are our peak months. It's going to be a pretty huge hit" for local businesses if trains are shut down.

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