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Hamptons Road Warriors

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No, East End road rage is not confined to dyed-blonde publicists or Alec Baldwin. In fact, riders say it's even infected the Jitney. "Traffic patterns have changed," says Tom Neely, vice-president of Hampton Jitney -- and not for the better. Several East End towns, he explains, have passed new laws preventing use of alternate routes, thereby ratcheting up congestion and testing the civility of stressed weekenders shoehorned into $24 seats. The most serious flash point is the three-minute cell-phone rule, which some riders find too long and others too short. "There's not a whole lot we can do about it," says Neely. "We can't throw them off the bus."

Another insult is that, by all accounts, police in the Hamptons have stepped up traffic and parking enforcement, using an army of young summer interns and a weapon that had been deployed only sparingly before: the boot.

And the asphalt itself seems to be rebelling. "The roads are buckling from the heat," said an officer at the Southhampton police station last Thursday. "Everybody -- with the exception of the emergency workers -- has been sent home for the day."

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