Home LIRR Alcohol task force wants commuters to have a drink on them

Alcohol task force wants commuters to have a drink on them

by Benjamin Kabak

I’ve got some good news for you commuters that can’t stomach the thought of a sober ride home. The task force convened to examine the MTA’s alcohol policy has returned a verdict: You can keep on drinkin’ on Metro-North and LIRR trains.

The MTA issued a press release just a few hours ago detailing the task force’s decision:

The final report unanimously recommended that the current policy should not be changed. Upon review of the report, Chairman Kalikow and Executive Director and CEO Sander agreed with the recommendation…

The report based its conclusion on four main findings:

– Based on MTA Police Department testimony and data, State DWI/DUI statistics, and the polling of police departments along MTA railroad Rights-of-Way, no correlation was able to be drawn between the sale or consumption of alcohol on MTA facilities and DWI incidents in or around either railroad (since 2003, only four DWI cases were reported on commuter rail property, and not a single one was attributed to drinking on MTA trains or facilities);

– The sale of alcohol, beverages and snacks were considered an amenity for customers, particularly for those traveling longer distances;

– Alcohol was readily available for purchase in multiple locations in or around LIRR and MNR stations/terminals; and

– Preventing the consumption of alcohol prior to arrival at or on commuter railroad trains was not feasible.

MTA Executive Director and CEO Elliot “Lee” Sander uttered the understatement of the year in announcing this decision. “Many of our customers enjoy this amenity, and I am pleased that the Task Force confirmed that the current policy provides a benefit without compromising safety,” he said. It’s safe to assume that a whole bunch of white-collar, suburban commuters may just have taken their eyes off of their Blackberries long enough to riot had the MTA banned alcohol on these trains.

Meanwhile, The Times reports that alcohol-related medical cases are far from uncommon on commuter rails:

The police issued 287 tickets on the Long Island and Metro-North lines last year to people on trains or in stations who were drinking alcohol and creating a disturbance. Far more prevalent, the police said, were instances of people on commuter lines who needed medical help because of extreme drunkenness. There were 994 such cases on the two railroads last year, but officials said that in virtually every case, the riders appeared to have done most or all of their drinking before they ever got on a train.

I’d hate to think what these folks who drink themselves into a stupor on Metro-North or the Long Island Railroad do for a day job. Maybe it’s just too hard to travel back to North White Plains and face yet another night in suburbia with the family.

But anywhere, there you have it, folks. The MTA will allow you to keep on drinking yourself silly on the way home. Now, if only we could enjoy some booze on the subways. Just imagine how nice that would smell on Sunday morning.

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jeff May 31, 2007 - 2:06 pm

I think these words should be added to the Constitution: “Preventing the consumption of alcohol prior to arrival at or on commuter railroad trains was not feasible”

Lillie May 31, 2007 - 4:10 pm

I bet most of the cases that required medical intervention were not commuters coming home after work but people going to parades or games or other events in the city, i.e., not even commuters, just people using the commuter lines.


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