After attacks, a weekend beer ban on the LIRR


Although the beer selection in Penn Station leaves much to be desired, kicking back and enjoying a nightcap on the right home has become a rite of passage for many a Long Island-bound reveler on a weekend evening. Now, though, after a few recent high-profile incidents and a long-standing file of complaints, the LIRR will no longer allow alcohol on late-night weekend trains. Starting May 14, between midnight and 5 a.m., passengers will no longer be able to imbibe booze on Long Island Rail Road trains.

According to The Times, two March incidents involving unruly passengers punching conductors led the MTA to consider such a ban. Riders, however, had long referred to the late-night weekend rides as “drunk trains.” LIRR President Helena Williams did not mince words. Alcohol, she says, “continues to fuel some of the rambunctious behavior we’ve been getting, all the way up to criminal behavior.” This ban will be in place indefinitely.

Categories : Asides, LIRR

8 Responses to “After attacks, a weekend beer ban on the LIRR”

  1. Kai B says:

    I love how they say they are “testing the ban” – as if something like this would ever come back once it’s gone.

    It’s like saying “testing the ban on walking between cars” or “testing a food ban”.

  2. Bruce M says:

    I wonder how the conductors will be enforcing this ban once it goes into effect when passengers bring their own booze on board with them? That is going to lead to more confrontations to be sure. I don’t envy that job.

  3. nycpat says:

    Just get rid of the C/rs, problem solved.

  4. petey says:

    sorry, you do great work ben, but i can’t help myself: it’s a rite, but not a rite of passage.

  5. Michael says:

    Drunk Trains… funny I always called them vomit comets.

  6. Matthias says:

    Why do we have such a problem with alcohol? Do other developed countries, where drinking in public is permitted, have these behavioral issues? It seems to me that every ban on alcohol leads to more abuse.

  7. Dickie says:

    ” Do other developed countries, where drinking in public is permitted, have these behavioral issues?”

    Afraid so, late night tube rides in London can be particularly unpleasant at the weekend with drunks fighting and vomitting. Also, an alcohol ban, system wide at all times which was implemted a few years ago now generally tends to go ignored!

  8. nyland8 says:

    The fact is, on at least one level, mass-transit is what makes drunkenness possible. If people were driving they’d never get that drunk. Having a train take you home is liberating, and if you’re out with “friends” you don’t require a designated driver, so there may be no sobering influence to be found. It is also true that the preponderance of drunkenness on trains happened before anyone boarded – so not allowing drinking on the train will have little effect. By themselves, most train rides are not even long enough to get drunk on.

    And in the case of the LIRR and MNRR, I suspect that the ride home for many is their time to sober up enough to drive home from the train station.

    In any event, it will still be left to the conductor to enforce this “ban” – and therein lies the problem. Because nothing sets off a drunk quite so often, and quite so quickly, as the one who intervenes to tell them they can’t drink anymore.

    If they really want to change people’s behavior, then policing riders before they board the train might have the effect they want. If police at Penn and GCT refuse to let drunks board the train, then people would quickly get the message to truncate their revelry time, else they find themselves sitting in the station for hours while another couple of home-bound trains leave without them. And a cop is a much more sobering influence than a conductor.

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