Evening rail passengers must go drink-free as ScotRail bans alcohol

Train passengers in Scotland will be forced to forego their tipple after 9pm from next month under new regulations on alcohol.

The Scottish train operator ScotRail will introduce a ban on the consumption and carrying of alcohol – currently only in place during major events - between 9pm and 10am from July 20.

It will also give staff powers to refuse travel to anyone deemed not fit to do so due to the effects of drink – with the exception of the Caledonian Sleeper service, on which the new rules will not apply.

The crackdown comes as a recent ScotRail review revealed the British Transport Police (BTP) had dealt with at least 260 incidents involving alcohol in only the past six months, and at least one accident a week is caused by excessive alcohol.

But despite 84 percent of respondents to a recent Scottish Government consultation being in favour of the new measures, South Ayrshire residents had mixed opinions.

Kaitlin Brown, 13, from Girvan’s Ailsa Street East. said: “I think it’s good because wee kids are on the trains and drinking being allowed creates a bad influence.”

Robert McCrindle, 50, of the town’s Birch Terrace said: “I think it should be 24/7; it would be better for people’s health. They said that about smoking - why should drinking be any different?”

Simon Brock, 44, from Newton Stewart disagreed though. “You should be able to drink if you want,” he said. “Stopping it will just take the anti-social behaviour into the homes and make people drink more quicker.”

One member of ScotRail’s Ayrshire staff told The Carrick Gazette: “I think it will be good if it means people will be more manageable.

“It will make my job much easier, especially at the weekends, if people aren’t drinking. It will make a big difference to me and my colleagues.”

A four-week campaign to make customers aware of the impending ban is now underway, and the BTP have pledged to enhance station and on-train patrols in the regulations’ first few weeks.

The changes have been welcomed by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, who said: “We want everyone to enjoy themselves on nights out, but consideration for others is also vitally important.

“A journey home on the train shouldn’t be a worrying or upsetting experience for any passenger.”

Steve Montgomery, ScotRail’s managing director, added: “Anti-social behaviour is unacceptable and people must take responsibility for their own actions. It’s time to call a halt on the irresponsible minority who spoil journeys for the majority.”

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