Having a nightcap on the way home has been a commuter tradition for many years. Years ago, there were bar cars on some evening rush-hour trains and, in the New York area, Metro-North Railroad still has them on some New Haven Line trains. Elsewhere, including on NJ Transit, weary homebound commuters buy drinks before boarding and enjoy them en route. However, sometimes the consumption of alcohol, both before boarding and on trains, has led to rowdiness and even violence. On some lines, apparently, this comes to a peak on weekend late-night trains as revelers continue their celebration once aboard.
On the Long Island Rail Road, two recent attacks on train conductors have led the railroad to institute a trial policy curbing alcohol on certain late-night trains. Christine Haughney, writing in the New York Times (April 24; contributions also from Randy Leonard), reports that, effective May 14, riders will be prohibited from bringing alcoholic drinks onto LIRR trains leaving Pennsylvania Station on Friday and Saturday nights between midnight and 5 a.m. Various riders and advocates were quoted to the effect that riders generally have a low tolerance for rowdiness on the trains. The ban will not affect trains at other hours, including the LIRR’s popular service to the East End of Long Island for weekend getaways.
The Lackawanna Coalition believes that all riders, and transit employees as well, are entitled to a safe and comfortable environment for their journey.