A transit authority committee reversed track on a move to ban alcohol on commuter trains after receiving a stack of petitions that were signed by thousands of riders who objected. Facing overwhelming opposition from their customers, the LIRR and Metro-North will continue to allow them to drink. The New York Times describes the opposition to the proposed booze ban as being a modern democratic uniter, linking different socio-economic groups in a common cocktail cause. We almost wonder if Sen. Clinton or Rudy Giuliani will eventually outfit their campaign buses with wetbars and kegs to capitalize on the issue. There are actually only bar cars on the Metro-North line that travels from Grand Central Terminal to New Haven. Other Metro-North passengers can buy drinks from carts located on the platform and the LIRR has mobile carts that are wheeled onto trains.
WNBC highlights another aspect of The Times' story morning. It points out that there were almost 1,000 passengers on Metro-North and LIRR trains that were so drunk they needed medical attention and close to 300 were ticketed for being drunk and causing disturbances. The ban on alcohol sales was first proposed last December by a board member from Long Island who was concerned that drinking-and-riding passengers posed a threat as they drove home after leaving their trains. The Times reported that police data did not support those concerns, however, and the committee decided to recommend continuing alcohol sales.