LIRR to late night passengers: ‘Last call for alcohol’

The Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) recently announced that it would be implementing an alcohol ban on weekend overnight trains.

The pilot program alcohol ban begins May 18—affecting all LIRR branches leaving from Penn Station. The ban will prohibit passengers from entering the trains with alcohol on Friday and Saturday nights between midnight and 5 a.m.

Many LIRR riders refer to the late night trains as “the drunk train,” since many of the passengers are returning to the island intoxicated.

The Long Island Rail Road will institute an alcohol ban on late-night Friday and Saturday trains (LIR Photo by Demi Cruz)

The Long Island Rail Road will institute an alcohol ban on late-night Friday and Saturday trains (LIR Photo by Demi Cruz)

“Two recent assaults on LIRR conductors in March were the impetus for the formation of a task force to look at the disruptive behavior on trains in the weekend overnights and see how we could get a different tone on those trains,” said LIRR Spokesman Sam Zambuto. “Alcohol-fueled fare disputes and other disruptive activity are taking place on some of these trains.”

Zambuto said that the security presence at Penn Station will increase. Train riders will be screened by Metropolitan Transit Authority Police prior to boarding the trains during the hours of the ban. If a passenger is caught with alcohol, he or she would first receive a warning and the alcohol would be confiscated.

“I do support the ban of alcohol consumption on the LIRR’s late night trains because alcohol causes some people to become aggressive and argumentative,” said Ramon Ciprian, a Huntington resident who recently witnessed a heated drunken argument on a late-night train. “I believe the ban will help safety for employees and passengers. I do understand that many passengers get on the train after a long night of drinking and partying, but an extra drink could put you on another level.”

Some riders are against the ban as they are worried the increase of security and screening passengers will cause much congestion in trying to get on the train.

“I am not against the idea of the ban but if it’s going to prevent me from getting on the train in a timely matter, I don’t think it will work, especially because people will become aggravated,” said Kimberly Gonzales, a Hempstead resident who rides the train often during the hours of the proposed alcohol ban.

Other riders feel that even with the ban on the trains themselves, alcohol-related disturbances can still occur.

“I don’t think the ban will increase safety,” said Sanela Memedoska, a LIRR rider from Hempstead. “People are already intoxicated by the time they get on the train, and I don’t see many people drinking on the train anyway. It all occurs before the ride home.”

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