Tough stance on anti-social behaviour on trains
ScotRail is to ban the consumption and carrying of alcohol on its trains
between 9pm and 10am.
The move comes in response to concerns from the travelling public about
anti-social behaviour on trains and calls from the Scottish Government for
ScotRail will also refuse travel to people who are not considered fit to do
so due to the effects of alcohol.
Scottish Ministers support the train operator's drive to reduce anti-social
behaviour and improve the travelling experience of rail passengers.
This was underlined in yesterday's Parliamentary statement on rail, when
Transport Minister Keith Brown MSP committed to taking forward with
ScotRail and British Transport Police more measures to ensure anti-social
behaviour is driven out of our trains.
Cabinet Secretary for Justice Kenny MacAskill today welcomed the actions.
And public support for the move is underpinned by a survey last week which
found 84% of respondents in favour of banning alcohol from trains after
The crackdown from 20 July, 2012 is designed to send out a clear message
that anti-social behaviour at stations and on trains is unacceptable.
ScotRail today stressed the purpose of the ban is to prevent a small
minority having a disproportionate negative impact on the majority of
Steve Montgomery, ScotRail's managing director, said: "Anti-social
behaviour fuelled by alcohol has no place on our trains or at stations.
Customers should be able to travel in a safe and friendly environment."
He added: "It's time to call a halt on the irresponsible minority who spoil
journeys for the majority. These individuals disrupt services, abuse staff
and fellow customers, and cause accidents."
In the past six months alone, the ScotRail review uncovered at least 260
occasions when British Transport Police had to respond to drink-related
incidents; an increasing number of trains delayed due to anti-social
behaviour - affecting customer perceptions of the railway and damaging
ScotRail's reputation, and at least one accident a week caused by excessive
Mr MacAskill said that tackling alcohol misuse is a priority for the
Scottish Government and the development was welcomed.
The Cabinet Secretary for Justice said: "We want everyone to enjoy
themselves on nights out, but consideration for others is also vitally
important. A journey home on a train shouldn't be a worrying or upsetting
experience for any passenger."
"Responses to the Rail 2014 consultation clearly showed there is concern
from passengers who have to travel in the company of those under the
influence of alcohol and the anti-social behaviour that can sometimes come
He continued: "I welcome the decision by ScotRail to act on those concerns,
which will greatly benefit and reassure responsible passengers and
encourage more people to use public transport. It sends out a message loud
and clear that drunken, loutish behaviour on our trains will no longer be
"Tackling alcohol misuse is a priority for this Government and this is a
development we welcome as we continue working to rebalance Scotland's
damaging relationship with alcohol."
Chief Superintendent Ellie Bird, area commander for the Scotland Area of
BTP, said: "Crime on Scotland's railways is at a record low. However,
combating anti-social behaviour and disruption to the rail network remains
a priority for us."
Ms Bird, who was instrumental in successfully introducing alcohol
restrictions for TfL on the London Underground, added: "It is well
documented that excessive alcohol consumption can be a pre-cursor to
"The Scotland area of BTP wholeheartedly supports ScotRail's plans and we
will enforce the restrictions under the current Railway Byelaw or other
legislation at our disposal.
"All passengers and rail staff have the right to travel unhindered and
without the threat of encountering any kind of criminality. The enhanced
restrictions will go a long way to helping reducing the opportunity for
"The consumption of alcohol is prohibited on other forms of public
transport, such as buses, and trains should be no different."
ScotRail will now launch a four-week campaign to make customers aware of
the impending ban from 20 July, to be followed by a fortnight-long 'softly,
It follows a year-long review by the train operator, which found that
customers perceived that travel on late night trains, and even during early
mornings, can be unpleasant due to anti-social behaviour directly related
In addition, ScotRail took into account the responses to the Rail 2014
consultation which made clear there was wide support for action on the
irresponsible consumption of alcohol and policing of anti-social behaviour
- and many respondents were in favour of a total ban on alcohol on trains
due to the impact on other passengers.
The ban will be enforced by British Transport Police (BTP) through the
national Railway Byelaws which allow a train operator to stop people in a
state of intoxication from travelling, and to publicly declare that certain
services are so-called 'dry trains' where the consumption and carrying of
alcohol are banned.
The only exception to the 9pm - 10am rule will be the overnight Caledonian
Sleeper train to and from London, often dubbed a 'hotel on wheels.'
It is understood ScotRail is the first train operator in the UK to make
such a radical overhaul of conditions related to travel, although alcohol
is already banned on certain services during football, rugby and other
Mr Montgomery said the announcement comes as the Scottish Government
continues to signal its intent to tackle Scotland's unhealthy relationship
He added: "ScotRail's message is clear. As a business, we must ensure our
customers and staff can make rail journeys safely and with confidence, and
our measures are aimed at the irresponsible minority.
"Anti-social behaviour is unacceptable and people must take responsibility
for their own actions."
He continued: "We believe the ban will be welcomed by the public and will
result in falls in anti-social behaviour, crime, accidents, and customer
complaints - and an increase on the number of people who feel comfortable
to use late night trains."
Mr Montgomery said that the practice of bringing large amounts of alcohol
on board to drink while travelling has resulted in complaints from
passengers, and declared: "Anyone who is unfit to travel will be turned
away. And anyone deemed to have committed an offence will be reported to
the local Procurator Fiscal by BTP, which is supporting us on tackling this
BTP said it has engaged with a wide range of stakeholders - MPs, MSPs,
community groups, passenger groups and train operators on the issue of
alcohol related anti-social behaviour.
It has also pledged to enhance its station and on-train patrols during the
initial phases of the campaign to mitigate the possibility of staff
assaults and other offences.
ScotRail stressed that customers' bags will not be searched before or
during their journeys, and is using existing Railway Byelaws as the most
expedient way to introduce the crackdown on anti-social behaviour and to
send out a clear message that it expects customers to be able to travel in
a safe, friendly environment and not have journeys disrupted.
'Last orders' will apply on trains with catering services. Alcohol will not
be sold from 8.30pm and customers will be asked to finish any alcoholic
drinks by 9pm.
BTP will be alerted if passengers refuse to leave after being declined
access to trains or if behaviour causes concern to train crew or customers
during a journey.