On 20 July 2012 we introduced a ban on drinking or visibly carrying alcohol on ScotRail trains between 9pm and 10am.
We are also refusing travel to people who are not considered fit to do so due to the effects of alcohol.
Our staff use common sense. Customers’ bags are not searched, and the new rules have been gently phased in to give people time to get used to the idea.
Speaking on the launch date, Steve Montgomery, ScotRail’s managing director, said: “Customers should be able to travel in a safe and friendly environment.
“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 six months to July 2012, ScotRail uncovered at least 260 occasions when British Transport Police (BTP) had to respond to drink-related incidents; an increasing number of trains delayed due to anti-social behaviour; and at least one accident a week caused by excessive alcohol.
There are two elements to the changes:
The ban is enforced by BTP through a national Railway Byelaw allowing train operators to stop intoxicated people travelling, prevent the carrying of alcohol, and publicly declare that certain services are so-called ‘dry trains’ where the consumption and carrying of alcohol is banned. (Railway Byelaw 4 – parts 1, 2 and 3).
Alcohol is already banned on specific ScotRail trains during major events. This extension will further improve our customers’ experience and reduce alcohol-related anti-social behaviour at stations and on trains.
BTP will be alerted if passengers refuse to leave after being declined access to trains or if behaviour causes concern to train crew or passengers during a journey, just as they do just do for public order offences.
Yes. However, ‘last orders’ will apply on trains with catering services. We stop selling alcohol at 8.30pm and customers are politely reminded to drink up by 9pm.
Common sense is being applied. There are many laws that have a wider scope than is actually applied in practice. The ban is not aimed at passengers returning from a shopping trip with a bottle of wine or a few cans of beer. However, anyone visibly carrying alcohol during these times (opened or unopened) will not be allowed to travel, so we are advising to people to pack it away and keep it out of sight.
We are not searching bags. Remember, the key purpose of the ban is to ensure customers can make rail journeys safely and in a friendly environment, no matter the time of day.
The Sleeper is ‘a hotel on wheels', with a lounge car serving hot food and alcohol, and is exempt. However, anyone unfit to travel is not allowed on board, and staff actions if faced with on-board anti-social behaviour are the same as for ‘dry’ trains.
Alcohol retailers have a legal obligation not to sell alcohol to anyone who appears to be unduly under the influence of alcohol. Local authority byelaws already prevent drinking at about 70% of our stations.
They will be asked to leave the station and find alternative transport. If they refuse to do so, British Transport Police will be called.
This is about encouraging people to take responsibility for their own actions. If they wish to get the train home, they must ensure they are fit to travel.
Just as now, arrangements are in place to care for vulnerable passengers, or those with children.
Anyone turned away because of anti-social behaviour is not entitled to a refund.
Move away from the person if you can, into another carriage ideally. Then report it to the member of staff on board. In more extreme circumstances, call BTP directly on 0800 405040.