NJ Transit, Metro-North Join LIRR in Banning Booze for SantaCon

By Alan Neuhauser on December 12, 2013 2:33pm 

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 A day after the MTA Long Island Railroad announced that it would institute a 24-hour ban on alcohol consumption during the SantaCon festivities this weekend, New Jersey Transit said it, too, would prohibit passengers from having open containers of alcohol aboard its trains.
NJ Transit Bans Booze for SantaCon
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MIDTOWN — They're hopping on the no-booze-during-SantaCon train.

Barely a day after the MTA Long Island Railroad announced that it would institute a 24-hour ban on alcohol consumption overlapping with the controversial annual bar crawl this weekend, New Jersey Transit and Metro-North said they would also prohibit passengers from imbibing aboard their trains.

"NJ Transit will be enforcing a no-alcoholic-beverage policy on our trains for the duration of the SantaCon festivities," spokesman William Smith said in a statement. "Additionally, NJ Transit has a pre-existing ban on food and beverages of any kind on our buses."

The ban, as with LIRR, will be implemented from noon Saturday to noon Sunday. Drinking is usually allowed on NJ Transit trains.

"We base decisions based on our own intelligence and also from speaking with other agencies across the region," Smith added.

The MTA's Metro-North line will also be going dry during the same period.

"MTA Police Officers will be on duty at Grand Central Terminal, Penn Station and at train stations and on trains to enforce this restriction," MTA spokesman Salvatore Arena said in a satatement. "The police will confiscate illegal liquor and issue summonses carrying fines up to $50 or 30 days imprisonment or both. Violators may also be subject to ejection from the train or station by police."

He noted that SantaCon's "focus is on spontaneity and creativity, while having a good time and spreading cheer and goodwill," but that "in past years some participants have been cited as a public nuisance."

All beverages, alcoholic or otherwise, are banned on all MTA subways and buses and also aboard Port Authority PATH trains.

SantaCon is scheduled for this Saturday, Dec. 14.

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