LIRR Bans Alcohol on Trains this Weekend to Ensure Safer Travel During SantaCon
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By Lyndsay McCabe
Published: December 13 2013
SantaCon is this Saturday, and from noon on Saturday through noon on Sunday, a prohibition will be in effect in an attempt to ensure safe travel for commuters and LIRR employees.
SantaCon revelers will not be partying as usual this Saturday, as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced that alcohol will be banned on both the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North trains.
According to an MTA press release, alcohol will be banned from both trains and stations on the railways from 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 14, to 12 p.m. on Sunday, December 15. MTA officers will be patrolling Grand Central Station, Penn Station, and will also be at train stations and on the trains themselves to keep an eye out for revelers. Illegal liquor will be confiscated, and those with alcohol may be issued a summons of up to $50 or 30 days imprisonment, or both.
The news comes as another safety precaution after NYPD Liutenant John Cocchi penned a letter to bar owners in November asking them to deny alcohol to those who participate in the informal Santa Convention and bar crawl.
"The number of participants has grown large enough to completely overwhelm the sidewalks and public spaces... " wrote Cocchi. "Having thousands of intoxicated partygoers roam the streets urinating, littering, vomiting and vandalizing will not be tolerated in our neighborhood."
According to the SantaCon code, "Santa spreads JOY. Not terror. Not vomit. Not trash. Would you want those under YOUR tree? Santa stays safe. Santa does not drink more than Santa can handle. Doing so endangers Santa's self, Santa's friends, and the future of SantaCon."
Though SantaCon is meant to be an organized event about charity, spontaneity, and silliness, it has come to be seen as a public nuisance with many partygoers being intoxicated in public.
Alcohol is generally allowed on the LIRR and Metro-North, but earlier this year, a permanent prohibition was enacted on trains from midnight to 5 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. Periodic bans on alcohol are typically instated during events where drinking and rowdiness are expected.