So a few weeks after coming into office, midnight saw the high profile enactment of one of Boris Johnson’s election pledges, the banning of alcohol from all London public transport, the logic being that if you curb low level disorder it will help make steps towards curbing the bigger problem. There are needless to say a number of problems, in particular being that it will be the normal staff who will have to enforce the ban – however before the ban came in, there was an internet organised final party, mainly taking place on the Circle Line – and for many it proved the point.
If you looked at the news pictures earlier on, it was all good-natured enough, with people dressing up for the occasion, indeed some people dressed for a black tie occasion sipping cocktails. One participant, a banker was quoted as saying:
â€œI’ve come along with a bottle of Champagne because I want to show that you can drink responsibly on the Tube and not cause trouble.â€?
Unfortunately, that isn’t the way it turned out, and by the end of the night six stations had had to be closed and four tube drivers, three other staff members and two police officers had been assaulted and there had been seventeen arrests, proving to many who have to use the system precisely why drink should be banned.
Needless to say, whether the ban will actually be enforceable, or whether it will be widely flouted remains to be seen – this will probably be one of the first and most visible big tests of Boris Johnson as mayor. Equally whether the ban makes late night travel on the London Underground any more attractive remains to be seen – certainly if we’re coming back late from something in London we’ll tend to opt for a taxi to get us to the mainline train at Waterloo rather than using the Underground, although since more often than not we’re rushing for one of the hourly fast trains in those situations, we might well still opt for the taxi anyway!