The ScotRail booze ban has been labelled “draconian” amid calls for it to be scrapped.
Passengers on the country’s biggest railway operator were previously allowed to consume alcohol before 9pm – and could purchase drinks on certain mainline services.
But transport bosses used covid as a reason to ban booze on the network in November 2020 – and have refused to end the ban despite other lockdown rules being scrapped.
ScotRail was taken under Scottish Government control in April this year after a torrid few years for the railway which saw passenger numbers plummet.
Scottish Tory transport spokesman Graham Simpson said the restriction should end, pointing out that ScotRail is just one of three rail operators outside London with a blanket ban on drinking.
“The SNP’s draconian ban on drinking alcohol on Scotland’s trains is out of step and out of touch,” he said.
“ScotRail is one of only a handful of rail operators in the UK to completely ban alcohol on their trains, and the SNP’s refusal to drop this Covid-era restriction looks more unreasonable by the day.”
The Scotsman newspaper reported last month that the operator put forward proposals that would see the ban lifted between 10am and 9pm – a return to the pre-pandemic norm – but the plan was never put in place.
“ScotRail put forward fair and sensible proposals for more flexible alcohol rules on our trains, which would allow passengers to consume alcohol while tackling anti-social behaviour,” Mr Simpson said.
“Yet instead of listening to ScotRail bosses, the SNP appear to have overruled them.
“This ban was a Covid measure that should have been reversed along with other restrictions.
“It is time the SNP showed some trust in the Scottish public and scrapped this last, unreasonable rule.”
Stephen Elliot, ScotRail’s security and crime manager, said: “The safety of our customers and our colleagues is always our number one priority.
“The current alcohol ban on ScotRail services was introduced to support Covid-19 precautions and guidance, and will remain in place while it is considered as part of the Scottish Government’s national conversation on rail.”
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