back to article Boris Johnson bans boozing on London transport

Newly-elected London mayor Boris Johnson has gone straight into attack mode and carried out his election pledge to ban boozing from London's public transport system, the BBC reports. London Transport's alcohol ban poster The blonde Tory bombshell declared: "I firmly believe that if we drive out so-called minor crime then we …


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  1. Anonymous Coward


    Try tackling the "serious crime" of charging long-suffering passengers three quid to travel 200 yards packed like veal calves en route to a French slaughterhouse

    Wow this beats walking. 200yard dash these days is _so_ hard for most people. Well at least I now have a solution to reduce those outgoing bills....

    Oh wait I left England just for those reasons.

  2. Mycho Silver badge

    3 quid to travel 200 yards?

    What, are you too pissed to walk that far?

  3. Lloyd
    Thumb Up

    Oh Dear

    Bob Crowe's offered an opinion, couple that with the warm weather and we have a strike brewing.

  4. David Simpson


    basically I'm to be treated the same as a lager lout just because I happen to occasionally buy a can of Pimms to drink while commuting?

    I thought this guy was a tory - you know the sort who cracked down on the criminals rather than simply criminalising everybody.

  5. GrahamT

    Is this a dig at Ken

    The ex-Mayor liked a drink (allegedly) and always used public transport.

    Boris rides a bike to work, but will probably use a mayoral limo for the many official receptions. Will drinking be off-limits in limos too?

  6. Jack

    3 quid to travel 200 yards?

    Walk! Fair enough really, there isn't exactly a real need to drink on the tube/bus.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Boris "The Whirlwind" Johnson

    Two days in and BoJo is kicking up a storm in office......

    TFL getting told to kick whino's and chavs off the public transport system....

    The Met getting told he want's a crime tracking website up this week......

    Something tells me he's doing a lot of work now so he can kick back for a few years......

    He's an idiot though, as the more pressure he puts out the shitter the outcome is going to be......

  8. Paul Fleetwood
    Thumb Down

    a daft policy clearly dreamt up by someone who doesn't use public transport

    it's pretty clear what's going to happen here: people on their way home from work having a quiet beer on their journey are going to get hassled by busy body members of the public and the braver members of staff, whilst the seriously drunk and intimidating people will be left to it, as nobody will want the grief of getting involved.

    If he wanted to improve people's experience of public transport a large scale campaign to remove people who play tinny music out of the speakers of their mobile phones would be welcome; this daft policy on people drinking on the other hand is just show boating for the crowd, and will do nothing to enhance people's journeys, even in the unlikely event that it's enforceable

    Well done London for voting in this muppet, I hope those who did because they think he's a laugh are proud of themselves

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Three quid to travel 200 yards???

    Try walking! It'll sober you up

  10. Anonymous Coward

    a guy called boris

    will never scare chuck into not drinking on the tube....

    mines the one with the lager in its pocket

  11. Steve Kay

    On being charged 3 quid to travel 200 yards

    If you can't be arsed to walk 200 yards, you deserve to be fleeced 3 quid.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why are charities given tax benefits?

    Look at "Alcohol Concern" for example. They are a registered charity, typical outfit, interfering busy bodies lobbying for more laws as the cure for everything. So why do they get a tax break? What big advantage is it to society to have organisations lobby for more laws??

    Why does THEIR lobbying warrant a tax break, whereas my lobbying doesn't warrant a tax break?

    I wonder because it's not enough for a charity to 'do good', it has to do MORE GOOD than the taxes it's avoiding. Every pound diverted from taxes to a charity is money that could be spend in the things the charity wants. It also means collectively we pay more taxes to make up for these freeloading lobbyists.

  13. Russ

    "If we ban harmless things, then harmful things will magically disappear"

    A very wise blog post on this issue is here

    I'm a law abiding citizen, and this is definitely going to make london a worse place to live for me

  14. Ash

    What's this?

    A sensible idea from a politician? I wish I could have voted for him, but alas I am a Midlander.

    And as for your "£3 for 200 yards" comment, if you can't be bothered to walk that paltry distance (you probably walk further to your desk within your office building), you deserve to be charged the extortionate rates they get away with.

    Defence rests.

  15. Mr Chris

    This will piss off a lot of middle class types...

    ...quietly enjoying their canned G&T from M&S on the train on the way out of London. I was far from the only person doing this on the way home of an evening.

    Having said that, the train drivers' union has already said they won't be enforcing this, so who cares?

  16. Beelzeebub

    Dear Boris

    Can we stop them pissing on the seats too? It's all too devilish for me.

    No coat necessary, the last one vaporised.

  17. Tim


    So Boris won? How glad are Londoners to not have Red Ken? I doubt any of them will be able to tell one terrible failed politian-turned-mayor from the other.

    I am not bothered myself, but never could stand Ken, and being from Liverpool, found myself disliking a hither-to unheard of Boris when he made his Regionist and ill-founded comments about the scousers..... I was so angry, but my curly-permed, mustachioed brothers told me to "calm down" or i'd get my shelly wet.

    Enough of all this political balderdash.....get back to the brass tacks of Reg....What big company is trying to blast what little company into oblivion these days?


    "permission to enforce the bar"

    Sounds like a posh way to join a drinking group.

    El Reg why is there no *beer* icon yet?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Walk 200 yards?

    Careful there, you could spill your drink.

  20. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: 3 quid to travel 200 yards?

    There's no 'need' to drink on the tube, but er, that's kind of missing the point. Even if this would work or do any good, which it won't, it's nothing more than an initial territorial piddle in the shape of a cynical political gesture.

    Just for the record, I didn't vote for the berk.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Jack: "no need"

    "there isn't exactly a real need to drink on the tube/bus."

    there aint a "need" for a whole load of things, but in a free society, you don't ban things because of their possible and occasional consequences - in this case, anti-social behaviour. You prosecute people who display the anti-social behaviour.

    There's no real need for alcohol at all. Why is it allowed in pubs, when people will quite possibly come out of those pubs and display anti-social behaviour? There's no real need. Why not ban it in pubs -- do it at home, if you must. Happy?

    It's just a politician pandering to a majority view, and in this case an oppressive one. I don't like to see people drinking on the tube either, but it's none of my business to be trying to stop them from this freedom. If they vomit on my shoes, different story.

  22. matt
    Thumb Down

    Whats the point?

    I don't think anyone would argue that people that have had to much to drink and are being a nuisance actually got drunk on public transport.

    Sure some people might be drinking while being a nuisance, but its the previous 5 drinks that made them act like that not the one in their hand.

  23. Rolf Harris

    A Tipping Point

    Changing the small things to fix the big things isn't so crazy. Sometimes, changing those things sends a signal to people that crime of any sort isn't tolerated. Cleaning graffiti, fixing broken windows and so on make an area seem to be better looked after and people whether subconciously or not start to treat the area better. Less drunkeness could well have the same effect. You can see the proof of the pudding in New York where little things like stopping fare dodging and cleaning the trains sent crime on the subway through the floor, and cleaning up the city lead to a gigantic fall in serious crime.

    It's not to make people's lives worse, but really - if you NEED to drink on the tube and can't wait until you get off, you should be seeking help for your alcoholism.

    (note: actually, I don't agree with the policy as I am a liberterian (look it up if you don't know what it is) but just pointing out that it could work)

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    3 quid to travel 200 yards

    Most expensive trip is £4 for 260 metres, which works out at £2.82 for 200 yards, you idiot.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Boris Johnson as mayor


    Couldn't have happened to a nicer City.

    The sooner you all realise democracy just doesn't work and make me emperor* the better. For everyone.

    *I am assuming that any group stupid enough to vote for Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone would jump at the chance to make me emperor. And perhaps buy some of these magic beans whilst you're at it?

  26. Colin Morris

    Tube travel cost to distance ratio...


    Try tackling the "serious crime" of charging long-suffering passengers three quid to travel 200 yards packed like veal calves en route to a French slaughterhouse


    I haven't lived in London for five years now but I presume you are talking about the rather pointless 'Leicester Square - Covent Garden' journey?

    ... It is time I think, to sort out the fact that a valid trip of one or two stops can cost as much as a much longer trip across the same zone particularly in zone one.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Why not demand the moon on a stick along the way?

    As a relatively recent newcomer to London (8 months here and counting) you lot really do take the piss in terms of what you like whingeing about. Hop over the Irish Sea and try living pretty much anywhere outside Dublin (or, hell, even *in* Dublin for that matter) and see what your Public Transport and specifically Public Transport Costs are like. The 200 yards trip on the tube may cost £3 but surely that high horse you're on could carry you all the way for free?

    While it's nice to see Boris attempt to actually do something, it would be nicer still if his goals weren't formulated to the general structure of:

    1. Generalised hand-wavey goal.

    2. ???

    3. Profit!

  28. James
    Thumb Up

    Hail Boris

    I for one am very pleased that Boris is Mayor of London. It means he's no longer my MP...

  29. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Where's The IT Angle Here?

    London is a fat too busy, overcrowded and rude cesspit of a place. Anything that helps lessen that is a positive in my book. It's a pity that branding isn't bought back as a punishment for the rude and manner less specimens who barge around tube and railway stations without any degree of politeness.

    Bob "Anything to improve London as long as we don't have to be the ones to do it or we'll strike" Crow is more of a waste of space that Ken ever was or Boris ever could be.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Out of bounds error

    I'm not sure how it's possible to drink on the Tube. Doing so requires one to bend one's arm, and this would breach the 16 square inches of floor space allocated to each upright ruminant.

  31. Bill Fresher

    @ Sarah Bee

    "Just for the record, I didn't vote for the berk."

    I didn't vote for a berk either... I didn't vote.

  32. Piers

    Ban everything

    Yes, that's the solution. Ban it. Like the handgun ban - now nobody carries a handgun...

    The only people who will cause a problem by drinking on public transport are the people who will just ignore the ban and carry on anyway.

  33. Christoph Silver badge

    How will they tell?

    "No mate, this is Orange Juice - see, it says so on the bottle. What do you mean you think I've mixed vodka in it? Just how are you going to prove that?"

    Is the poor bloody driver supposed to drag someone off the tube on suspicion that he might have mixed alcohol in? When it will be thought 'funny' to fake being drunk to mess him up?

  34. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Where's The IT Angle Here?

    Oh dear, the old 'London is full of rude people' saw. Actually, I think you'll find it's full of very polite and personal-space-conscious people, otherwise it couldn't function, because we'd all be engaged in a city-wide mass brawl all the livelong day.

    I shan't start defending Bob Crow because you're clearly just dangling a worm there, aren't you. On a string, all the way from... whereabouts are you? Northampton? Cleethorpes? I'm so sorry.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A cunning plan

    This is clearly a cunning plan to reduce crime on London's public transport network. A cunning plan of which Baldrick would have been proud. Like all good ‘cunning plans’ it is, of course, nonsense.

    There’s going to be a lot of debate about whether or not this is a good idea, what I’m wondering is what it actually means. There is a prohibition against carrying ‘open containers’ of alcohol on TFL (Transport for London) infrastructure. This would presumably include the following

    (a) surgical spirit in a first aid kit that has been opened for previous use

    (b) environmentally friendly reusable bottles for wine (such as from the Borough market wine merchants)

    (c) home mixed drink; no more home mixed pims and lemonade being carried on the tube unless anybody has a way of resealing lemonade bottles they would like to share with everyone.

    The one good thing I will say about Borris’ victory is that if he keeps coming out with pointless ideas like this it might be good for Labour in the long term as it will damage the Conservative party.

  36. Adam
    Paris Hilton

    You pay your money ...

    ... and you take your choice.

    Just like the US got the president it deserved for the last 8 years, London's just got the Mayor it deserves.

    If you voted for him, I hope you are happy. Me? I live in the Midlands, so I can sit back an laugh.

    Paris - coz she's just as mad as Boris!

  37. Tom

    Ridiculous idea

    3 quid for 200 yards? If you're going to take extreme cases publicised in the Sun and suggest that's somehow normal, you can expect to get shot down. A more accurate figure would be the ten mile journey I can take across town with the Overground for a quid. That's around 1p for every 200 yards. Into town at peak times? £2.50 for six miles or so, about 5p for every 200 yards.

    Public transport in London isn't particularly expensive, although it rapidly might become so if Boris carries on the way he's started. Silly idea, over-nannyish, authoritarian, hurriedly implemented. Who says New Labour is dead? I think it's John Reid putting a blond wig and a funny voice on, personally.

  38. Trevor Watt

    No drinking on the Tube?

    Man, I will just have to get shit-faced before I get on then.

    Is it dinner time yet, damn it? I am off up the pub to get lashed anyway...

  39. Nìall Tracey

    Wrong headline!

    Big Bozza Bans Boozing on Buses!

  40. Chris


    "(note: actually, I don't agree with the policy as I am a liberterian (look it up if you don't know what it is) "

    Of course we know what the word for someone who tidies up books is.

  41. saltyknob

    @ Rolf Harris

    How exactly does refraining a pissed passenger from imbibing during a 5-30 minute tube journey reduce drunkeness? If BoJo wants to tackle the problem of drunken & abusive passengers he should change the conditions of travel so that inebriated persons can't travel. Back that up with significant Police presence on the Tube at closing time. Said pissed persons will either have to get a cab or walk.

    Surprising as it may seem I'm not some tut-tutting pious git. After a hard day being an alpha male IT geek I occasionally enjoy a pint or seven after work. Unsurprisingly, I'm pissed by the time I hop on the tube home. However, I'm never abusive during my journey. When hungover the next morning I don't vomit and pull the emergency handle either!

    I did vote but not for Bozo!

  42. David Hancock

    If he's into banning things...

    ...could he ban people dealing crack on the top deck of the No. 38?

    Thanks Bozzer. That'd be great. You could even be the one to go up there and tell them to bally well stop it.

  43. Joshua
    Thumb Up

    It's a pride thing

    I don't think we should discount the invincible feeling that comes not just from being under the influence, but letting everyone know you are in that state by proudly displaying your chosen method of intoxication and continuing to imbibe during the journey.

    Whilst I would prefer that all users of public transport were polite, sensible and pleasant, unfortunately there are plenty, especially on buses, who are downright rude and stupid and unpleasant. If taking away the ability to brandish their beer and alcopops improves their behaviour even slightly - or even better, gives the bus driver authority to kick them off - I'm all for it.

    Boris could hardly be worse than Ken either, no matter how crap some of his ideas might be. Rewarding politicians for cronyism and corruption only makes them bolder.

  44. Steve Evans


    "Try tackling the "serious crime" of charging long-suffering passengers three quid to travel 200 yards packed like veal calves en route to a French slaughterhouse"


    1) Get an oyster card...

    2) Look at an A-Z occasionally and learn how to walk from Leicester Square and Piccadilly circus the old fashioned way!

    I've heard of some people who have even gone as far as walking from Leicester Square to Embankment before, but I think that's just crazy talk.

  45. James
    Thumb Down

    Right target, wrong action

    Pissed-up and anti-social sods on public transport is indeed a major problem. Getting some of them arrested and severely punished for it would go far further than criminalising the folks who can drink quietly without causing a problem.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    little difference

    They are usually pissed thoroughly by the time they're on the train/bus and are carrying nothing. The guy who offered to "cut your [ie. my] throat" when I tried to help him was bladdered but had nothing liquid on him.

    The problems are more attitude than alcohol. Get a decent set of transport police actually on the vehicles and especially at night, when most aggro occurs, checking tickets (trouble usually doesn't bother paying) would solve most of it.

  47. Sceptical Bastard

    @Sarah Bee - in defence of Northants

    "Just for the record, I didn't vote for the berk."

    Yeah, but the dipstick still got in. And now you've gone public, he's got your number, sister, and is probably planning a Borisian charm offensive against you and El Reg.

    Oh, and what's with the jibe against Northampton? It's in the jolly ol' shires - good huntin' country, top hole scenery, ancestral home of the Spencers dontcha know?

    Whereas Cleethorpes really *is* the armpit of the British isles.

  48. David Hancock

    And another thing

    Drinking in public (including on public transport) has been banned in Glasgow for a lot longer than the seven years I've lived here. It makes absolutely no difference to the squads of neds getting mad wi' it on the Buckfast, but it does allow the cops to bust posh students on their way to parties.

    So that's all right then.

  49. H

    that's the end of...

    .... the circle line parties.

    @everyone moaning about the £3 for 200 yards quote.

    Please try and make a comparison with other cities' public transport. For example, Berlin:

    Day ticket Zones AB € 6,10

    This covers up to the city boundary. (There is a zone C)


    1 Day Travelcard Zones 1-4 £9.40

    For chrissakes, us Londoners need to drown our sorrows cos we're getting ripped off.

  50. Paul

    What will this achieve?

    You know, this is kinda pointless, you'll still get drinking on public transport, and the ones that are drinking will still mostly be offensive, agressive and generally annoying.

    Thing with making new laws is, anti-social idiots don't care anyway! The definition is kinda implied in the name... All that'll happen is the few people who decide to carry some booze around will get cracked down on and given silly fines, a few coppers and TfL staff will get stabbed or beaten or ridiculed and we'll be back where we started... except we'll have a lot more people in front of the courts and people crying out against the rising figures of alchohol convictions.


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