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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Booze, booze and more booze

Alcohol on the London Underground

From
midnight tonight, pubs that have applied for a licence can open for 24 hours. British Transport police expressed some concern over this - "Violent crime on the UK's rail network rose by nearly 12% last year, much of it fuelled by alcohol, police say.

"There were 9,748 cases of violent crime on the UK's railways in the year to March - up from 8,727 - while violence rose 14% on the London Underground.....The figure prompted British Transport Police's chief constable Ian Johnston to voice "serious concerns" about the extension of pub licensing hours".

I also made a post a while back on railway pubs and pubs on the platforms of Tube stations like the Hole in the Wall at Sloane Square (which don't actually exist any more).

In October, I also posted about the idea being mooted of banning alchohol on public transport (which would appear bizarrely to include no booze in the buffet cars of National Rail trains too - leaving the Government to back down on this proposal). In a survey carried out at the time: "Half of North Londoners admitted to drinking until they fell down and worryingly, they then went home by Tube. East Londoners were also most likely to go home by Tube, although only drank 2-3 units of alcohol. South Londoners were also light drinkers with 2-3 units but then they would go home in a mini cab. West Londoners drank higher levels of alcohol 5-7 units, but then walked home."

However, only a couple of days ago I saw something on the BBC website about the incidences of drunken staff on the London Underground - an equally worrying thought.

"More and more Tube staff are turning up for work under the influence of drink or drugs, BBC London has learned. London Underground, which has a "zero tolerance" approach to alcohol in the bloodstream, is looking at increasing random testing of employees.

Last year, 1,150 people were tested on the job and eight failed. This year 1,100 were tested and 27 failed
."

However, a counsellor for London Underground staff, Nigel Radcliffe said that he din't think that drink problems were limited to the Tube's employees: "I have been aware that what we are picking up at London Underground reflects what's going on in wider society, particularly within urban areas and with working people".

The BBC reminds us though that "Last year, several Tube workers were sacked after 86 beer cans and an empty cognac bottle were found at Farringdon underground station."

And the liklihood is that a drinks company will be sponsoring any free New Year's Eve travel on the Tube this year as they have in previous years - or perhaps Ken will now look for a different, drier sponsor!!!!


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