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Alcohol ban begins on Hamburg public transport

The Local · 1 Sep 2011, 08:44

Published: 01 Sep 2011 08:44 GMT+02:00

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"We want to protect our passengers from being annoyed," said Gisela Becker, spokeswoman for the city's transport authority HVV.

More than 500 security personnel will patrol the buses, trains and platforms checking for people drinking or carrying alcohol in open containers.

People caught will be asked to leave the train or bus and dispose of their drinks.

Becker stressed that the workers would be sensitive – there would be no searches. "Our men won't look deep into customers' pockets for the smallest drop of alcohol," said Becker.

But she added that personnel would be aware of people trying to disguise alcohol in soft drinks bottles. "Security will judge each situation individually and behave accordingly," she said.

Questions have been raised about how easy the ban will be to police, especially on football match days and at weekends near the city's famously licentious Reeperbahn. "That will be difficult," admitted Becker.

Christoph Kreienbaum, spokesman for Hamburger Hochbahn, the company that operates the network, told news magazine Der Spiegel, "In a carriage filled with fans, we won't try to impose the €40 fine on every single one."

They said the authorities would instead rely on passengers gradually getting used to the ban.

The Hamburg ban has re-energized a national movement to ban people from carrying open containers of alcohol in public, although this has failed many times before.

Story continues below…

The German Association of Towns and Municipalities (DStGB) told the Passauer Neue Presse Thursday that Hamburg has set a "good example" that should be followed on city transportation systems throughout Germany.

The Local/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

09:03 September 1, 2011 by MonkeyMania
one month's grace before the €40 fines are levied. That means the ban commences in one month.
09:16 September 1, 2011 by steve_glienicke
Looking forward to see how they make this work, in the same way they enforce the "no smoking" ban on the S and U bahns!
09:55 September 1, 2011 by dcgi
Would be great to bring this to Berlin.
11:26 September 1, 2011 by pepsionice
Whats curious here is that Washington DC has had no container law on it's Metro for years. The Germans might want to come over to the US and see how to successfully run such an operation.
11:51 September 1, 2011 by raandy
steve_glienicke good point ! I will add bars to your list. The ban on drinking is welcomed as I hate stepping in it or sitting in it on the train.

I like to drink a few beers ,but would never feel comfortable holding a bottle of it in my hands on the S or U bans.
12:24 September 1, 2011 by Wobinidan
Sorry, I'm not quite sure what the problem is with public drinking. I don't recall encountering any problems that were caused by people drinking on the tram. Of course, drunk people are a problem, but anyone can be drunk at any time.

Just another case of the easily-offended middle classes trying to impose their will on the mass of people that like things how they are.
14:54 September 1, 2011 by elboertjie
Allow for public drinking, but ban drinking on public (government) transportation.

Allow people to do what they wish in non-government space and allow people to be sovereign over themselves, as long as it does not harm other people.

If we allow governments to take away our sovereignty, we would not be allowed to think for ourselves anymore, let alone act.
16:28 September 1, 2011 by HHayrider
Awesome! I will be in and out of Hamburg by the 27th. I get one more chance! Woohoo!
17:06 September 1, 2011 by vonSchwerin
Do you really need to drink on the U-Bahn? Can't people wait until they get home or to the pub?

I don't mind someone having a beer in public, but it's spills in the U-Bahn or bus that annoy me. They start to smell and don't get cleaned.
17:15 September 1, 2011 by twisted
this is a joke...who is going to in force the rule? Already there are too make "schwartz fahrer," and smoker.in the stations....quit making rules you cannot enforce.
18:22 September 1, 2011 by Jack Kerouac
Finally! There is something being done about those annoying drunks on the U-bahn. They always smell bad, talk to themselves, and try to sell me magazine subscriptions. Has that happened to anyone else here? What's with the magazines? Also, if it is kids drinking during a night out, I don't want to hear them shout at each other and get rowdy. I have very limited patience for that, and it's bad for every passenger to feel uncomfortable taking a public transport. So next time you see a drunk shouting on the U-bahn - tell them to shut up!
18:57 September 1, 2011 by heyheyhey
Drunks need to keep their arses home and away from places where the rest of us must tolerate their pathetic behavior.

People should kick them out the door if they start to run their mouths.

Make the fine much larger and REALLY get their attention. A tiny fine like this one will do little or nothing.

@elboertjie...........public spaces should be for the majority to use and enjoy, not the minority of drunks/addicts. If this causes you to not be allowed to think for yourself then you are seriously lacking brainpower.
19:13 September 1, 2011 by MonkeyMania
What's the threshold here? 5% alcohol content not allowed or less? What if I am drinking an alchopop with very low alcohol? Is it a complete ban on alcohol meaning that even if it contains 1% alcohol it will not be allowed. Also wondering how they are going to figure out whether or not someone has put a good shot of vodka into their O-Saft or Cola?
19:50 September 1, 2011 by Joshen
Quite surprised about this actually. Being from Sweden where it's illegal to drink on buses and trains this was one of the first differences I noticed coming to Germany. Seing people at the s-bahn on their way from work with a beer in hand was something very "german" for me and I really didn't see this coming. Is Hamburg the first to implement this?

I can't speak for all of Germany but here in Berlin it's hardly only alcoholics (reffered to as "drunks") who drink alcohol in the public transport.
21:23 September 1, 2011 by ???Jane
MAN!!!! I left just in time... imagine that, not being able to drink a bier on the U/S bahn? Actually I lived in Munich for 3 years and being an American thought it was great! It's not as if these people are out driving. And I never saw anyone get stupid. In fact, before I left, my husband and I took one last S-bahn ride and guess what??? We drank an Augustiner while riding it just to say we did it once....AND BECAUSE WE COULD!

Really??? With all the rules, why is anyone surprised???
10:11 September 2, 2011 by notatio
It is really interesting to read here that such arrangement creates so much controversial comments. Mineral-water is not prohibited so nobody will die dehydration. So it is about the desire to drink alcohol, not to drink, to "enjoy" the effects of alcohol, that's about it!
22:13 September 2, 2011 by willowsdad
Please, say it ain't so. Something must be done to stop this deplorable "Americanization" of German culture.

Many comments sound like those from a previous social hygiene crusade: "First they came for the smokers..."
23:58 September 2, 2011 by DrGideonPolya
If people want to drink alcohol they should do it behind closed doors and not expose others to their bad example, diminished personal control and potential upset or violence.

A media release by the Australian National Drug Research Institute in 2003 stated that "Tobacco, Alcohol And Illicit Drugs Responsible For Seven Million Preventable Deaths Worldwide" , the breakdown being 4.9 million (tobacco), 1.8 million (alcohol), and 0.2 million (illicit drugs) (2000 figures).

Alcohol kills and particularly so in high alcohol consumption countries like Germany.

In a wider context, 18 million people (most;y non-drinkers) die avoidably each year in Developing countries (minus China) on a Spaceship Earth dominated by rich, racist, First World drinkers. The genocidal, war criminal US Alliance War on Muslims has so far involved violent, rich, drinkers killing 12 million Muslim non-drinkers, the breakdown being 4.6 million (Iraq, 1990-2011), 5.0 million (Afghanistan, 2001-2011) and Somalia (1992-2011).
08:31 September 3, 2011 by hOU
Thank God alcohol kills.
10:45 September 3, 2011 by mshameemahmed
Finally its ban..., I would appreciate, if the Govt. can ban in all U-Bahn & S Bahn all over Germany.
16:04 September 3, 2011 by Charles Dietz
How ridiculous is this?!! Having visited Germany numerous times, I enjoy the opportunity to enjoy a Helles while riding the U/S Bahn and enjoying the beautiful sites, a opportunity that is not permitted in the States. I seen more problems with bums & drunks (without beer in hand) on the U/S Bahn's than people drinking. As a matter of fact, I am looking forward to my visit to Munich in a couple of weeks to enjoy a Augustiner while riding the U/S Bahn.
16:10 September 3, 2011 by willowsdad
Right, yet again, Dr. Polya: the non-drinking Muslims never kill anyone. Happy September 11, in advance.
21:22 September 3, 2011 by MonkeyMania
I'll drink to that.
14:01 September 4, 2011 by Fukushima University Berlin
Guten Tag aus Berlin! Intelligent people don't carry alcohol or soft drink bottles on Uban. They carry something more intellligent-like fresh fruit, or a useful book or an interesting toy/thing/art/musical instrument. Intelligent people don't buy water or soft drink in plastic containers as those containers pollute the Earth. Intelligent people make healthy drinks at home, and carry them in own bottles which get washed at home. Intelligent people create no bottles trash or other tobacco etc trash in the street, and respect others by being responsible for their own health as alcohol harms health. Am I intelligent? Yesterday I dropped my plastic fork on the Uban, so I am embarassed to say I forgot to pack my own cutlery when I went to MJ birthday party in Berlin yesterday. So that was not intelligent of me. But I am trying hard to become environmentally and healthwise intelligent. I'd love to teach intelligence in Berlin through journalism, lecturing at unis/companiies and film making. Schones Tag!
16:32 September 5, 2011 by willowsdad
FU: Intelligent people don't go around judging others because they don't live in the perfect little way they do.
13:35 September 30, 2011 by lilplatinum
FU: I feel like I want to punch you.
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