• Germany's news in English

Should trains become booze-free zones?

The Local · 28 Nov 2012, 10:41

Published: 28 Nov 2012 10:41 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

A survey commissioned by Die Zeit weekly newspaper this week showed that 80 percent of those asked would like to see alcohol restricted on trains. Forty-one percent said they wanted to see trains made completely alcohol-free, while 42 percent would be in favour of limiting it to the restaurant car. Only 14 percent said they did not want to see any restrictions.

A third of those questioned said they had been harassed by drunken fellow passengers. When asked what the best way to deal with people who broke any new rules, 59 percent said they thought a fine would be the best punishment, while 45 percent said those breaking a booze ban should be thrown off the train. A further 13 percent said a spoken warning would be best.

Currently there are no rules on drinking alcohol on trains in Germany, although over the last couple of years Munich and Hamburg have banned boozing on their metro systems. Some cities have also made efforts to make their train stations no-drinking zones.

What do you think? Should football fans be permitted to drink on the train to and from a match - is an after-work beer during the commute home the same kind of thing?

Would restrictions on booze be a small step in reducing the general social acceptance of drinking? Is that a desirable aim? And how could a ban aimed at reducing the aggression of drunks on the trains even be implemented by the sparse train personnel? Have your say.

Story continues below…

Registered users of The Local may add their comments in the field below. If you haven’t signed up yet, you can do so here – it’s free and only takes a moment.

The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

11:26 November 28, 2012 by DOZ
Ban alcohol. It leads to Pot use:)
11:28 November 28, 2012 by Edin
When I first came to GER I didn¦#39;t have a car for a year or so and primarily used trains. I had 2 unpleasant experiences after which I decided to by a car and avoid trains.

1. I was travelling for a field day to München with my family and at the very day, there was an important football game of Bayern M. Train was full of drunk people who behaved least to say inappropriate. I didn't know how to explain my kid such a behavior, awful.

2. Normal Friday night, traveled to Airport using regional bahn. Also full of drunk and stupid people... I was literally scared for my family as I saw some of them, being totally wasted.

12:52 November 28, 2012 by yourkeau
1. Drunk people get drunk BEFORE boarding the train, so booze ban will change nothing.

2. While I don't like drunk companies myself, I do occasionally have drink on the train without disturbing other passengers. So, could anybody explain why I should suffer from this stupid drinking ban?

3. ICE trains have silent cars, which is a great idea. Why not introduce such silent cars in regional trains? Problem will be solved.

4. Because drinking in public is one of the few freedoms remained in Germany in comparison with other countries.

5. I lived in a country with drinking ban and there still were loads of drunk people on the train (see no. 1), no difference from Germany.
13:30 November 28, 2012 by LancashireLad
Hi yorkeau,

I'm mostly in agreement with you there.

Point 1 agree - although they will quite often carry on on the train, often with crate of beer they have brought themselves.

Point 2 fully agree.

Point 3. Germans obey the signs they want to. Every time I am in a "quiet" carriage, someone is on his/her mobile .. and ironically they are often quieter than some of the fellow passengers just talking. These are people who are sober. When drunk, most people probably couldn't spell "quiet".

Point 4. Hmmm Jury's still out on that one as far as I am concerned.

Point 5. I have nothing to compare with.

My suggestion would be to ban alcohol on all trains where it isn't sold, and only allow consumption of alcohol bought in the train. Sadly, as you say, most people will get drunk first.
14:09 November 28, 2012 by yllusion
If people don't want to ban alcohol in trains, at least more safety guarantees should be given to the passengers by having more authority and/or more surveillance watching groups of drunken people.
14:18 November 28, 2012 by rmarquina
As in the streets, same rules should be applied to the trains.

Let the people drink, but control those who are disturbing others

PS. Let us have a beer on the U-Bahn before reaching the party again please!
14:29 November 28, 2012 by Lawdog20636
DOZ- Your statement that drinking leads to smoking pot is idiotic and lacks merit. I am 41 and enjoy drinking beer. I have never smoked pot are a cigarette for that matter.

I agree that most people get on the train are intoxicated prior to getting on.

Restricting the consumption of alcohol will only affect the everyday person that is not being disruptive.

Most importantly, where do the restrictions stop? Once the government imposes restrictions the government¦#39;s power grows and the citizen¦#39;s freedoms are slowly taken away one at a time.
14:51 November 28, 2012 by raandy
Lawdog20636 I think DOZ was making a joke, but congratulations on your abstinence, I would much rather ride the train with pot heads than drunks.
14:53 November 28, 2012 by Lawdog20636
raandy- So drinking a beer makes you a drunk?????
15:01 November 28, 2012 by raandy
All I can say to that is "if the shoe fits wear it"
15:26 November 28, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles

I think DOZ was being sarcastic.

Yes, I agree. Ban alcohol on trains. I am sick and tired of walking on sticky floors because drunks spill more beer than they put in their mouths. Also the amount of broken bottles in Berlin on a weekend night is beyond a joke.
15:55 November 28, 2012 by TonyMey
I very much enjoy a bier or two and like taking the train on long distance trips but I¦#39;ve also been on trains where a group will come on with a case of bier and just have a big party without any regards to anyone around them.

I feel that it should be better controlled and/or restricted to the Restaurant/Snack car on long distance (IC) trains only. It should be completely ban on short city trains, S-bahn and str Bahn. Why should everyone else have to put up with a bunch of people drinking, singing and acting like idiots?

Otherwise,, party on..............
18:36 November 28, 2012 by Englishted
I would rather be on a train with potheads and drunks than somebody who can't understand a joke when they read one .
12:47 November 29, 2012 by grinners
Ahhh, the age old debate of public drinking.

Ban alcohol (booze) on trains: Yes or No.


Why: banning things doesn't do anything to kurb its usage.

As many have pointed out, the reason we are discussing this, is that people are load, rude and aggressive when drunk.

Solution: Ban drinking on trains (a closed environment where people don't have the opportunity to walk away from the problem).

Will this work, no.

Why: because people can still jump on trains/trams totally smashed and travel somewhere (usually home after the party or event).

In a country where more beer is consumed than water in many third world countries (per capita) it's a simple solution that unfortunatly won't be effective.
14:07 November 29, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
Ban eating on trains too. I am also tired of walking on discarded kebabs and pizza slices. However smoking the whacky tobacco should be allowed as that would make for a much more chilled out journey. The passive smoke would also placate the aggressive drunk passengers.
16:47 November 30, 2012 by skaloc
While I would enjoy a long trip from Italy with a big jar of wine between friends, I think allowing it in the restaurant car only is best. However, renting the extra streetcar during fasching or Oktoberfest should still be allowed ..... lots of fun in Munchen getting off at certain pubs and then getting back on the strassenbahn ....
22:14 November 30, 2012 by scottfree
yorkeau is absolutely on target. I agree with all the points.

One of the things I enjoy the most about Germany is it is (mostly) NOT a nanny state. Drink in public, just don't be a jerk. Ban being loud. That is really the problem, not the alcohol. The alcohol only makes it easier to be a jerk.
00:39 December 1, 2012 by glenhope
Comment: >>One of the things I enjoy the most about Germany is it is (mostly) NOT a nanny state. >>

Absolutely and people behave responsibly in public because of it. Take a look at nanny states - the problem is worse there because the loony fringe is always trying to bend the rules and there are not enough enforcers due to budget cuts.

I've been regularly connected with Germany (residence, visits) for almost 50 years and I can't recall any instances of loutish drunks on trains. The few groups of drunks I have encountered in public were generally subdued.

Bans are easy to put in place. Enforcement is not and there could be unintended consequences like pitched battles between gangs of drunks and gangs of police at 250km/hr. German trains are beautiful, clean, tidy, a credit to the nation. We don't want them wrecked.

Why not compromise and only sell low alcohol beer?
05:53 December 4, 2012 by Drewsky
I think that it's OK to sell beer/ wine on inter-city trains because it costs a bit more and there's some control as to who buys it and how much. As for U-bahns and such, it should not be allowed on board. Germany is very 'loose' on open containers on the streets, which causes more annoyance than problems. However, in a confined space like a U-bahn, drunks can be problematic and sometimes dangerous.
11:03 December 4, 2012 by Lamit590
In my opinion, trains shouldn't be booze-free zones. If there are rules which restrict drinking alcohol, most of the people who drink alcohol on trains wouldn't follow the rules. The drunk people who disturb the other passengers on the train aren't interested in such restrictions. I think, we should clarify the disadvantages of drinking alcohol to society. This should be the role and responsibility of the parents, not the politicians!!
20:30 December 7, 2012 by pjnt
Should trains be booze free?

04:04 December 11, 2012 by doufree
Yes ban drinking.

Even if someone already is drunk when they get on the train, letting them drink more will only make it worse. If you cannot handle an hour or two without a drink, you've got some serious thinking to do.
00:46 December 16, 2012 by Supermog
doufree, I totally agree with you. And the same applies on any form of public transport.
Today's headlines
Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German town, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd