By Marcus Leach
Around nine out of ten Londoners say they back the alcohol ban on public transport in the capital, introduced by the Mayor Boris Johnson as one of his very first acts on taking office three years ago.
The ban has improved the experience of travel in London and helped to contribute to a fall in the number of assaults on tube staff over the last three years.
The number of assaults fell by 15 per cent between the introduction of the ban in 2008 and 2011. British Transport Police say they have welcomed the ban, which they believe Londoners are generally abiding by.
Research carried out by the Greater London Authority found that 87 per cent of Londoners polled support the ban. A survey of 1,000 Londoners carried out for the Greater London Authority found that almost nine out of ten asked said they supported the ban with 77 per cent saying they strongly supported it and another 10 per cent tending to support it. Just five per cent of those asked opposed the ban.
The findings tally with research previously carried out by Transport for London on the ban and add weight to the Mayor’s conviction that the ban would win the support of Londoners wanting to improve their experience of travelling on public transport in the capital.
“A world class city deserves a first class transport network. We are presiding over an unprecedented investment in our network that will deliver huge improvements in capacity and reliability. We also want travel to be safer and more enjoyable. Despite early protestations the booze ban has been a major help and I am glad it is now rightly appreciated by the vast majority of Londoners,” The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said.
The Mayor made a manifesto commitment to ban alcohol from Transport for London’s Tube, bus, Docklands Light Railway, Tram services and stations in the capital. It was the first of many actions taken to reduce crime, fear of crime and anti social behaviour on and around public transport in London.
Chief Superintendent Mark Newton, London Underground Area Commander of British Transport Police (BTP), said: “BTP officers have found that the majority of Londoners are very willing to comply with the ban. In nearly all cases passengers who are challenged by police for drinking will simply discard their alcohol or drink it outside the station.”
Since his election the Mayor has increased investment in transport safety to deliver Safer Transport Teams in all London Boroughs, provide 400 more MPS officers to help staff 32 hub teams at strategic locations, double the number of cab enforcement officers in London, create a cycle task force of 32 officers and provide 50 more British Transport Police officers.
There has also been a downward trend in crime on public transport since the Mayor took office. In the last year crime across public transport fell by 4 per cent. Bus-related crime was cut by 2.4 per cent and offences on the Underground dropped by 6.7 per cent.
Steve Burton, Director of Community Safety, Enforcement and Policing at TfL, said: “These research results demonstrate the overwhelming public support for the alcohol ban which helps to provide a safer and more pleasant environment for our customers. Passenger safety and security is our top priority and through working with our policing partners we will continue to ensure that crime and anti-social behaviour is kept off the network, and the alcohol ban is a key tool in helping us achieve this.”