These are the rules of drinking alcohol on public transport

After Diane Abbott is caught drinking on TfL, these are the rules to follow when taking alcohol on trains. [Image: Getty]
After Diane Abbott is caught drinking on TfL, these are the rules to follow when taking alcohol on trains. [Image: Getty]

Labour MP, Diane Abbott, tweeted that she’s “sincerely sorry for drinking on TfL” after she was caught drinking an M&S mojito on a Transport For London overground train.

Drinking alcohol on TfL is banned, but the rules on this differ up and down the country.

Here’s the lowdown on the different public transport drinking policies across the country.


Transport For London has a policy in place that bans passengers for drinking alcohol or carrying open containers of alcohol on public transport.

The alcohol ban came into force in 2008. It includes all of London’s public transport – buses, trams, tubes and Docklands Light Railway.

You can, however, carry closed bottles and cans to and from your destination.

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England and Wales

You can drink and buy alcohol on most trains in England and Wales.

Occasionally, a temporary ban will be put in place. Typically this is when trains are going directly to events like football matches, sporting events or concerts.

You’ll know if your train is impacted by a temporary ban because there will be signs up warning passengers. If there in a ban in place, you won’t be able to buy alcohol on the train, either.

All bus operators have different rules on drinking alcohol on buses, but many ask that you refrain from drinking it. They also ask that you don’t eat smelly food.

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Drinking alcohol is banned on all ScotRail trains between 9pm and 10am every night.

This ban came into action in 2012 in a bid to cut down on anti-social behaviour. The only train exempt from this is the Caledonian sleeper train which travels to and from London.

Like England and Wales, Scottish trains are sometimes subject to temporary bans outside of those times. This is usually during football and rugby matches.

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Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland drinking alcohol is banned on all trains.

Passengers are allowed to take alcohol onto the train, but they’re not allowed to drink it on there. If you’re caught drinking, it’ll result in your alcohol being confiscated.

There is, however, one exception. Alcohol is allowed on the train between Belfast and Dublin.

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