The authority first agreed to consider a halt to alcohol sales on commuter trains and in rail stations in December, at the urging of Mitchell H. Pally, a board member from Long Island. Mr. Pally said he was concerned that passengers would drink on the train and then drive home, creating a liability for the authority if they became involved in an accident. He also said he worried that rowdy drinkers might be disturbing other passengers….
But data provided by the authority's Police Department does not indicate widespread problems stemming from the sale of alcohol by the railroads.
The police issued 287 tickets on the Long Island and Metro-North lines last year to people on trains or in stations who were drinking alcohol and creating a disturbance. Far more prevalent, the police said, were instances of people on commuter lines who needed medical help because of extreme drunkenness. There were 994 such cases on the two railroads last year, but officials said that in virtually every case, the riders appeared to have done most or all of their drinking before they ever got on a train.