Pressure is mounting on ScotRail to lift its alcohol ban on trains after a survey found the majority of passengers want the prohibition to end.

A poll of commuters revealed that 56% of passengers want to see an end to the ban, with just 29%in favour of keeping it. Another 15% responded to the December survey that they are unsure.

The survey drops as Joanne Maguire takes over as interim Managing Director of ScotRail following Alex Hynes’ two-year secondment to the UK Government.

'Time to revisit the issue'

The train operator imposed the ban during the first Covid lockdown in 2020 in an attempt to enforce social distancing.

It claimed that drunken passengers would be more likely to ignore health advice on social distancing and the wearing of face coverings. However, The Times revealed that the operator failed to consult police or behavioural experts about its decision.

The ban remained after Covid restrictions were lifted, and travellers still risk action from the British Transport Police (BTP) if they refuse instructions from train staff to keep alcoholic drinks sealed and out of sight.

Previously, passengers could legally drink after 10am and before 9pm and were able to buy beer, wine and spirits on most trains.

The results of the poll, carried out by ScotRail, which were obtained by The Herald through a freedom of information request, also seem to contradict the operator’s stance.

Graham Simpson, the Scottish Conservative transport spokesman, has called on parliament to step in and “revisit the issue”.

New boss

Meanwhile, Joanne Maguire has been appointed interim Managing Director of ScotRail following Alex Hynes’ two-year secondment to the UK Government Department for Transport. The appointment will be effective from Monday, April 15 2024.

Network Rail has also announced that Liam Sumpter has been appointed Managing Director of Network Rail Scotland. He will take up his new post, on secondment for the same two year period as Alex Hynes, on Monday, April 15 2024.

Joanne Maguire, incoming ScotRail Managing Director, said: "I am very proud to take on this new role and grateful for the opportunity to build on the work we have been doing together at ScotRail to deliver a safe, reliable, and green railway for the people of Scotland.

"Everyone at ScotRail continues to work hard to increase passenger numbers, grow revenue, and deliver value for money for the taxpayer. I am looking forward to continuing to play my part in this new role."

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