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A frustrated tipster wrote in with some concerns about the trend of AT&T Park-bound Caltrain riders who seem to want to start the game fun early.

The guy next to me had a baby in one hand and an open can of Tecate in the other. They have no respect to the fact that some of us actually work in the peninsula and live in SF….Even with my headphones I am unable to drone out their screaming and yelling. They basically act like it’s a party train with their open beer bottles and rowdy behavior. They usually stand in the aisles drinking (some have red cups but most have bottles or cans).

Last week was the worst though. The guy next to me had a baby in one hand and an open can of Tecate in the other. He was yelling over people to his friend who was sitting a few rows down. Oh, and in the bike car some kids were literally sitting on the floor with a carton of juice and flasks of liquor.

Which, hey! Did you know that you’re allowed to drink on Caltrain? Now you do. According to Caltrain spokesperson Christine Dunn, “trains have historically had bar cars, and, long ago” (at which moment we space out in some sort of Mad Men fantasy) “even Caltrain had a bar car. It doesn’t any more, but allowing drinking on trains is a tradition, and we haven’t had any problems with it.”

Well, there have been some problems: In 2006, Caltrain had to start banning drinking after 9 PM after “several events involving disruptive behavior by intoxicated passengers.”

Dunn’s advice for our frustrated tipster: “if things are out of hand, go to the train’s conductor. He’s in charge of the train, in the same way that a captain is in charge of his ship. He’s in contact with the transit police, and has the power to eject people from the train.”

Our tipster suggected that conductors knew to make themselves scarce on rough-and-tumble game days, saying “In fact you hardly see them checking tickets when it’s a game day. It’s almost as if they don’t want to deal with it.” Another option, if things get nutty and a conductor’s not to be found, might be to contact Caltrain transit police directly at 1-877-723-7245.

the author

Eve Batey is the editor and publisher of the San Francisco Appeal. She used to be the San Francisco Chronicle's Deputy Managing Editor for Online, and started at the Chronicle as their blogging and interactive editor. Before that, she was a co-founding writer and the lead editor of SFist. She's been in the city since 1997, presently living in the Outer Sunset with her husband, cat, and dog. You can reach Eve at eve@sfappeal.com.

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  • Greg Dewar

    ah the bar cars…awesome. heck you can buy airline liquor bottles at the train station…

    once upon a time there were party cars on Muni streetcar lines…people would hire them and have cocktails or something on the way downtown. they stopped doing ’em when some conductors got tanked on champagne and crashed!

    with some proper procedures in place, I’m convinced that we should bring this back…restore the 74 and put a wet bar in it.

  • Greg Dewar

    ah the bar cars…awesome. heck you can buy airline liquor bottles at the train station…

    once upon a time there were party cars on Muni streetcar lines…people would hire them and have cocktails or something on the way downtown. they stopped doing ’em when some conductors got tanked on champagne and crashed!

    with some proper procedures in place, I’m convinced that we should bring this back…restore the 74 and put a wet bar in it.

  • cedichou
  • cedichou
  • dantsea

    About a year ago when I had the misfortune to travel on the Game Day Idiot Express, the train stopped for longer than usual at the Millbrae station, an announcement over the speakers was a slightly more polite “sit your ass down, stfu or we’ll take this train out of service, love, The Caltrain Police.” It had an immediate sobering effect.

  • dantsea

    About a year ago when I had the misfortune to travel on the Game Day Idiot Express, the train stopped for longer than usual at the Millbrae station, an announcement over the speakers was a slightly more polite “sit your ass down, stfu or we’ll take this train out of service, love, The Caltrain Police.” It had an immediate sobering effect.

  • LibertyHiller

    Caltrain’s policy of “grownups can drink as long as they behave” kept me sane during many years of working in San Mateo. It made the prospect of a half-hour train ride followed by a seemingly interminable wait for a 48 bus back to Mission/Noe somewhat tolerable, and is the only reason why I’m glad BART hasn’t taken over the Peninsula service.

  • LibertyHiller

    Caltrain’s policy of “grownups can drink as long as they behave” kept me sane during many years of working in San Mateo. It made the prospect of a half-hour train ride followed by a seemingly interminable wait for a 48 bus back to Mission/Noe somewhat tolerable, and is the only reason why I’m glad BART hasn’t taken over the Peninsula service.

  • sfresident

    There’s nothing better than hopping on a Friday Caltrain after a long day at work, kicking back in one of their comfortable seats, and popping open a nice cold local microbrew. It’s honestly one of the things that motivates me to take caltrain instead of drive.

    The problem with game day assholes isn’t that they’re drinking in the car. The problem is that they’re assholes.

  • sfresident

    There’s nothing better than hopping on a Friday Caltrain after a long day at work, kicking back in one of their comfortable seats, and popping open a nice cold local microbrew. It’s honestly one of the things that motivates me to take caltrain instead of drive.

    The problem with game day assholes isn’t that they’re drinking in the car. The problem is that they’re assholes.

  • Quinn

    LibHill, that’s sad. SFRes, that’s funny, because it’s true. Glad to learn that I’m allowed to have a drink on the Caltrain, regardless.

  • Quinn

    LibHill, that’s sad. SFRes, that’s funny, because it’s true. Glad to learn that I’m allowed to have a drink on the Caltrain, regardless.

  • DJTennessee

    I hated the goddamned guts out of those Giants fans when I worked in San Mateo and rode the train. Because you know what? They never, ever share any of their booze.

    Did you know that you can also do blow on the Caltrain? You can. Because there is a bathroom.

  • DJTennessee

    I hated the goddamned guts out of those Giants fans when I worked in San Mateo and rode the train. Because you know what? They never, ever share any of their booze.

    Did you know that you can also do blow on the Caltrain? You can. Because there is a bathroom.

  • John Murphy

    I have to deal with this 60ish times a year. And you know what I say? Would you rather they be driving?

    BTW – drinking is not banned after 9 PM, fortunately if you’ve been working late down in Mountain View you can still quaff a Racer 5 IPA on the train on the way home. Drinking is only banned after 9 PM “after an event” – Giants, Sharks, concerts/etc…

  • John Murphy

    I have to deal with this 60ish times a year. And you know what I say? Would you rather they be driving?

    BTW – drinking is not banned after 9 PM, fortunately if you’ve been working late down in Mountain View you can still quaff a Racer 5 IPA on the train on the way home. Drinking is only banned after 9 PM “after an event” – Giants, Sharks, concerts/etc…

  • LibertyHiller

    Quinn, what’s “sad”? That it would take longer to get from Dogpatch to the Mission than from San Mateo to SF? That was the soul-destroying part, as I recall.

  • LibertyHiller

    Quinn, what’s “sad”? That it would take longer to get from Dogpatch to the Mission than from San Mateo to SF? That was the soul-destroying part, as I recall.

  • cv

    Drinking on Caltrain is a longstanding tradition.

    Back in the day, every high-tech firm threw beer busts on Friday afternoons and some people would grab a bottle or two “to go” and hop on the shuttle to their Caltrain station and continue drinking on the train. Once a year, they would arrange for a pizza delivery at a certain stop (TV cameras conveniently rolling).

    Drinking is banned on the late trains departing SF on Friday and Saturday nights, plus some of the special event trains.

  • cv

    Drinking on Caltrain is a longstanding tradition.

    Back in the day, every high-tech firm threw beer busts on Friday afternoons and some people would grab a bottle or two “to go” and hop on the shuttle to their Caltrain station and continue drinking on the train. Once a year, they would arrange for a pizza delivery at a certain stop (TV cameras conveniently rolling).

    Drinking is banned on the late trains departing SF on Friday and Saturday nights, plus some of the special event trains.

  • J. Beaman

    You’re not going to be able to drink on the Caltrain in 10 years because of people like your tipster. Babies. Cry-fucking-babies.

    Fun is often times inconvenient to those not having it.

  • J. Beaman

    You’re not going to be able to drink on the Caltrain in 10 years because of people like your tipster. Babies. Cry-fucking-babies.

    Fun is often times inconvenient to those not having it.

  • Mike

    I don’t drink, but I wouldn’t support a ban on alcohol. I’d rather they take the train and drink than get tanked up at the game and drive home.

    I would support one car being designated a quiet car so those of us commuting home can relax a little. No phones or loud conversations. Capitol Corridor does this. Unfortunately on game days, the trains get pretty packed and there might not be enough people wanting to be quiet.

    Liberty Hill, it is indeed soul-destroying to have the last couple of miles take as long as the first 20 miles on the train. For my Caltrain ride between Mountain View and SF and then to the Castro, I had to allow exactly the same amount of time for the 3 miles from Castro to the train station as the baby bullet takes to go from SF to MV. First you had to allow for no trains to arrive in the Metro for 10 minutes, then you had to allow for a door problem or other slowdown in the tunnel. It’s a sad, sad comment on MUNI.

  • Mike

    I don’t drink, but I wouldn’t support a ban on alcohol. I’d rather they take the train and drink than get tanked up at the game and drive home.

    I would support one car being designated a quiet car so those of us commuting home can relax a little. No phones or loud conversations. Capitol Corridor does this. Unfortunately on game days, the trains get pretty packed and there might not be enough people wanting to be quiet.

    Liberty Hill, it is indeed soul-destroying to have the last couple of miles take as long as the first 20 miles on the train. For my Caltrain ride between Mountain View and SF and then to the Castro, I had to allow exactly the same amount of time for the 3 miles from Castro to the train station as the baby bullet takes to go from SF to MV. First you had to allow for no trains to arrive in the Metro for 10 minutes, then you had to allow for a door problem or other slowdown in the tunnel. It’s a sad, sad comment on MUNI.

  • sfresident

    Caltrain commuting pro-tip: Taking the 38 from 4th and king down to Powell and then onto muni is considerably faster than taking the N or the T. Walking to Powell is also faster. No joke.

  • sfresident

    Caltrain commuting pro-tip: Taking the 38 from 4th and king down to Powell and then onto muni is considerably faster than taking the N or the T. Walking to Powell is also faster. No joke.

  • sfresident

    Whoops, I mean the 30. The Stockton bus from Chinatown.

  • sfresident

    Whoops, I mean the 30. The Stockton bus from Chinatown.

  • cv

    You can also grab the 45-Union from 4th and King. It runs the same route as the 30-Stockton through Chinatown until Washington Square in North Beach.

  • cv

    You can also grab the 45-Union from 4th and King. It runs the same route as the 30-Stockton through Chinatown until Washington Square in North Beach.