NCTD votes to ban booze on Coaster

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SAN DIEGO — Passengers who ride the Coaster will soon have to refrain from consuming alcohol.

Transit officials voted unanimously Thursday to ban all booze and electronic cigarettes on the train.

During a packed public hearing, the North County Transit District Board of Directors heard from both supporters and opponents of the ban.

“I’m disappointed because good people have to suffer because of what other people do,” said Trudy Clark, long-time coaster rider.

But supporters of the ban felt differently.

“We believe it sends a positive message to our youth and our whole community,” said Leticia Robles of the San Marcos Prevention Coalition. “And like [the NCTD] said, we are in the transportation business, not the entertainment business.”

Transit board members said this isn’t the first time the topic has come up and that placing a ban on certain days, such as for Padres games or during the Del Mar Races, would not work.

“We actually spent a year trying to be creative and it was just too much of a challenge to figure out who was OK. We are still going to be challenged by people who have over consumed alcohol and then get on the train. We will have enforcement deal with that.”

As for the e-cigarette ban, that applies to anything that smokes or produces a vapor.

The ban is expected to take effect Feb. 1.

Passengers have been able to drink alcohol on the train since 1995, when the train was first in service.

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