Exuberant Giants Fans Party Home On Alcohol-Friendly Caltrain

SAN JOSE (KCBS) – A Caltrain ride home from AT&T Park after a Giants game means sharing the train car with exuberant baseball fans who sometimes keep the party going long after they’ve departed the ballpark.

Authorities were called to 64 incidents that involved rowdy behavior, thefts and occasionally violence on Caltrain trains and platforms in the hours immediate after the 137 home games during the 2010 baseball season.

Caltrain spokesman Christine Dunne said just a handful of those situations, 13 in all, resulted in arrests.

“That’s a pretty good record,” she said.

Dunne noted the post-game Giants trains are among Caltrain’s most popular runs outside of the daily commute.

Riders like Neil Kennedy agreed that riding Caltrain after a Giants victory can be downright relaxing, even if the other passengers in the car are not exactly tranquil.  Caltrain allows eating and drinking on board, including alcoholic beverages.

“It’s a nice atmosphere. Everyone’s usually pretty happy about the win,” he said.

KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:

The consequences of unruly train riding behavior pale next to the recent violence at Candlestick Park or the beating outside Dodger Stadium. This year between April and July, there have been 18 reports of rowdy behavior on Caltrain in the two hours following a Giants home game.

Caltrain deploys as many as six police officers to ride trains into San Francisco on game days, but those officers do not ride the often crowded trains headed back down the Peninsula afterwards.

“Just because they’re not on the trains doesn’t mean that they’re not involved,” Dunne said.

Officers screen passengers at the train platforms to weed out potentially disruptive drunks. Public drunkenness and drinking on the platform are still illegal.

Dunne said the alcohol-on-board policy is a tradition Caltrain inherited from a bygone era when food and beverages were typically sold on rail cars.

Caltrain does not allow alcohol consumption on its trains after 9 p.m. when there is a Giants home game.

Andy Chow with the transit advocacy group Bay Rail Alliance connected the few baseball-related problems on Caltrain to the size of the crowd. His organization has lobbied to preserve service at a time when budget problems have cut the number of trains.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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