New RFTA alcohol policy brewing
The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority is implementing a new alcohol policy on Valentine’s Day that officials think many of its bus passengers will love. On the other hand, the new policy might amount to sweet nothings.RFTA’s new policy will prohibit passengers from carrying an open container of alcohol onto buses. However, once on a bus, passengers will still be able to pop the top on a can of beer or imbibe some other alcoholic drink.”We can’t say ‘Don’t drink on the bus’ because we can’t enforce it,” said Sylvia Cranmer, RFTA’s communications and marketing manager.Colorado law prohibits passengers of vehicles from having an open container of alcohol except people “located in the passenger area of a motor vehicle designed, maintained, or used primarily for the transportation of persons for compensation.”RFTA doesn’t currently have an alcohol policy for passengers: “Feedback from staff indicated that alcohol on buses has increasingly become an issue that needs to be addressed,” Cranmer wrote in a memo.The biggest problem is people entering buses with an open container, she said. Their beverages often spill and make a sticky, stinky mess. It can lead to confrontations with other passengers.So RFTA wants to do something without creating an enforcement nightmare for drivers, or put them in a dangerous situation. When drivers see someone getting on a bus with a drink, they will deny entry until that person throws away or dumps out the drink.As any bus rider knows, people usually try to get on buses with drinks after big events such as concerts in Snowmass Village, the X Games or special occurrences like fireworks. And while Aspen has a law prohibiting open containers, enforcement is not always possible among crowds waiting to board a bus.Cranmer said the new policy has nothing to do with the X Games. The agency intentionally waited to implement the change until after the games, and selected Valentine’s Day for no particular reason, she said.RFTA Chief Executive Officer Dan Blankenship said he is hopeful the new policy will reduce alcohol-related incidents. The bus agency doesn’t want to penalize the person who wants to enjoy a “cool one” after a long day in the office, Blankenship said. It is targeting people who have been partying and want to enter a bus with open booze.”The majority of people that cause problems are already three sheets to the wind when they get on the bus,” Blankenship said.By taking a drink out of their hands upon entry, RFTA hopes to take the wind out of their sails.
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