NJ: SantaCon participants will get a lump of coal if they drink on trains, buses, officials say

Dec. 8, 2023
Revealers taking mass transit to New York’s SantaCon this weekend or Hoboken’s SantaCon on Dec. 16 will land on the naughty list if they drink alcohol on NJ Transit or MTA trains and buses, officials said.

Revealers taking mass transit to New York’s SantaCon this weekend or Hoboken’s SantaCon on Dec. 16 will land on the naughty list if they drink alcohol on NJ Transit or MTA trains and buses, officials said.

Both transit systems announced an adult beverage ban in advance of the annual Santa-themed charity bar crawls.

NJ Transit is banning drinking of all beverages, including non-alcoholic drinks, on its light rail and commuter rail trains this Saturday and again on Dec. 16. Officials said all beverages are already barred on buses every day.

NJ Transit officials said passengers can Text NJ Transit police to NJTPD (65873) or phone CALL 1-888-TIPS-NJT (1-888-847-7658).

New York’s MTA is going a step further this weekend, with a 32-hour ban starting at 4 a.m. Saturday and running to noon on Sunday.

MTA officials warned SantaCon participants that the MTA Police Department will have an increased presence at Penn Station, Grand Central Madison and Grand Central Terminal to enforce the alcohol ban. Violators face alcoholic beverage confiscation, summons and possible removal from train or stations by police.

The New York SantaCon event, which raises money for charity by selling tickets to participating bars tries to be self policing, according to the official NYC SantaCon website. The website has a long list of rules addressing overconsumption, fighting and cooperating with police and bar staff.

Social media is rife with videos of drunken costumed Santas brawling and doing worse during past SantaCons. Even comedian John Oliver weighed in during a 2019 show about the behavior of Bad Santas and opined that maybe it was time for SantaCon to end.

Last year, Hoboken police reported the city experienced a calmer SantaCon than in past years.

There were 300 calls for service, 39 ambulance runs, eight city ordinance summonses issued and four arrests in a 16-hour period in Hoboken, local officials said. However, the statistics included the entire city and not all the calls and arrests were related to SantaCon.

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Larry Higgs may be reached at [email protected].

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