Washington Metro Gently Suggests Not Riding the Subway Drunk

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Dec. 31 2013 4:57 PM

Washington Metro Gently Suggests Not Riding the Subway Drunk

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Metro hopes none of these people are drunk.

Photo by Friedemann Vogel/Getty Images

It may be New Year’s Eve, but that’s no excuse to ride the subway drunk, according to new warnings from Washington’s Metro system. Last week, two inebriated people took a fall on the subway, following four such incidents over the previous two months. Thus far, no one has died, but several drunk riders have faced significant injuries and hospital time. As Metro spokesperson Dan Stessel told the Washington Post:

"The point here is that there is such a thing as too drunk to be on Metro,” Stessel said. “If you are unable to walk properly, maintain balance and exercise good judgment, you are better off taking a cab or having someone who hasn’t been drinking drive you, for your own safety."
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For barfly urbanites, this admonition presents a conundrum: Subways have long served as a safe alternative to driving after a night of drinking, but if that, too, is dangerous, then what—aside from a wildly expensive cab ride—can ferry revelers home in the wee hours? It seemed, for a time, that private car service Uber might fill the gap, but the company’s ruthlessly supply-and-demand-based pricing can drive fares through the roof. Metro riders could, theoretically, simply drink less, but that seems unlikely. Those city-dwellers who still choose to drink and ride, then, would do well to remember Stessel’s advice: If you do fall, try to stay away from the tracks—or risk “getting hit by a train or getting electrocuted by third-rail power.” That might put a damper on your New Year's celebration.

Mark Joseph Stern is a writer for Slate. He covers science, the law, and LGBTQ issues.