SCOTRAIL’S ban on alcohol on its trains is under review but will remain in place for the foreseeable future, the Transport Minister has said.

Fiona Hyslop acknowledged the ban – which was brought in during the Covid pandemic as a “temporary measure” – was controversial, but said she had not yet received the advice she needed to form an opinion on it.

Speaking at an event in Glasgow’s Queen Street station marking a six-month trial of scrapping peak-time fares, the Transport Minister told journalists: “I know there's different views on that issue [the alcohol ban].

“It's quite a controversial issue, and there are a wide range of views held even amongst the staff members who work on the railways. I think their voice is going to be really important.

“We also have to balance that against people who have concerns about anti-social behaviour.

“I've said that I want to look at that. I'll be taking advice, and I will also want to listen to all the different voices before, as a relatively new Transport Minister, I take a position.”

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Asked how long that might take, Hyslop said: “Well, I've yet to receive that advice or have those meetings on those subjects with the relevant unions, which is very important as part of any decision.”

Asked if the ban is therefore set to remain in place for the foreseeable future, Hyslop said: “Yes, it is.”

Alex Hynes, ScotRail’s managing director, said the ban was a question for Scottish Ministers.

He said: “If you recall, the alcohol ban was introduced as part of our Covid measures, and it's something we keep under review all of the time, but ultimately, whether the alcohol ban stays, or is reversed in some way, that's a matter for the Scottish Government.”

The ban on drinking alcohol in Scottish train stations and on rail services came into effect in November 2020. Visibly carrying alcohol, whether open or not, was also banned.

At the time, ScotRail said they were temporary measures brought in “to support the public health measures put in place by the Scottish Government to tackle coronavirus”.

There have been calls to lift the ban, including from the Scottish Conservatives who labelled it “draconian”.

Hyslop took on the Transport Minister role in June following the resignation of Kevin Stewart.