Colleges, MBTA Officials Warn Marathon Spectators to Be on Best Behavior

In a video, officials warn Boston Marathon attendees that they'll have zero tolerance for public drinking.

Whether people are on the MBTA or walking through Boston trying to get to a spot along the race route during Marathon Monday, officials are warning spectators to be on their best behavior during the 117th annual event—and to leave the alcohol at home.

In a one-minute video posted by the MBTA Transit Police on Thursday, just days before marathon weekend officially kicks off, Transit Police Chief Paul MacMillan said there will be extra patrols on duty during the race, which coincides with a home game at Fenway Park, as hordes of people are expected to pile onto the T to get around the city. According to T officials, overall ridership for Patriots’ Day is about 80 percent of a typical weekday—or roughly one million passenger trips. “The transportation or consumption of alcohol [on the MBTA] is prohibited, and unruly or rowdy behavior won’t be tolerated,” MacMillan said, asking that riders be mindful of children that will likely be present on the buses and trains.

Boston Police issued a similar warning about bystanders putting back drinks while watching the race on Monday, saying there would be a “large police presence along the marathon route,” stretching from the Audubon Circle and continuing through the Back Bay and into the student-populated Allston and Brighton area. “There will be a zero tolerance policy for public drinking, open containers of alcohol and intoxication. Congregating on rooftops, fire escapes and porches is [also] prohibited. Please be respectful to the neighborhood and its residents,” police said in a statement, directed toward the student crowd that is expected to attend.

Colleges have been issuing advanced warnings to students, too, and some school officials say that a combination pf police and some schools, will hold those who get out of line accountable for their actions. “We certainly encourage students to obey the law … there is enforcement and police presence and any violation for open containers or public or underage drinking is expected to be handled by police,” says Boston University spokesman Colin Riley. “We communicate with students about enjoying the marathon and cheering on the runners, but ask them to remember to be respectful.”

Riley says Boston University students are always held accountable for violations of the code of responsibility both on and off campus. He says the school works in conjunction with Brookline and Boston Police, since the campus is situated close to the tail end of the marathon route. “This is a mile-and-a-half out of the finish line, and it’s an important place where runners need that extra boost. Many of them hit the wall and the cheering and support they get from the crowd makes a big difference,” he says of the support students can give to race participants.

Prior to the 2012 Boston Marathon, a stern warning letter was sent to colleges and universities around Boston explicitly telling students to be mindful of their surroundings, and avoid public intoxication. The letter also warned students about an uptick in crime on marathon day, as criminals often target unlocked dorm rooms since no one is around.

Whether or not students paid attention to the advanced warning is unknown at this time, however. Requests for how many arrests were made and citations handed out by officers during last year’s event have not been returned.