New Year's Eve may be known as "amateur night," but the professionals at Muni are also on the clock that evening — and they're giving it up for free.
"We wish all San Francisco residents and visitors a happy and safe New Year," redundantly-titled San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin said in a statement.
"During the celebrations enjoy yourself, but don't drink and drive. Muni will be available for free to get you around the city and back on New Year's Eve," he says.
This is the 16th year in a row that Muni's offered free NYE rides, they say, this year from 8 p.m. on Thursday, December 31, to 5 a.m. on Friday, January 1.
Though last year the transit agency was able to do this with the financial support of Comcast Spotlight and 76, this year, the MTA says, 76 is on their own in bankrolling your free ride.
Here's how it works: Don't tap your Clipper Card, and don't try to give the driver money. Don't buy a Muni Mobile pass, you don't need it. And if you're catching Muni Metro at a station, all fare gates will be set to fare-free, so you can just walk in like you own the place. (Basically, you will be riding like all those people you bitch about the other 364 days of the year.)
Oh, and speaking of Muni Metro, the construction project that closed the system's evening subway service will be suspended on NYE, so you can ride the system as you did in the good old days, underground through downtown.
Other Muni changes for NYE, according to their site:
- Muni Metro service between West Portal and Embarcadero stations will be extended to 4 a.m. and until 2:15 a.m. to 4th and King streets
- Service on the F Market historic streetcar line will be provided by buses after 4 p.m.
- Service on the Cable Cars will be provided by buses after approximately 8 p.m.
- The 5 Fulton, 14 Mission, 22 Fillmore, 24 Divisadero, 38 Geary, 90 and 91 Owl and the L and N Owl bus routes will run Extra Owl service from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.
- There will be extra 1-California service between Drumm Street and Presidio Avenue from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m.
One thing to be aware of if you're taking transit around the city that night is SF's city-sponsored fireworks show from a barge just off the Embarcadero and south of the Ferry Building. The rockets are set to go off at midnight, so the MTA warns that delays in the area are expected from approximately 11 p.m. to 1 a.m.
If you're trying to take transit somewhere Muni doesn't go, other agencies are extending their service hours, too. Caltrain will also be free from 8 p.m. on, and will run four post-midnight trains, departing San Francisco at 12:45 a.m., 1:15 a.m., 1:45 a.m. and 2:15 a.m., or when full.
SamTrans will also be free from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., and will run its "regular non-school day service" on New Year's Eve.
BART won't be free, but as previously reported, will run until 3 a.m. on January 1. Just remember that they're running on a "skip-stop" schedule, during which certain trains will skip either the Embarcadero or Montgomery BART stops.