From free Muni and Caltrain rides to discounted cabs, here's how to traverse our slice of Northern California during the last New Year's Eve of this decade.
As the Examiner reported earlier, dotting around the seven-by-seven — especially after the evening's city-sponsored fireworks show at midnight — is no light matter, with the SFMTA warning of heavy delays from 11 p.m to 1 a.m.. (Yes: The traffic will be maddening.) But don't fret nor pull your hair out, there's still hope you'll get to your dwellings in a timely, frugal manner to and from your inaugural 2020 celebration.
HeadsUp: #RideMuniFree on #NYE starting tomorrow at 8pm until 5am on 1/1. Extra #MuniMetro svc btwn WP & @Caltrain, 9pm to 2:15am & btwn WP & Embarcadero, 2:15 to 5am. Extra Owl svc, 9pm to 5am. Don't tag your #ClipperCard during the complimentary period. https://t.co/fIhbjdEXkg— SFMTA (@sfmta_muni) December 30, 2019
Penny-pinching riders, rejoice! All Muni rides are free New Year’s Eve from 8 p.m. until 5 a.m., and on New Year's Day, they’re doubling-down on the amount of late-night Owl services for the following routes:
- 25-Treasure Island
- 48-Quintara-24th, 90-Owl
- 91-Owl, L-Owl
- N-Owl routes
These on-the-house Muni rides (that include all routes) were made possible by a generous sponsorship from the gas station chain, 76.
Like Muni, riders can hop on Caltrain New Year’s Eve starting at 8 p.m., free of charge. The final southbound train leaves SF at 2 a.m., the agency will also add two additional northbound service trains that'll operate prior to the SF firework show. For New Year’s Day, expect reduced-services, as Caltrain will adopt its Sunday schedule.
Also, partygoers: Consider before packing up your liquors that Caltrain doesn't allow alcohol on board past 9 p.m., so transport your adult beverages accordingly.
It appears that BART wasn't on the receiving end of that hefty sponsorship; all BART services will still require payment to ride. Though, because of the late-night revelries, the rapid transit organization will shuttle rides to and from destinations up until 3 a.m., with Rodriquez noting that they'll employ some changes to quicken things up a bit after 8 p.m., possibly confusing regular riders.
BART says that after 8 p.m., both the Antioch and Richmond line trains will not stop at Embarcadero Station, meaning riders who want to see the SF Bay pyrotechnics should ideally exit the Montgomery Street BART station. Conversely, the Dublin/Pleasanton and Warm Spring line trains won't stop at the Montgomery station past 8 p.m..
However, lines from Millbrae, Daly City, and SFO will stop at all San Francisco stations, and according to BART.
Those traveling back from SF to West Oakland, plan respectively; both the Dubin/Pleasanton and Warm Spring line trains won't stop there. Those who need to go back to West Oakland should exit the Lake Merritt Station, then transfer to an SF-bound train at Lake Merritt to head back to West Oakland, per BART.
DoTheBay announced that GJEL will instate their "Drink and Alive Free Cab" program for New Year’s Eve, making sure Bay Area locals get home in one piece — and don't get behind the wheel intoxicated. You need to pre-register for the program, taking a cab or ride service to the home address you provided between 5 p.m. on New Year's Eve and 11 a.m. on New Year's Day. The law practice will reimburse those registered up to $20 for a ride, as long as you can present them with a receipt (read: email or screenshot).
Bay Area Ferries
Yeah, you can just forget about taking the San Francisco Ferry New Year’s Eve — but the vessel will, in fact, run on its normal operating schedule, come New Year’s Day.
But! The Golden Gate Ferry will continue their Regional and Local Marin bus transit routes on a reduced service schedule, the Larkspur Ferry also operating under specific conditions. The Sausalito and Tiburon Ferry, though, is closed for the day.
AAA 'Tipsy Tow'
AAA is once again here to lend a sobering olive branch to your NYE party plans. The Northern California leg of the company will offer free tows and rides (up to ten miles) as part of their "Tipsy Tow" program for both members and non-members alike, starting at 6 p.m. New Year’s Eve and ending 6 a.m. New Year’s Day. You can call a service provider at 1-800-AAA-HELP to schedule your sober, free ride home during that mentioned time block. You can find more info on the program itself, here.
While cars idly burn fossil fuels, backed up in downtown traffic, those who opt to hop on a scooter could blow past them (safely) in the suitable bike lane. Spin, Lime, and Uber-owned Jump just put over 750 new e-scooters on the streets, predominantly near the following neighborhoods:
- Mission District
- The Castro
- Western Addition
- Bayview Hunters Point
- Outer Mission
- Areas outside San Francisco State University
And, for Ford Motor Company-owned Spin and Lime specifically, you can now pay for your ride with cash, purchased at local mainstays like 7-Elevens and CVS Pharmacy locations.
A word to the wise: Operating a scooter while under the influence still constitutes as a DUI — so, if you’re not feeling yourself, still opt for public transportation or a taxi home.
The San Mateo County public transit organization will be free to ride from New Year’s Day starting at 8 p.m., all the way up to 5 a.m. on New Year's Day. SamTrans will run on a Sunday service schedule, which you can view here.
Image: Flickr via Photographing Travis