An eastbound BART train departs San Francisco's 24th Street/Mission station. KQED/Dan Brekke.

It’s New Year’s Eve and Bay Area transit agencies, a San Francisco cab company, and AAA are all offering special service for party-goers tonight. (See the full list of links below for transit agencies offering free or extended service.) In San Francisco, Muni will be free after 8 p.m. Ed Reiskin, chief of the Municipal Transportation Agency, says the city gives up a little farebox revenue for a big safety payoff.

“We want to make sure that people can get around safely and we want to encourage people not to get behind the wheel if they’ve been drinking,” Reiskin says.

For Peninsula and South Bay revelers, Santa Clara Valley light rail and bus service will be free from 7 p.m. through 2 a.m. CalTrain will be free after 11 p.m. and will also run four extra trains out of San Francisco after midnight. Trains will leave at 12:45 a.m., 1:15 a.m., 1:45 a.m. and 2:15 a.m. or when full. SamTrans will offer free bus rides after 11 p.m.

In downtown Oakland, AC Transit will run its “Free B” shuttle service from 7 p.m. through 1 a.m.

BART will not be free tonight, but it will run extra trains into and out of San Francisco and stay open until 3 a.m. New Year’s morning. The extra train service will accommodate people attending the New Year’s Eve fireworks on San Francisco’s Embarcadero–but take note that not all trains will make all stops. The details:

Before the fireworks: Trains arriving from Pittsburg/Bay Point and Richmond after 8 p.m. will skip the Embarcadero station and make their first San Francisco stop at Montgomery Street. Trains arriving on the Fremont and Dublin/Pleasanton lines will stop at Embarcadero but skip Montgomery Street. All East Bay-bound trains will make all stops.

After the fireworks: After midnight, eastbound Richmond and Pittsburg/Bay Point trains will take on passengers at Montgomery Street, but skip the Embarcadero stations. Trains to Fremont and Dublin/Pleasanton will take on passengers at Embarcadero, but skip Montgomery Street. All Millbrae and Daly City trains will make all stops.

(Translation: If you’re taking the Richmond or Pittsburg/Bay Point lines, your last chance to get on a train is at Montgomery Street; if you’re headed to Fremont or Dublin/Pleasanton, you can board at Embarcadero but not Montgomery.)

Another free-ride option for San Francisco celebrants: Luxor Cab is offering free rides within the city limits for fares of $35 and less. There is a catch: Riders need to mention Berg Injury Lawyers, which is sponsoring the free cab rides in partnership with the taxi company. Luxor cabs can be called at (415) 282-4141.

And if you’ve driven and then had too much to drink, AAA’s Tipsy Tow program gives free 10-mile tows to anyone who calls. Here are the instructions:

“…Drivers, potential passengers, party hosts, bartenders, and restaurant managers can call 800-222-4357 (AAA-HELP) for a free tow home of up to ten miles. Just tell the AAA operator, “I need a Tipsy Tow,” and a truck will be on its way. The service will provide a one-way ride for the driver and vehicle to the driver’s home. If there are additional passengers who need a ride, they will be taken to the driver’s home as long is there is sufficient room for them to be transported safely in the tow truck. You cannot make a reservation.”

Transit agencies with free or extended New Year’s Eve service:
AC Transit Free B
San Francisco Muni
Santa Clara Valley Transit

Other free New Year’s Eve transportation options:
AAA’s Tipsy Tow
Luxor Cab

Other agencies: Golden Gate Transit buses and ferries: No free or extended service.

New Year’s Eve: Free Buses, Trains, Cabs, and Tows–and Extended BART Service 31 December,2012Dan Brekke


Dan Brekke

Dan Brekke is a blogger, reporter and editor for KQED News, responsible for online breaking news coverage of topics ranging from California water issues to the Bay Area’s transportation challenges. In a newsroom career that began in Chicago in 1972, Dan has worked as a city and foreign/national editor for The San Francisco Examiner, editor at Wired News, deputy editor at Wired magazine, managing editor at TechTV as well as for several Web startups.

Since joining KQED in 2007, Dan has reported, edited and produced both radio and online features and breaking news pieces. He has shared in two Society of Professional Journalists Norcal Excellence in Journalism awards — for his 2012 reporting on a KQED Science series on water and power in California, and in 2014, for KQED’s comprehensive reporting on the south Napa earthquake.

In addition to his 44 years of on-the-job education, Dan is a lifelong student of history and is still pursuing an undergraduate degree.

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