New Year's Eve is almost here. If you don't already have plans, it's time to make some. Instead of driving on NYE, one of the safest things you can do is to let somebody else do the work for you. Uber and Lyft are popular rideshare options, but surcharges can be through the roof. So, here's how to
get free rides on New Year's Eve 2018 wherever you are celebrating.
Whether you are braving the giant block party to usher in the new year in Times Square or keeping it low-key and heading to your BFF's place, it's probably best to make your transportation plans in advance. At least that's what I'm going to do. Since lots of people are out and about on New Year's Eve, it can become costly to take a taxi or pay for a rideshare service. To save yourself from spending a small fortune on your way to and fro (or both), I am going to suggest that you to explore some of the free transit options that might be available in your area.
Not sure how to get a free ride? I'm here to help. Check out these different options that will help get you where you want to be for New Year's without breaking the bank.
Most cities (big and small) have a public bus system that you can take, and these cities are offering free bus rides during certain hours on New Year's Eve — Monday, Dec. 31 — and into New Year's Day, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019:
Austin, Texas — Capital Metro's MetroBus rides will be free from 5 p.m. CT on NYE until the end of service, per the Metro website. Chicago, Illinois — CTA bus rides will be free from 10 p.m. CT on Monday, Dec. 31 through 4 a.m. CT on Tuesday, Jan. 1, according to the CTA. Los Angeles, California — Free Metro Bus rides will be available from 9 p.m. PT on NYE through 2 a.m. PT on New Year's Day, per The Source, an LA Metro blog. Milwaukee, Wisconsin — The Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTA) will offer free rides on all bus routes from 8 p.m. on Dec. 31 through the end of regular service, per the MCTA website. Minneapolis, Minnesota — Metro Transit will provide free public bus rides from 6 p.m. CT on Dec. 31 through 3 a.m. CT on Jan. 1, according to the Metro Transit website. Quad Cities region in Illinois and Iowa — Thanks to Miller Lite Free Rides (which is also responsible for the Chicago, Milwaukee, and Twin Cities free bus rides), NYE partiers in Davenport, Iowa and Rock Island and Moline in Illinois can enjoy free bus rides from 9 p.m. CT on NYE through 3 a.m. CT On New Year's Day, per the Metro website.
If you don't see your city listed here, you can check with your local transit authority to find out if bus rides will be free in your area on New Year's Eve 2018.
Free Subway & Metro Rides
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Many major cities have some sort of rail service like a subway, light rail, or metro system. Thankfully, these major cities will be nixing ride fares in honor of New Year's on Dec. 31:
Austin, Texas — Capital Metro's MetroRail and MetroRapid rides will be free from 5 p.m. CT on NYE with extended service until 2:30 a.m. CT on Jan. 1, per the Metro website. Chicago, Illinois — all CTA train routes will be free from 10 p.m. CT on Monday, Dec. 31 through 4 a.m. CT on Tuesday, Jan. 1, according to the CTA. Los Angeles, California — With 24-hour Metro service on NYE, Angelenos can take advantage of free Metro Rail rides from 9 p.m. PT on Dec. 31 through 2 a.m. PT on New Year's Day, per The Source. Minneapolis, Minnesota — Metro Transit will provide free train rides from 6 p.m. CT on Dec. 31 through 3 a.m. CT on Jan. 1, according to the Metro Transit website.
Whatever it's called where you live, it's worth checking to see if ticket costs will be waived on New Year's Eve. Many other cities are also offering free subway rides. Take a look at the transit website in your city to learn more about possibly riding for free on New Year's Eve.
Maja Hitij/Getty Images News/Getty Images Detroit, Michigan — If you plan to celebrate the New Year in Detroit, then listen up. You can score a free ride thanks to a Michigan-based law firm. The Christensen Law Firm will pay for your New Year's Eve ride thanks to the company's Safe Ride Home program, according to the Detroit Free Press. There's a catch, though. You'll have to pay for your ride upfront. Hang on to your receipt, because you will need to submit it to the law firm no later than midnight on Friday, Jan. 4. The maximum reimbursement is $35 per person. Providence, Rhode Island — The "Safe Night" program is in its fifth year in Providence, and you can call a dedicated number that will get you a free ride from 8 p.m. ET on Monday Dec. 31 through 7 a.m. ET on New Year's Day, thanks to the off-duty firefighters with Providence Fire Fighters IAFF Local 799, per WPRI 12. If you use the service, make sure you call the dedicated number for the free rides: (401) 272-7999. Do not dial 9-1-1 for your NYE ride needs. Emma McIntyre/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Lyft is teaming up with local teams and partners across the country to offer
discounted rides to people traveling for New Year's Eve. These locations will save you cash on your NYE ride: Texas — Lyft is partnering with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage commission and others by offering a $5 off code to any ride taken between 8 a.m. on Dec. 31 through 4 a.m. on Jan. 4. The offer code is "NYEPLAN18" or you can visit the Lyft website to claim your code (as long as you live in Texas). Chicago — Lyft is offering a similar promotion in conjunction with Jack Daniels. The ride share service is offering 25 percent (up to $5) off rides on Dec. 31. Enter the code "JDNYE18" to claim your discounted fare. St. Louis — The first 2,000 riders to claim a Lyft code from Major Brands can get up to $25 off their ride from 4 p.m. CT on NYE through 4 a.m. CT on New Year's Day, per the Riverfront Times. The code will be posted on Major Brands' Instagram and Facebook pages on Saturday, Dec. 29.
However you are getting around, just make sure to do it safely. Not to bring down the mood or anything, but the U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Public Affairs estimates that roughly
300 people die in drunk driving-related car accidents during the week between Christmas and New Year's Eve. So, let somebody else take you where you need to be (and get you home safely) this New Year's Eve. You'll thank yourself later (and your bank account will be happy about the free ride, too).
Uber's Miller Lite Free Rides
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As well as sponsoring free bus and train rides in certain Midwest cities this holiday, Miller Lite is also offering first-time Uber riders a coupon code to save on Dec. 31 travel. Per the
Miller Lite Free Rides website, first-time Uber users can use code "MILLERTIME18" for $15 off a ride when they sign up for the ride share service.
No matter where you are celebrating, there's a good chance you can find a free or discounted mode of transport to make sure surge pricing doesn't put a damper on your NYE celebration. Happy New Year!