Sunday, February 25, 2024

As San Francisco Prepares to Ring in 2024, Muni Offers Free Rides on New Year’s Eve

HomeU.S.As San Francisco Prepares to Ring in 2024, Muni Offers Free Rides...

San Francisco, CA – For the 24th consecutive year, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) will offer free Muni bus and light rail rides on New Year’s Eve as a safe transportation option for revelers ringing in 2024.

Starting at 8 p.m. on Sunday, December 31st, all Muni Metro trains, buses and cable cars will be free until 5 a.m. on Monday, January 1st. Muni officials urge riders not to tag their Clipper cards or use their mobile wallets during this time to avoid being charged.

Riding transit is the safest way to celebrate New Year’s Eve in San Francisco, and we are happy to provide free Muni service as part of our ongoing commitment to the city’s Vision Zero goal of eliminating traffic fatalities,” said Jeffrey Tumlin, Director of Transportation for the SFMTA, in a statement.

For many San Francisco residents and visitors, taking public transportation has become a beloved New Year’s Eve tradition, allowing people to enjoy celebrations throughout the city without worrying about driving under the influence or surge pricing for ride shares like Uber and Lyft.

Extended Muni Metro Service Through 2:15 a.m.

To accommodate New Year’s Eve revelers, Muni Metro rail service will be extended until 2:15 a.m. on January 1st. The last trains will leave their final stations at 2 a.m. to allow riders ample time to connect and arrive at their destinations.

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The S-Castro Shuttle will operate until 2 a.m., running between West Portal, Embarcadero, Market St and the Castro every 10 minutes. The S-Owl bus will also run until 2 a.m., providing service between Civic Center, Market St and 24th St Mission stations.

To plan your return trip, check sfmta.com for detailed schedules of all metro lines, including last train times. Stations will close at 2:15 a.m.

Strategies for Avoiding Long Waits

Due to increased demand on New Year’s Eve, Muni officials recommend allowing extra time to wait for trains and buses. Riders may want to consider traveling earlier in the evening or utilizing routes along Mission Street, Market Street and Geary Boulevard corridors where service will be more frequent.

The busiest times are often between midnight and 3 a.m. Plan your night accordingly if you want to avoid large crowds. Riding at off-peak times like 10 p.m. to midnight may be easier than right at midnight when demand spikes.

To avoid long waits at subway stations, try taking advantage of surface routes like the KT Ingleside-Third, L Taraval, N Judah, 5 Fulton, 5R Fulton Rapid, 14 Mission and 30 Stockton. These buses run frequently and can deliver revelers right to their neighborhoods.

Safety Tips When Riding Muni

SFMTA wants everyone celebrating New Year’s Eve in San Francisco to do so safely. When riding Muni late at night, remain aware of your surroundings and look out for others.

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Report any unsafe behavior to the driver or station agent. Do not engage in confrontations or conflicts. Muni vehicles and stations have surveillance cameras to deter crime and assist police investigations.

Stand away from the Muni tunnel and subway platform edges, holding children’s hands firmly. Remain alert as trains enter and exit. Never jump onto tracks or force doors open.

To request assistance from Metro dispatchers monitoring the system, use passenger intercoms located on subway platforms and inside metro trains and stations. Clipper customer service is also available 24/7 at 877-878-8883.

Other Local Transit Options on New Year’s Eve

BART will provide extra late-night train service on New Year’s Eve between San Francisco and the East Bay. While not free, BART will run six additional trains departing at 1 a.m. along the Yellow, Orange and Blue Lines.

The last Yellow Line train from Millbrae to Antioch leaves Millbrae at 1 a.m., arriving in San Francisco around 1:20 a.m. This allows East Bay revelers a transfer window to catch the last Orange Line train departing 12th St Oakland at 1:43 a.m.

Caltrain has offered free service after 8 p.m. on New Year’s Eve in the past but has not formally announced plans for this year yet. Caltrain normally runs special late night trains to San Francisco and San Jose on December 31st. Check caltrain.com as the holiday approaches for any updates.

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For safe travels using rideshares, request pickup and drop off in areas away from street closures and crowds. Prices will likely surge due to high demand, so factor extra costs into your budget. Splitting the ride with friends can help reduce expenses.

Sober Driver? Avoid Street Closures and Traffic

If electing to drive on New Year’s Eve, expect congestion, street closures and delays — especially around fireworks show locations like the Embarcadero. Avoid driving directly through thick crowds and entertainment hubs.

Leave vehicles in less impacted neighborhoods like the Outer Sunset, Inner Richmond or Upper Haight and take transit downtown instead. This avoids struggling to find parking and DUIs.

Map your route in advance accounting for road closures along Market Street, around Civic Center, the Ferry Building, Pier 39, Castro District and the Embarcadero. Give yourself more time to navigate blockade detours and heavy traffic.

Never drink and drive. Have a designated sober driver, use public transit or book a taxi. The SFMTA wants everyone to have fun while staying safe this New Year’s Eve. Taking advantage of free Muni rides is an easy way to transport revelers across San Francisco without hassle.

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Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a prolific author who provides commentary and analysis on business, finance, politics, sports, and current events on his website Opportuneist. With over a decade of experience in journalism and blogging, Mezhar aims to deliver well-researched insights and thought-provoking perspectives on important local and global issues in society.

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