New Year’s Eve 2019: Free rides and other ways home safely

Austin’s New Year’s Eve 2019 offered free rides and other ways to get home in safety.

As we all know, drunken driving at any level is illegal, reprehensible, dangerous, and just plain bad form. That’s a fact the Austin Police Department will bring home for you at all times, but especially on New Year’s Eve, when it’s an unfortunately common occurrence.

The department’s “no refusal” period for the holiday ran from 9 p.m. every night through 5 a.m. every morning, ending on New Year’s Day.

If you are suspected of driving while intoxicated during the period, officers will have more legal resources for obtaining a blood alcohol sample, even if you refuse to submit one. That’s not to mention the life- and injury-threatening position you put yourself, your passengers, and others in when you attempt to drive while drunk.

Fortunately, there are many options—including free or reduced ride-hailing prices and other ways to get to your destination—for Austinites to ring in the new year without all that danger. Here are a few of them.

Free public transportation

Austin’s Capital Metro extended its MetroRail and MetroRapid service until 2:30 a.m. New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day as well as offering free rides on New Year’s Eve from 5 p.m. until the end of service. MetroBus lines are included in the free fares and operated on their regular weekday-service schedule.


RideAustin (a locally owned, nonprofit business), Lyft, and Uber currently operate in Austin.

From 8 a.m., Dec. 31, through 4 a.m., Jan. 1, Lyft riders got $5 off all rides in Texas. “NYEPLAN18” in the Lyft app.

The Lyft discount was part of the statewide “Plan Ahead, Ride Safe” initiative cosponsored by Lyft, AAA, TABC, Anheuser-Busch, and Silver Eagle Distributors


The four Austin cab companies, ATX Co Op, Austin Cab, Lone Star Cab, and Yellow Cab were out in force downtown and in nearby areas, including at taxi stands, via app in some cases, and (in theory) by telephone.

Way to go Austin for thinking of your inebriated citizens!!