New Year's Eve 2015: 5 things to know about late-night transportation and transit

Between free transit, extended Translink hours and a free volunteer ride home service —there are more than a few ways to ensure a safe and happy start to 2016.

If driving home isn't an option tonight, these tips will help you get home safe on January 1

Partiers on New Year's Eve have plenty of options to get home safe and sound on January 1. (istock)

Getting around on New Year's Eve can be a challenge. Many holiday revelers are planning on late-night parties and alcohol consumption, which means driving home won't be an option. But between free transit, extended Translink hours and a free volunteer ride home service — there are more than a few ways to ensure a safe and happy start to 2016.

1. Free Transit

Translink begins free service at 5 p.m. PT on December 31 until 5 a.m. on January 1, including all buses, Skytrain, Sea Bus and West Coast Express routes.

2. Longer bus hours

Buses run on the regular weekday schedule, and many routes like the 99 B-Line will add extra trips to accommodate late-night travelers. Some routes have temporarily changed for the holiday season.

3. Later Skytrain departures

Skytrain departures have also been extended:

  • The last Millennium Line train to VCC-Clark will depart Waterfront at 1:35 a.m. 
  • Customers can also take the last Expo Line train to Commercial-Broadway to transfer to the last Millennium Line train departing at 2:36 a.m. to Lougheed only.
  • The last Expo Line train to King George will depart Waterfront at 2:20 a.m. 
  • The last Canada Line train will depart Waterfront at 2:05 a.m. towards YVR-Airport and 2:15 a.m. towards Richmond-Brighouse

4. Call early for a cab

Expect to wait. Although several Lower Mainland companies recently applied for more cabs for the holidays, demand for a ride will still be much higher than normal. Response times for phone-ordered taxis will be longer, and many will find it more difficult to find available cabs on the street. Pre-booking is an option, but most companies' pre-booking availability ends early in the evening.

5. Operation Red Nose

Operation Red Nose will provide free transportation to anyone feeling unfit to drive home after their New Year's Party. Call 1-877-604-NOSE and the donation-funded service sends a team of volunteers to your location. One will drive you home in your car, a second will navigate, and a third will follow in an escort car to pick up the driver and navigator once you're home safe. As with cabs, wait times can be lengthy. The service is available in communities across the lower mainland, check Operation Red Nose's website for a full listing.

Teams of Operation Red Nose volunteers will drive you and your car home, free of charge. (CBC)

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