A Metro bus operating on a snowy Beacon Hill. (Owen Pickford)
A Metro bus operating on a snowy Beacon Hill. (Owen Pickford)

Transit systems in the Puget Sound region will once again offer fare-free New Years Eve rides. The exception in Pierce Transit, which is charging fares this New Years Eve. Holiday revelers are encouraged to avoid traffic and intoxicated driving by getting on the bus or light rail.

“Whether you’re looking to enjoy the fireworks, meet friends to ring in the New Year, or have a quiet dinner at your favorite restaurant, you can leave the driving to us. We look forward to seeing you on board!” King County Executive Dow Constantine said in a statement.

The fareboxes, card readers, and ticketing apps will be covered or turned off to remind customers not to pay.

Regional transit agencies will be operating on the following schedules to accommodate fare-free New Year’s Eve rides:

  • King County Metro: Buses will operate on their regular Saturday schedule and be fare-free from 3am Saturday, Dec. 31, through 3am Sunday, Jan. 1. Other Metro services operating fare-free include DART, Via to Transit, Ride Pingo to Transit, Community Van, and Access service. Please note Via to Transit will only operate until 2am Sunday, Jan. 1.
  • Sound Transit: Link light rail and Sound Transit Express buses are fare-free from 4am Saturday, Dec. 31, to 2am Sunday, Jan. 1. Sound Transit will operate extended Link light rail service on New Year’s Eve, with 15-minute, late-night service. The last southbound trip will leave Northgate Station at 1:58am The last northbound train will leave Angle Lake Station at 1:41am. For more information, go to Sound Transit’s webpage.
  • Community Transit: All Community Transit buses, Zip Alderwood Shuttle, and Snohomish County DART paratransit services will operate on a Saturday schedule and are fare-free from 4am Saturday, Dec. 31 through the end of the service day. Please check the Community Transit website, as route times vary.
  • Everett Transit: All services will operate fare-free on a regular Saturday schedule from 7am to 9:30pm.
  • Pierce Transit: Rides on Pierce Transit buses and SHUTTLE paratransit vehicles, as well as two of the agency’s on-demand Runner services will be charging fares this year. Customers can use Pierce Transit’s Trip Planner.
  • Seattle Streetcar: Both streetcar lines will operate Saturday service hours. The South Lake Union Streetcar will operate on New Year’s Eve until 12:30am to accommodate fireworks viewing downtown.
  • King County Water Taxi: The water taxi will operate fare-free on Dec. 31 but will be out of service on Jan. 1. and Jan. 2.
  • Seattle Monorail: The monorail will collect regular fares and is scheduled to operate from Westlake to the Seattle Center until 11pm on New Year’s Eve. After the evening’s events at Seattle Center, service to Westlake will run from 12:30an to 1:00am.

Service will return to Sunday schedules with fares collected on Sunday, Jan. 1 beginning at 3am. Pierce Transit will be using a Saturday schedule. Reduced schedules will continue through Monday. Details are posted on Metro’sSound Transit’s, and Pierce Transit’s holiday and reduced service pages.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Pierce Transit was going fare free this New Years Day and Eve. While that was true last year, the agency opted to charge fares this year. We apologize for the error.

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Ray Dubicki is a stay-at-home dad and parent-on-call for taking care of general school and neighborhood tasks around Ballard. This lets him see how urbanism works (or doesn’t) during the hours most people are locked in their office. He is an attorney and urbanist by training, with soup-to-nuts planning experience from code enforcement to university development to writing zoning ordinances. He enjoys using PowerPoint, but only because it’s no longer a weekly obligation.