Free buses and public transit being offered across B.C. on New Year's Eve

The SkyTrain will be free Saturday evening as New Year's Eve partygoers are being urged to plan for their ride back home. (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)
The SkyTrain will be free Saturday evening as New Year's Eve partygoers are being urged to plan for their ride back home. (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)

New Year's Eve revellers in B.C. are being urged to plan safe travel routes back from parties, with numerous transit providers across the province offering free or extended service.

It comes as impairment from alcohol or drugs is the third-leading cause of crashes in the province, behind distraction and speed.

Police are expected to be out in force Saturday monitoring for impaired drivers, with no capacity restrictions expected at bars, restaurants or clubs.

Partygoers can plan their transportation to and from festivities with ride-hailing, having a designated driver or public transport.

Transit services offered during NYE 2022 in B.C.

 

Metro Vancouver's transit authority will be offering free service on all routes from 5 p.m. Saturday until 5 a.m. on New Year's Day.

In Metro Vancouver, extra bus services are being run throughout the night. The SkyTrain will also run one hour later than usual, and the SeaBus will run an extended schedule.

Shruti Prakash Joshi, a spokesperson for TransLink, said that the authority was looking forward to resuming their free ride service after it was halted by pandemic restrictions the last two years.

"It's a holiday tradition that we've been doing for many years now," she said. "It is something to give back to our customers who would like a safe ride back home."

While fare gates will be open at all SkyTrain stations, Joshi said it's imperative that any customers who started their journey before 5 p.m. Saturday tap out at their destination so that they're charged the correct fare.

Ben Nelms/CBC
Ben Nelms/CBC

There will also be extra police officers and TransLink staff working overnight to assist partygoers and monitor anticipated crowds.

"We will have extra officers deployed in Granville Entertainment District, Yaletown and Gastown," said Vancouver Police Cst. Tania Visintin. "If you have an issue or you need police, flag us down … we want everybody to have a really good time."

Across the province, numerous cities will be offering free or extended services on Saturday evening. The communities include Victoria, Kamloops, Abbotsford and Prince George.

B.C. Transit says that service will be free all day Saturday in Whistler. A full list of communities with free transit can be found at this link.

Tom Popyk/CBC
Tom Popyk/CBC

Operation Red Nose back on the roads

In addition to the free transit, Operation Red Nose, the safe-ride program that runs during the holiday season, is back on some B.C. streets this holiday season.

The program connects those who have been consuming alcohol or drugs, or feel like they can't drive their vehicle, with volunteer drivers who will chauffeur them and their vehicle home.

Operation Red Nose will service the communities of Burnaby, New Westminster, the Tri-Cities in Metro Vancouver, Chilliwack, Kamloops, Prince George and Williams Lake this year.

Chris Wilson, B.C. spokesperson for Operation Red Nose, says volunteers aren't serving downtown Vancouver and Surrey this time around. However, he said he hopes they will be back for 2023.