Local transit agencies will give a boost to New Year’s Eve revelers in San Francisco with a series of special services tonight and early Saturday.
From 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., passengers on all Muni vehicles, including cable cars, will be able to travel for free. Also, Muni will add extra train service between the West Portal station and the Caltrain depot on Fourth and King streets. And it will run more buses on its late-night Owl service on lines such as the 5-Fulton, 22-Fillmore and 38-Geary.
Passengers traveling to San Francisco on BART will have late-night service options. Instead of shutting down at 12:30 a.m., as is standard, BART will run trains till 3 a.m. Saturday.
To help ease overcrowding and speed up service tonight, BART will operate a “skip-stop” schedule, with some trains bypassing some downtown San Francisco stations.
Starting at 8 p.m., inbound trains on the Dublin/Pleasanton and Fremont lines will stop at the Embarcadero station, but not at the Montgomery Street station. Trains from Pittsburg/Bay Point and Richmond will skip the Embarcadero station, with their first downtown stop being Montgomery.
Also, BART will beef up on-train security by adding extra police officers. Early New Year’s Day 2009, passenger Oscar Grant III was fatally shot in the back by then-BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle.
Like BART, Caltrain will run service later tonight. The regional rail line will operate four late-night routes starting at 12:45 a.m., with trains making all local stops between San Francisco and San Jose. The last run out of San Francisco will be 2:15 a.m. Saturday.
If public transit is out of the question for local revelers, AAA will be running its annual Tipsy Tow service. Starting at 6 tonight, the organization will provide free towing to all local residents (within a 10-mile limit) regardless of their AAA membership status.
The offer is designed to keep drunk drivers off the road, and it will run till 6 a.m. Saturday.
A half-million people are expected to come to San Francisco to celebrate New Year’s Eve, and police Chief George Gascón wants them to behave.
“We want people to come to San Francisco, we want people to have fun, but we want people to be safe,” Gascón said at a news conference Thursday where he outlined the Police Department’s plan to ring in the new year without using too much overtime.
Police anticipate a majority of the revelers will gather along The Embarcadero, where fireworks will mark the beginning of 2011. Also, officers will be stationed around nightclubs on Broadway in North Beach and tourist hot spots such as Union Square.
No open containers of alcohol will be tolerated in public, and checkpoints will be spread throughout The City in an effort to catch drunk drivers, Gascón said. And police will be targeting liquor stores to ensure minors are not buying alcohol.
Fire Department officials will be cracking down on bars and clubs that exceed capacity, fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White said. And illegal fireworks and shooting guns into the air will be targets of enforcement.
Shooting a gun into the air is a felony punishable by up to a year in prison, according to police, and if a stray bullet were to kill someone, the shooter would be charged with murder.
— Brent Begin
Sources: SFMTA, BART, Caltrain