How to Get Free Rides on New Year’s Eve if You’ve Been Drinking

free rides

Some transportation services, like taxis, Uber, or Lyft, may offer discounts and even free rides on New Year’s Eve. (Getty)

There’s no reason to drink and drive on New Year’s Eve. Many transportation companies are offering free rides to help keep people safe on the roads. Here are a few options that you can use. The best and easiest is likely AAA Tipsy Tow, if it’s available in your area and you’re only 10 miles away. But there are many other great options too. If you know of any other good coupon codes, let us know in the comments below.

AAA Tipsy Tow

AAA in many regions is going above and beyond by offering not only free rides, but also a free tow of your car back home. They call this “Tipsy Tow” and it usually runs through the early morning hours of New Year’s Day. Just call 1-800-AAA-HELP and ask for the Tipsy Tow. They can tell you if a tow is available in your area.

The tow is typically done within a 10 to 15 mile radius and you don’t have to be a AAA member to use it. (Some areas will let you pay the difference if you need to be towed farther than the free radius.)

Tipsy Tow and similar AAA Safe Ride Programs are being offered in Alabama, Arizona, parts of California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas (Shawnee/Topeka only), Nebraska (Omaha & Lincoln only), Nevada, Oklahoma (Metro Tulsa, Metro Oklahoma City, Shawnee, Bartlesville, Enid, Muskogee, Tahlequah, Ardmore, Lawton), New Mexico, South Dakota (Sioux Falls, Rapid City, Mitchell, Yankton), Tennessee, Texas, Utah, parts of Virginia, AAA MountainWest, AAA Tidewater, AAA Findlay (419-425-3908), and AAA Allied Group.

Just call the toll free number to find out if it’s being offered in your particular city. It starts around 6 p.m. local time until the morning of January 1.

(Note: AAA Allied Group in Ohio is offering an ArriveSafe taxi program for Montgomery County, but you must call 937-449-9999.)

Uber Codes & Surge Pricing Tips

If you’re a new Uber user, the following codes may be able to get you a free ride tonight. Keep in mind that on New Year’s Eve, prices on Uber will likely surge during higher traffic times. This often takes place between 12:15 a.m. and 2:30 a.m, give or take an hour. If you want to check on surge pricing, the app Flare is advertising that it helps with this service and lets you compare prices from multiple Carshare and Rideshare trips. SurgeProtector is another app that lets you find close locations that don’t have Uber surges. To avoid surges, try to leave a little before midnight or stay at your location longer. You can also pay attention to fare estimates on your phone, to get an idea of when is the best time to call your Uber. You can also share rides with people going to similar locations using UberPOOL where it’s available.

According to RetailMeNot and other sources, the following codes may work for you:

  • uberTAXI may get $15 to $18 off your first Uber ride. You must be a new user and promo codes can be entered in the payment section of the app.
  • The code Feeling22 may get you a free ride, up to $22 for new users.
  • The code paigew73 may get $20 off your first ride, as could the code iq85l.
  • If you use an iPhone or an Android phone, the code RMNDEC10 may save $10 off your first trip.
  • MESSDEC10 may also give you $10 off your first ride.
  • If you’re in Pittsburgh, use LITEPIT16 for $10 off
  • If you’re in Seattle, you can get $10 off your ride from 2 p.m through 5 a.m. with UberPOOL (the group ride service). Use the code SAFESTART2017.
  • If you’re in Salt Lake City, use referral code ux942ue for a free or discounted ride.

Note that these discount codes can be cancelled by Uber at any time. You may be able to find additional codes on the subreddit here.

Remember, even if there is Uber surge pricing tonight, the cost is still cheaper than the cost of a DUI, impounded car prices, lost wages from being in jail, the cost of hiring an attorney, etc.

Lyft Codes

If you prefer using Lyft to Uber, the following codes may be useful. Note that Lyft may change or cancel these codes at any time. (Look at RetailMeNot for more codes if these don’t work.)

  • LYFTMENOTNEW50 for $5 off your first 10 rides
  • MADDISON32 for $25 in free rides
  • 7HQHC8RE4HUK7 for $10 off for new riders
  • If you’re new to Lyft, use this link to get $10 off your first 3 rides
  • If you’re in Las Vegas, Lyft is teaming up with the police department to offer free rides. Use the code LVNYE to get $50 off.

Lyft may also use surge pricing, like Uber does, during peak hours. This means that if you get a Lyft ride during the busiest times on New Year’s Eve, the ride may cost more than it typically does. However, if you schedule your Lyft ride in advance, you may be able to lock in current rates and avoid the surge. (Note: Some locations charge surge prices anyway, and it appears that Uber does not offer this option for avoiding surges.) But just remember, even if there is Lyft surge pricing tonight, the cost is still cheaper than the cost of a DWI.

Uber & Lyft Alternatives

If you’re really concerned about surge pricing, you can also look into alternatives to Uber and Lyft. There are some similar services, although they aren’t available in all areas.

One is Wingz, which lets you book rides in advance, 24/7. You can find some coupon codes for $5 off here.

Via is another app that some people like. You can download the iTunes version here and the Android app here. It serves New York City, Chicago, and D.C.

Flywheel in another alternative, downloadable on Android here and iTunes here. It works in LA, Portland, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, and Seattle.

ZTrip lets you book a private sedan without the surge. You can choose a VIP black car or a taxi. The downside is that the waits can be longer. It’s available at 70 airports, plus Austin, Baltimore, Boulder, Colorado Springs, Denver, Houston, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Northern Colorado, Orlando, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, San Antonio, Tampa, and West Palm Beach.

Shofer is another Uber alternative; this one’s available in Australia. To get 25 percent off your first ride, use the referral code ADXL8E.

Location Specific Codes and Offers

These are just a few region-specific codes and free services being offered on New Year’s Eve. If your region isn’t listed, it doesn’t mean there isn’t an option for you. Just Google “free New Year’s Eve rides” and your city to see. You might also consider checking your local personal injury attorney’s websites. An attorney in Indianapolis, for example, is offering vouchers for free rides, but you must sign up by noon on December 31.

Here is just a sample of the many cities offering free rides for New Year’s:

If you live in Richmond, Napoleon Taxi is offering free rides home on New Year’s Eve. All you have to do is call or text 804-525-0532 or tweet @RideSpoken4. Be patient, as the wait might be awhile.

In Austin, Texas, Capital Metro is offering free rides on its MetroBus and MetroRail starting at 6 p.m. until end-of-service.

In Houston, Texas, the Metro is offering free bus and train rides from 6 p.m. through 6 a.m. on local bus, rail, and METROLift. Note: There are 33 routes that are in service past midnight. In addition, Sutliff & Stout Law Firm will reimburse your taxi/Uber/Lyft fare up to $30, including a 10 percent tip. This is only available to the first 1,000 submissions, within seven days of the date, with a valid PayPal email. Contact the law firm for details.

In Minneapolis, Metro Transit is offering free rides starting at 6 p.m. until 3 a.m. on New Year’s Day.

In Omaha’s Douglas and Sarpy Counties, Safe Ride Home is offering free cab rides. Call Happy Cab at 402-292-2222 and ask for the “Hauptman, O’Brien Safe Ride Home.” You can also use the Smartphone app. Download “Rides Nebraska” and type “SAFE RIDE” in the Promo section when scheduling your ride.

In Fort Collins, Colorado, discounted (but not free) services include Trunk Drivers — who will drive your car home for you.

In Portland, Oregon you can get free transportation via TriMet starting at 8 pm. The MAX service will run until 3 a.m.

In San Francisco, California, Muni will offer free-fare rides on all routes and waive the $7 one-way cable-car fee, from 8 p.m. Saturday through 5 a.m. Sunday. Caltrain is also offering free rides starting at 8 p.m. Bus fare boxes and Clipper card readers also will be covered from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., AC Transit said.

In DFW (Dallas-Fort Worth), the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) is partnering with MillerCoors to offer free rides on buses, paratransit cars, light rail trains, and the Trinity Railway Express to CentrePort/DFW Airport Station. DART streetcars from Union Station to Bishop Arts are free. Vintage trolleys on the M-Line are also free.

In Washington, D.C., SoberRide will pay cab fees up to $30 from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

In Charlottesville, VA, the law firm Allen, Allen, Allen, & Allen is covering cab fare from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Call Yellow Cab and ask for the Sober Ride Home program.

In Wichita, Kansas, the Wichita police department is partnering with Uber to give first-time Uber users a free ride up to $20. Enter promo code WPD16 for the special.

In Milwaukee, MCTS are offering free bus rides beginning at 8 p.m., with routes running until the end of their regular service time. But some popular lines will be extended until 4 a.m.

In Philadelphia, PATCO is offering free rides from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. Call 856-772-6900 for departure and arrival times.

In Las Vegas, Nevada, all fixed routes from RTC are offering free rides from 6 p.m. to 9 a.m. New Year’s Day. Learn more here.

All these codes and services are subject to change, so check with the provider to make sure they are still available.

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