Drinking this New Year’s? How to get home safely in NJ (maybe for free!)
Think you know your limit? Sure you're safe to get behind the wheel?
Driving after drinking any time is reckless — and as the signs on the highway say, "buzzed driving is drunk driving." And you can be sure more cops will be on the road looking for impaired drivers this New Year's Eve.
With mass transit, ride-sharing apps and good-old-fashioned taxis around, there's no excuse for driving drunk this holiday. Here's some of what you'll need to know, whichever route you take.
Get a free ride from Uber
During the holiday season, New Jersey bars are working with Uber to provide free rides of up to $20 for first-time riders. The offer is open to patrons of all bars and pubs that belong to the New Jersey Licensed Beverage Association.
And if you live in Evesham Township or Voorhees, you're in luck any night. Evesham Township’s “Saving Lives” pilot program – which allows local residents to get free rides home from 19 bars and restaurants in town – has been so successful that it’s being expanded to include neighboring Voorhees Township. The rides are offered through Uber and BeMyDD — the latter service will drive both an individual and his or her car home.
A special note about ride-sharing apps
If you don't qualify for one of the Uber discounts, it and competitor Lyft are still good ways to get home without worrying about whether you've had one too many. But don't be surprised if rates are hiked on New Year's Eve as they are for other busy times. Both apps will warn you in advance if non-standard rates apply.
Schedule a taxi service ahead of time
There's no shortage of taxi services available in New Jersey. A search on superpages.com turns up more than 1,700 listings (you'll want to narrow it down to your area, of course). They may seem less convenient than Uber or Lyft — but taxi companies, unlike the ride-sharing apps, will let you schedule rides ahead of time. The apps are catch as catch-can.
Using NJ Transit: Don't bring the booze with you
Finish your drink at the bar — NJ Transit will have a system-wide alcohol ban in effect.
NJ Transit is offering extra service across its various services.
Rail service will be on a weekday schedule with a few modifications. After 6 p.m., additional New York-bound trips will operate on the Northeast Corridor, North Jersey Coast and Morris & Essex lines. In addition, all trains that normally depart New York and Hoboken between 11:30 p.m. and 12:15 a.m. will be cancelled to support later service to customers returning from New York’s festivities.
Bus schedules vary by route. For more information, see here.
In addition, the River Line will operate extended late-night service on New Year’s Eve and after midnight on New Year’s Day to accommodate customers attending the festivities on the Camden Waterfront. Special late-night trains will operate between Camden and Trenton, making all local stops. For more information, see here.
The Hudson-Bergen Light Rail will also operate added late-night service on New Year’s Eve into New Year’s Day to accommodate travelers returning home from midnight celebrations. For more information, see here.
After midnight (early January 1), additional late-night trains will operate on most rail lines with one-seat ride service available on certain Raritan Valley Line and North Jersey Coast Line trains. Expanded bus service will be provided from the Port Authority Bus Terminal (PABT) until approximately 2 a.m. on selected routes.