Hey Front Rangers, Here Are The Ways To Avoid Driving Drunk On New Year’s

Jim Hill/CPR News
A “Happy New Year” message displayed on the status boards at the RTD station at 38th and Blake, Denver, Dec. 31, 2019.

New Year’s Eve revelers in Colorado have lots of options to avoid driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The Regional Transportation District will once again offer free bus and rail service on New Year's Eve in an effort to prevent impaired driving, and two local law firms are offering free cab and rideshare rides or reimbursements in Denver or other Front Range cities.

It’s the 12th consecutive year RTD has operated the free ride program. The agency says Coloradans have taken 1.6 million free, safe rides home on one of the busiest party nights of the year.

All buses and trains, along with Access-a-Ride and SkyRide lines, will be free from 7 p.m. on New Year’s Eve through 7 a.m. Wednesday.

“In 2018, one-third of all traffic fatalities on Colorado roads involved an impaired driver,” Colorado Department of Transportation executive director Shoshana Lew said in an RTD release. “We encourage everyone celebrating New Year’s Eve in Denver to plan ahead and arrange for a sober ride home.”

The free rides are provided in partnership with Coors Light and Coors Distributing Company, which sponsors similar programs in five other cities nationally.

RTD senior public relations manager Marta Sipeki said there will be extra trains running from downtown Denver tonight from midnight until 2 a.m. to handle crowds leaving the fireworks display. Trains will face some disruptions beginning at 8 p.m. to avoid crossing 16th Street during fireworks, and the mall shuttle will not operate intermittently between 8 p.m. and 1 a.m. But other buses will run on a normal weekday schedule today, and on a holiday schedule Wednesday.

The agency has been plagued by driver shortages, and Sipeki said they won't know until later today whether any service will be curtailed by a lack of drivers. RTD recommends riders use the Next Ride feature on their website to track buses and trains in real time.

RTD is not the only free ride operating tonight. The Sawaya Law Firm, which has offices in Denver, Greeley and Colorado Springs, will once again reimburse riders up to $35 for a one-way cab or rideshare ride to your home. 

To take advantage, you must be 21 or older and submit your receipt to the firm. Details can be found here.

In Pueblo and Colorado Springs, the McDivitt Law Firm also offers a free ride program from bars or restaurants to homes. In Pueblo, use City Cab, and in Colorado Springs, use zTrip cabs, then tell the driver, “It’s on McDivitt.” The firm also offers $20 credits for rides using the Lyft rideshare app in the two cities, using the redemption code MCDIVITTLAW in the app.

Colorado’s Persistent Drunk Driver Committee, a joint effort among several state agencies, estimates that a first-time DUI will cost a driver more than $13,500 in fines, court costs, attorney’s fees and increased insurance costs. The project offers resources for avoiding impaired driving, including a blood alcohol percentage calculator, at www.noduicolorado.org