How to Have a Safe, DWI-Free New Year's Eve in Austin
While the city may have postponed its annual family-friendly fireworks due to possible inclement weather tonight, that's not likely to stop hordes of revelers descending on downtown to ring in 2015.
If you've ever been downtown on New Year's Eve after the clock strikes midnight, then you know it can be difficult to get home. On top of that, it's a No-Refusal night, so you'll want to plan ahead to get home safe. Check out our rundown of options below for overnight parking, safe rides home and, if you're staying in, a host of apps that'll deliver everything you need right to your door.Parking: If you want to park your car overnight and then get a ride home, here's a map of lots and parking garages downtown that typically have overnight parking. "Next Day" parking is also available at metered on-street city parking spots.
If you do get a ticket after leaving your car downtown overnight, the city will waive it if you bring in a receipt showing you got a safe ride home (via bus, taxi, etc). And the Austin Transportation Department doesn't tow, so if you're in a city parking spot, your car will still be there New Year's Day.
If you'd like your car at your own home in the morning, you can try a new service, UrbanScoot: they'll meet you at your car on their foldable scooter, put it in the trunk and drive you home in your own vehicle "for about the cost of cab fare."
Another option is to drive a Car2Go or bike into town, then take a taxi, Uber or Lyft home.
Taxis: Yellow Cabs (512-452-9999) can be hailed on the street or online, but can be scarce during peak times. Other options include Austin Cab (512-478-2222) and Lone Star Cab (512-836-4900). Here's a map of taxi stands in the city.
Uber and Lyft: New options for getting home this year include the services Uber and Lyft, but it won't be surprising if they end up having higher fares from surge pricing tonight. Both are offering to donate a dollar to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) for pledging not to drink and drive.
Uber has crunched the numbers on when peak times are for folks trying to get home, and it's the window between 12:30 and 2:30 a.m. "For the most affordable rides, request right when the ball drops at midnight or wait until later for prices to return to normal," the company says on its blog. You can also split fares with friends on both Uber and Lyft to keep costs down.
Capital Metro: Austin's transit service will be offering free rides on its buses and commuter rail starting at 6 p.m., with extended hours.
The MetroRail Red Line will be running every 30 minutes after 8 p.m., and rapid buses will be running every 20 minutes; both services will go until 2:30 a.m. Five different Night Owl bus routes will run every 20-35 minutes until 3:30 a.m. Most regular local bus routes will end between 10 pm and midnight, so MetroRail, MetroRapid and Night Owl are your best options for getting home on Capital Metro tonight.
Keep it Local: Another option is to just party at home, and there's a few delivery apps that’ll help you stay off the road.
Favor offers a flat $5 fee – in addition to a tip, of course – and delivers until 3 a.m. Short on groceries? Burpy delivers a swath of sundries within a two-hour window.
If you’ve run out of champagne, or other spirits, ahead of midnight, both BrewDrop and Drizly will deliver alcohol. Both have a $5 delivery fee, though Drizly only delivers in Central Austin, while Brewdrop’s delivery area covers most of the Austin area.
Any options we missed? Add them in the comments below. And have a Happy (and safe!) New Year. See you in 2015.