Free Rides and Extra Service On New Year’s Eve: To make sure that Bay Area residents can enjoy all the great New Year’s Eve events in a safe and reliable manner, the region’s public transportation agencies are increasing service and offering up free rides for the big night. SamTrans and Caltrain will offer free service and Caltrain will run extra trains until 2:15 a.m., all Muni lines, including light-rail and bus services, will be free, and the agency will extend its underground train service until 4 a.m. The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority will offer free rides starting at 8 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, as will AC Transit. BART won’t have free rides, but the agency will extend service until 3 a.m. on New Year’s Eve, with trains running every 20 minutes after midnight.
Count Down the New Year in San Jose: San Jose will be winding down its annual Christmas in the Park tradition with a final sendoff at Plaza de Cesar Chavez on New Year’s Eve. The fun starts at 7 p.m., with a special screening of the Disney movie Frozen, before SAGE takes the stage for a performance filled with 80s cover songs, including Huey Lewis and the News, Steely Dan and Paul Simon tunes. The event is free for all and will be open until just past midnight, when crowds can welcome in 2016. Caltrain will be operating free service after 8 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, so attendees can take the train to the San Jose Diridon Station, where they will be able to transfer to VTA’s free Holly Trolley historic streetcar service for a direct trip to the downtown park.
Bay Area Transit Fares Set Increase in the New Year: The cost of BART rides will increase by a little more than 3 percent on January 1, as part of the agency’s inflation-based fare program. Since 2003, BART has implemented regular fare increases based on cost-of-living measures as a way to help pay for high-priority improvement projects. Starting with the New Year, BART fares will go up 3.4 percent, meaning a trip from Powell Street Station in San Francisco to the Daly City Station will increase from $3.15 to $3.25. Fare for SamTrans paratransit service will also increase on January 1, with one way trips going up from $3.75 to $4.25. Riders on SamTrans regular bus service will see an increase on January 10, when Adult Local cash fares increase by 25 cents, among other changes. The fare increase on SamTrans is the agency’s first since 2010, and is necessary to help address inflationary costs for operating the bus system.