Celebrating 2022 away from home? Be safe with free transit on New Year’s Eve around the Puget Sound region.
SEATTLE — Ringing in 2022 away from home? You can leave the car in the garage and enjoy free transit options across the Puget Sound region.
A number of service providers are eager to take western Washington visitors to and from their fireworks displays, champagne toasts and romantic dinners completely free of charge.
So far, King County Metro, the Seattle Streetcar, Pierce County Transit, Community Transit, Sound Transit Express buses and Link light rail will all offer free service from early Dec. 31 to at least the early morning hours of Jan. 1.
“This is our way of thanking our riders, and offering those who celebrate late into the New Year a safe alternative to getting behind the wheel,” King County Executive Dow Constantine said in a statement.
Here is what each transit provider is offering for the New Year’s Eve festivities:
Buses will be running on a Sunday schedule fare-free from 4 a.m. Friday to 4 a.m. Saturday with other services, including DART, Via to Transit, Ride Pingo to Transit, Community Van and Access also offering free service.
Via to Transit will offer rides until 2 a.m. on New Year’s Day. Fareboxes and ORCA card readers will be covered to remind customers not to pay.
The Link light rail system and Sound Transit Express buses will be fare-free from 4 a.m. Dec. 31 to 2 a.m. Jan. 1.
The light rail will operate on an extended schedule on New Year’s Eve, with a 15-minute late-night service.
The final southbound trip will leave the Northgate Station at 1:46 a.m. on Jan. 1, and the final northbound train will leave Angel Lake at 1:37 a.m.
Additionally, these Express bus routes will also offer extended service hours: 522, 545, 550, 554 and 594.
Serving much of Snohomish and King counties, Community Transit is following King County Metro and offering fare-free rides from 4 a.m. Dec. 31 to 4 a.m. to Jan. 1.
All buses and DART will operate on a Sunday bus schedule.
The south Sound’s bus system will offer a Sunday level of service and run fare-free from the first route at 6:30 a.m. to the last route at 9:50 p.m. on Dec. 31.
On-demand Ruston and Tideflats Runner services are also fare-free on Dec. 31 from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. The JBLM Runner will not operate on Dec. 31.
The South Lake Union and First Hill lines of the Seattle Streetcar will run on regular schedules fare-free for New Year’s Eve.
The South Lake Union Streetcar will run on 15-minute headways from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., while the First Hill Streetcar will run from 5 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. with 12- to 20-minute headways. Saturday resumes at 7 a.m. for South Lake Union and 6 a.m. for First Hill.
However, not all transit services are free on New Year’s Eve.
The Seattle Monorail will collect regular fares through the holiday and operate between Westlake and Seattle Center until 10:30 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. Service from Seattle Center to Westlake will run from 12:20 a.m. to 1 a.m. following fireworks at the Space Needle.
In-person attendance for the fireworks show at the Space Needle is discouraged since an augmented reality experience is being offered along with the fireworks on KING 5.
On New Year’s Day, transit riders should expect most buses and rail services to operate on normal Saturday schedules during the day. Regular valid fares will be required, as well.
Tacoma Link light rail will run on a Sunday schedule.