Free Caltrain rides on New Year's Eve

AAA also to provide free service to prevent drunk driving

Caltrain has volunteered to be the designated driver for Peninsula residents on New Year's Eve, offering free train service to and from San Francisco on Dec. 31 from 8 p.m. on.

Four extra trains, making all local stops including at the downtown Palo Alto and California Avenue stations, between San Francisco and the San Jose Diridon station, will head southbound from San Francisco after midnight, at 12:45 a.m., 1:15 a.m., 1:45 a.m. and 2:15 a.m., or when the trains are full. The 2:15 a.m. train is expected to be crowded, so riders who are able to take an earlier train are advised to do so, Caltrain's website states.

Caltrain's regulations say open alcohol containers are not allowed on trains after 9 p.m. following special events and that disruptive passengers will be asked to leave the train.

On Dec. 31 until 8 p.m., Caltrain will operate on a regular Saturday schedule. On New Year’s Day, it will operate a modified Sunday schedule, with 32 trains between San Francisco and San Jose and shuttle service to and from the Tamien station. Train service will not operate south of San Jose.

On Monday, Jan. 2, Caltrain will operate a special holiday schedule.

The administrative offices of the San Mateo County Transit District, which manages Caltrain, will be closed on Monday, Jan. 2.

More information is available from Caltrain's customer service center at 1-800-660-4287 (TTY 650-508-6448) or at

Free rides from AAA

AAA will offer free rides and tows on New Year's Eve to help prevent drunk driving on the holiday.

The annual Tipsy Tow program will provide free one-way rides and tows for drivers and their vehicles of up to 10 miles to the driver's home.

Additional passengers are welcome if there is room in the tow truck.

Anyone can call (800-222-4357 (AAA-HELP) to access the service, which will run from 6 p.m. Saturday to 6 a.m. Sunday in Northern California.

The program is available to everyone, not just AAA members, and reservations are not available.

Now in its 20th year, the program is AAA's attempt to take drunk drivers off the road and reduce auto crashes, injuries and fatalities.


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3 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 27, 2016 at 8:17 pm

Has anyone done this in the past? Is there any chance of the 2pm train being full and not letting you on? I don't want to think about being stuck in that part of San Francisco at that hour.

BART can be crowded, but at least trains run frequently enough that you should be able to find space on the next one. Parking at BART stations is free on weekends.

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 29, 2016 at 3:29 pm

I am all for this innovative way to help out at NYE. But why can't Caltrain attract more riders at other times.

Caltrain could do off price fares, or certainly round trip fares that start after 3.00 pm to encourage evening use. The same could be done for weekend use. Caltrain could also offer family fares after 10.00 am which would be for say 2 adults and 2 children.

Caltrain is a wonderful resource and takes people to their regular workday destinations all the time. I just wonder why they aren't more user friendly for occasional riders when the trains are less full but still cost the same to run.

Any occasional rider has the potential for becoming a regular commuting rider if their employment habits change. Looking on Caltrain as a resource for everyone should be one of the aims of any transportation system.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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