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Some transit agencies offering free rides on New Year's Eve, but not BART

For Pleasanton revelers, BART will have extra trains, but at full fare

Some San Francisco and Peninsula public transit agencies are offering free rides on New Year's Eve, but there will be no freebies for Pleasanton or the East Bay.

The agencies offering the free rides say they want to encourage people to take trains or buses to get to festivities around the region.

Rides on San Francisco Municipal Railway, Caltrain and Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority vehicles will all be free from the night of Dec. 31 to the early morning hours of Jan. 1.

Trips on Muni buses and light-rail vehicles will be complimentary from 8 p.m. on Dec. 31 to 6 a.m. on Jan. 1, agency officials announced.

San Francisco's waterfront is crowded each New Year's Eve because of a city-sponsored fireworks show that starts at midnight on a barge off of the Embarcadero.

For people leaving the fireworks show or other festivities in the city, special Muni Metro service will run until 2:15 a.m. between Fourth and King streets and the West Portal Station, and until 4 a.m. between West Portal and the Embarcadero stations.

There will also be extra service on Muni's Owl overnight routes, the 5, 14, 22, 24, 38, 90, 91, L and N bus lines.

Caltrain is offering free rides after 11 p.m. on New Year's Eve, and will run trains from San Francisco until 2:15 a.m. on Jan. 1.

VTA bus and light-rail service will be free as well between 7 p.m. and 3:59 a.m., with extended hours offered for its light-rail service and an

express bus line that takes customers to the Fremont BART station.

Trips on BART will not be free, but the agency will provide additional service on New Year's Eve, running trains until 3 a.m., three hours longer than usual.

Also, beginning at 8 p.m. on New Year's Eve, trains will stop at only Embarcadero or Montgomery Street station in downtown San Francisco, not both, to ease overcrowding at Embarcadero by better distributing people between the two stations.

Dublin/Pleasanton trains will stop at the Embarcadero station, and after the fireworks, riders will need to return to the Embarcadero station to board a train bound for Dublin/Pleasanton.

For more information about public transit options in the Bay Area on New Year's Eve, visit www.sfmta.com, www.bart.gov, www.caltrain.com or

www.vta.org.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

— Bay City News Service

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