SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — If you’re heading into San Francisco for New Years Eve, transit agencies and law enforcement are urging you to leave your cars at home, and rideshare customers can expect long waits.
As the clock winds down Tuesday, the Embarcadero will be the destination for thousands of New Years partygoers, a rare time where everybody ends up in the same place in the city.
Jerry Lee Lewis, a full-time rideshare driver for Uber and Lyft, says once the fireworks end, the traffic becomes bedlam.
“Everybody is like ants. It’s like somebody stepped in a pile of ants and they just disperse going different directions, trying to find a different a place, trying to find different people,” Lewis said.
Most transit agencies in the Bay Area are offering free rides starting at 8 p.m. and are extending service into the early hours of Wednesday morning. New Years Eve is one of the busiest nights of the year for Muni as it tries to accommodate hundreds of thousands of riders.
Buses, trains and cable cars will all be operating until 5 a.m. Wednesday morning.
“So if you want to stay out, you want to celebrate, you want to avoid that crowd and that push to get back home…we’ll still be offering that free service,” said SFMTA spokesperson Erica Kato.
For those attempting to drive while drunk, it could be costly–the CHP has begun its maximum enforcement period with extra patrol units on the roads and highways looking for drivers under the influence of any substance, including marijuana.
The CHP says that even during their Christmas Day enforcement period, 10 people were killed in accidents statewide.
“You’re going to see a lot more enforcement, specifically with DUI and impaired driving. It’s not a good time to drink and drive because all CHP is looking for it, right?” said CHP officer Kristopher Borer.
Uber and Lyft are giving warnings in San Francisco that their services may be overwhelmed. Lewis says New Years Eve in the city is like paradise to rideshare drivers and if you’re patient, there will be someone willing to take your money.
“I guarantee you. San Francisco’s the spot,” he said.
There are other options out there to avoid getting behind the wheel on New Years Eve. The CHP hopes people will take advantage of them.