For New Year, get taken for ride

You know the guy at the end of the New Year’s Eve party who’s puking in his glittery top hat?

Or the disheveled woman struggling to stay put on her bar seat?

Or those partiers who continue to chug beers even after that sloppy serpentine route to the restroom?

Yeah, they shouldn’t be driving a vehicle. And really, none of us should if we’ve had a few adult beverages. This message might be old and a cliché at this time of year, but it’s really important for the safety of ourselves and others who share the road.

Transportation agencies and companies dedicate a lot of planning to this time of year, and we need to as well.

It’s a long haul to the downtown celebrations if you happen to live in the northwest valley, so the Regional Transportation Commission is offering a pretty cool service.

Its Centennial Hills Park-and-Ride facility isn’t officially open yet, but residents in the area will be treated to a “sneak preview” of this service on New Year’s Eve, according to spokeswoman Allison Blankenship.

A free bus service from the Park-and-Ride, which is on Grand Montecito Parkway near Durango Drive and Elkhorn Road, will be offered from 5 p.m. New Year’s Eve to 4 a.m. New Year’s Day.

Buses will depart every 20 minutes and shuttle you crazy partiers to Fremont Street. They also will leave the Fremont Street Experience every 20 minutes.

“We’re anticipating this will be really popular and be a good introduction to this facility,” Blankenship said.

Travel to the Strip won’t be quite as simple, but it can be done. Passengers can transfer to a Deuce bus at Fremont and Las Vegas Boulevard. Unfortunately, because of closures on the Strip, the Deuce will only ferry revelers to Sahara Avenue.

The transportation agency’s regular bus routes also will be free of charge from 6 p.m. New Year’s Eve until 9 a.m. New Year’s day.

It is difficult for the RTC folks to gauge how many residents take advantage of the bus system on New Year’s, because there are no fare box figures, but they believe it is gaining popularity.

Here’s another option: AAA Nevada will pour you into a tow truck cab and haul your vehicle home. It’s free for the first five miles; after that drivers must pay the company’s regular towing fee, which varies.

This service is offered from 6 p.m. New Year’s Eve until 6 a.m. New Year’s Day. I can bet what is going through your mind: By the time the truck arrives, I’ll be sober again!

Not so, according to AAA spokesman Michael Geezer.

“There may be a small wait at a certain hour,” Geezer said, adding that between midnight and 1 a.m. will probably be somewhat busy. “If you call before then or later, there is not much wait at all.”

Log this number in your cell so you don’t forget: 800-222-4357 (HELP).

Then there is the Designated Drivers program which employs 100 drivers to take the overserved and the overserved’s vehicle home safely.

Billie Smith, president of Designated Drivers, estimated that his company provided free rides to about 500 partiers on New Year’s Eve night and New Year’s morning. Over an 11-day period, they transported 11,000 vehicles and owners.

Expect an hourlong wait if you’re headed home around 1 a.m. or 2 a.m. Over the following three hours, that wait can increase to an hour and a half, so it’s a good idea to plan ahead.

If you strike out New Year’s Eve and your car is the only thing left to bring home, give these folks a holler: 456-RIDE.

There are plenty of cab companies throughout the Las Vegas Valley.

Here are a list of numbers: A-Cab, 365-1900; Ace Cab, 736-8383; A-North Las Vegas Cab, 643-1041; Checker-Yellow-Star Cab, 873-2000; Deluxe Cab, 568-7700; Desert Cab, 386-9102; Henderson Taxi, 384-2322; Lucky Cab, 732-4400; Nellis Cab, 248-1111; Union Cab, 736-8444; Vegas Western Cab, 736-6121; Virgin Valley Cab, 737-1378; Western Cab, 736-8000; Whittlesea Blue Cab, 384-6111.

If you have a question, tip or tirade, call Adrienne Packer at 702-387-2904, or send an e-mail to Please include your phone number.

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