Rides on Orange County buses will be free after dark on New Year’s Eve

All rides on Orange County Transit Authority buses will be free between 6 pm Saturday and 2:30 am Sunday, which means revelers shouldn’t have to choose between ringing in the new year and getting home safely.

Orange County’s public transportation system reaches popular destinations like Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm, and most buses make their final stops between 9:30 and 11 pm

Line 55, for example, which runs through Newport Beach, Costa Mesa and Santa Ana, makes its last southbound stop at the Newport Transportation Center and its last northbound stop at Flower and 6th Streets at 9:35 and 9:55 pm, respectively.

This map shows the Orange County Transportation Authority’s routes through western and central Orange County. Rides will be free on New Year’s Eve beginning at 6 pm

(Courtesy of the Orange County Transportation Authority)

Route maps and schedules can be found at OCTA’s website. Holiday hours will be in effect.

Taking a bus instead of driving to gatherings for New Year’s Eve may take some extra planning. But doing so avoids the hassle of finding parking and the risk of getting pulled over after celebrating with a few too many drinks, or, even worse, getting into a crash.

Orange County law enforcement have stepped up efforts to spot impaired drivers during the holiday season.

OCTA has been giving free bus rides on New Year’s Eve, at least in part as an alternative to drinking and driving, for most of the past 20 years. The program was first offered in 2002, went on hiatus amid the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and returned in 2021, OCTA officials said in a news release.

People wait for a bus on Beach Boulevard on Wednesday, Dec.  28, 2022 at Huntington Beach.

People wait for a bus on Beach Boulevard on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2022 at Huntington Beach.

(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

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