Check out the bottom of this post for an update:
DART and Miller Lite are teaming up to give free rides to anyone who wants one on New Year's Eve. Sounds great, except for one thing: Actually taking advantage of the offer. Unless you're willing to get home before midnight or leave a Deep Ellum bar at the stroke of midnight before sprinting a mile or so downtown to make your bus — the last bus — DART and Miller Lite won't be getting many people home. Because DART is operating its regular* weekday schedule. On New Year's Eve, one of the worst drunk driving nights of the year.
It is, without a doubt, one of the worst things about riding DART: Dallas' public transportation will not take you home should you have stayed out anywhere close to last call. It's true on the weekends, when the last buses leave downtown Dallas at 12:20 a.m. and the last full service northbound trains all reach their final destinations at just about 1 a.m., and it's true on weekdays, when the buses and trains are more frequent, but don't run any later. Uber and Lyft are your friends if you need to get home without using your car after a night out, DART is not — unless you plan on getting home early.
Still, there's always hope. Last fall's extensive survey of DART's riders showed that the system's users repeatedly asserted their need for late-night service, and DART project manager Kay Shelton said that adding late-night rail service was something that can be examined. Monday morning, DART made an announcement that teased the possibility of some of the aforementioned hope being validated: New Year's Eve, thanks to a partnership with Miller Lite, all of the system's trains and buses will be accessible to anyone who wants a ride, free of charge.
"We're excited to bring our flagship Free Rides program to the Dallas community," Gene Giron, Responsibility Initiatives Manager for MillerCoors said in announcing the free rides. "Our new partnership with DART is part of MillerCoors' overall commitment to help prevent drunk driving by bringing alcohol responsibility programs to more markets. Working together, Miller Lite, DART and Andrews Distributing will ensure people have a great time this New Year's Eve and get home safely."
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"DART is a safe and convenient option for getting around the Dallas area, and we're proud to partner with Miller Lite to further incentivize the community to take a Free Ride on New Year's Eve," DART president Gary Thomas said in a press release. "We hope people will take advantage of the free service and leave the driving to us."
*There is one extra train, a westbound TRE special, leaving from Victory Station near the American Airlines Center 20 minutes after the conclusion of the Stars' traditional New Year's Eve game. Although that train will leave before midnight, too.
Update 12/8 9:06 a.m.: This morning, DART's Morgan Lyons informs us via email that regular trains and buses will, in fact, be running until 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve, contrary to DART's original press release.
Here's what they sent us yesterday: And here's a screenshot of the now edited release on DART's website: