WASHINGTON — Metro riders can ring in the new year with parties, merriment and free rides, thanks to a sponsorship with the transit agency.
On Thursday, the Metro Board approved a proposal to provide free rides on the bus and rail system between midnight and its 3 a.m. closing on Jan. 1, 2016. Also, the hours of operation are extended to accommodate people heading home from New Year’s Eve celebrations.
Metro typically operates until 3 a.m. on weekends.
“You still use your SmartTrip card to enter and exit but you won’t be charge,” Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said. “On the bus you simply show your SmartTrip card to the bus operator and step aboard.”
The partnership with MillerCoors pays WMATA $165,000 for Metrobus and Metrorail rides from midnight through the system’s closure on Jan. 1, 2016. That dollar amount is based on previous year’s ridership.
MillerCoors has been supporting free ride programs for decades in nearly two dozen cities including Chicago, Atlanta and Dallas to promote “responsible commuting.”
“There is such a thing as being too intoxicated to ride Metro,” Stessel said. “And if you find yourself in that state or your with someone in that kind of state, when you can’t maintain balance, that would be the time when you might want to take a cab or an Uber or something like that.”
WTOP’s Max Smith, Dick Uliano, Kristi King and Sarah Beth Hensley contributed to this report.