Since you may not be thinking as clearly after your end-of-year celebrations, here's what you need to know to plan ahead for your return trip home on Saturday night (or Sunday morning). If you live in San Francisco, the East Bay or parts of the South Bay, you should be able to do it without money.
By comparison, Lyft and Uber are expected to have high surge pricing on the busy New Year's Eve, especially in the 12:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. window. And we're not aware of any free taxi ride programs in the Bay Area this year.
If you really want to get in a car, you could use AAA's "Tipsy Tow" program to call 1-800-AAA-HELP for a free tow up to 10 miles, or hire your own designated driver -- which is pretty much the opposite of "free."
Or just take one of the many, many public transit options.
There will be regular service until 8 p.m., and then BART will run special extended service from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. During that time, BART will use a stop-skipping schedule to minimize overcrowding. Pittsburg/Bay Point and Richmond trains will not stop at Embarcadero; Dublin/Pleasanton and Fremont trains will not stop at Montgomery Street, and will not stop at West Oakland after the midnight fireworks show in San Francisco. Check the BART announcement for full details. BART will not be free.
Free rides for everyone! SFMTA will have free rides from 8 p.m. on Saturday to 5 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 1. Do not tag your Clipper Card during this time or it will be charged. Some extra service is scheduled, though there is currently no rerouting planned or street closures. Check the SFMTA for information on all route changes.
Caltrain will also have free service starting at 8 p.m. on Dec. 31. Post-fireworks, there will be service at 12:45 a.m., 1: 15 a.m., 1:45 a.m., and 2:15 a.m. leaving from the main San Francisco station at Fourth and King streets.
AC Transit rides will be free from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. And you may want to check the schedule for their All Nighter bus lines.
All buses will be free from 8 p.m. Saturday to 5 a.m. on Sunday. (Redi-Wheels, the paratransit provider for the county, will also be offering free rides to its users during that time.) SamTrans will run a regular Saturday schedule on New Year's Eve and a Sunday schedule on New Year's Day.
VTA rides will also be free from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. -- standard partying hours. There will be extended late-night service for light rail (Alum Rock-Santa Teresa and Mountain View-Winchester lines) and for the express line 180/181 (to the Fremont BART station). Check the VTA site for last trip times.
If you live in the North Bay, well, you have other things going for you -- but no free rides. Service will be on a regular Saturday schedule on Saturday and on a holiday/Sunday schedule on Sunday and Monday.