Options tonight for rides

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Between the city of Steamboat Springs' free bus service and local taxi services, New Year's Eve revelers have various opportunities to avoid drinking and driving.

On New Year's Eve, the city's bus service will run its regular shift until midnight and then will send out as many as eight extra buses.

Alpine Taxi offers local taxi service and chartered vehicles for groups, and Black Diamond Shuttle Express and Storm Mountain Express offer chartered vehicles.

The city's bus service will run on its regular schedule until midnight.

The big crunch happens when residents and visitors want to come home just after midnight, said George Krawzoff, transportation service director for Steamboat Springs.

At that time, supervisors will scope out popular bus stops downtown and on the mountain to see where the crowds start gathering and will call extra buses to pick up at those spots, Krawzoff said.

Jonathan Flint, operations manager for Steamboat Springs Transit, said the goal is to get to the crowds quickly.

"It's typically so cold, and we want to get people picked up as quickly as possible," Flint said.

The bus service stops at 2 a.m., Flint said. Anyone who is out later than that should find another way to get home.

Flint also encouraged residents and visitors to make sure their homes, hotel rooms or rentals are on the bus route.

"The last thing we want to do is have people walking for any distance when it's that cold out," he said.

New Year's Eve is usually the peak day for the city's bus service, with about 9,000 riders, Krawzoff said. On a typical winter day, the buses serve 5,000 to 6,000 riders.

Alpine Taxi is preparing for a busy night, as well. The company will have as many as 20 drivers on the roads and expects to make about 500 taxi runs -- the number it made last New Year's Eve, said Bobby O'Toole, driver manager at Alpine Taxi.

"It definitely is the busiest night of the year for us," O'Toole said.

Alpine Taxi offers local taxi service throughout New Year's Eve. Customers can make a reservation until 11 p.m. to be picked up. To get a taxi ride after that, people should call Alpine Taxi when they are ready to be picked up, and they will be picked up on a first-come, first-served basis.

Alpine Taxi aims to get people within 30 minutes of their calls or sooner, O'Toole said.

Alpine Taxi also provides chartered vehicles. It can be reached at 879-TAXI, or 879-8294.

Black Diamond Shuttle Express, 870-9991, and Storm Mountain Express, 879-1963, offer chartered vehicles for groups. Both have vehicles available for New Year's Eve and recommend booking in advance.

-- To reach Susan Cunningham, call 871-4203 or e-mail sbacon@steamboatpilot.com

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