Extra buses, police on New Year's Eve

City transit, law enforcement prepare for tonight's festivities

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— There will be little need to drive on New Year's Eve, as the Steamboat Springs Transit service will be out in full force tonight for its busiest night of the year.

Supervisor Gabe Gassaway said all 13 city buses will be running beginning at 4:30 this afternoon, and riders can expect to catch a ride from downtown toward the base of Steamboat Ski Area until 2 a.m.

"We're running everything we've got," Gassaway said. "We're amping up our service for the night and running six extra buses."

Gassaway said last New Year's Eve was the busiest night of the year for the free bus system, as about 12,000 riders were served. This year, Gassaway estimated about 10,000 riders will use the buses.

Because of the service increase, riders should have to wait no longer than 10 to 15 minutes for buses.

Local law enforcement officers also will be out on the roads for increased patrols. Last year, there were five New Year's Eve arrests for suspicion of driving under the influence - two by the Colorado State Patrol and three by the Routt County Sheriff's Office. There were no DUI arrests by the Steamboat Springs Police Department.

The police department will have extra officers on duty for the night to watch for inebriated drivers, Sgt. Dale Coyner said.

"We're going to continue doing what we've done in the past, which is as things get busy, we set up districts for the officers to quicken our response time," Coyner said. "We'll be ready to rock and roll."

State Patrol Trooper David Kerker said there will be two troopers working, as usual, and no extra check points or checks that he is aware of.

Statewide, the State Patrol is starting a DUI enforcement period beginning at 6 p.m. today and continuing through 3 a.m. Monday. Named "Heat is On," the enforcement program is designed to encourage drivers to plan before drinking during the holidays.

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