We've survived the election, the holidays and the apocalypse, so there's even more to celebrate come New Year's Eve. Not only is it almost 2013, but we're all still here — so let's keep it that way.
Given the vast amount of liquor that comes with NYE, operating heavy machinery isn't feasible, and it's not like alt-vehicles are an option, either. If drinking and driving isn't safe, neither is drinking and biking, drinking and skateboarding or even drinking and walking, for that matter.
But even though L.A. urban folklore claims everybody “needs” a car in the city, that's far from the truth. From using a taxi, private car or party bus to public transport, towing and Twitter, we have some of the safest ways to get home on New Year's Day and beyond. And in the spirit of citizen journalism, if you know about any driving alternatives we may have missed, please share them in the comments section, too.
The pedicab used to have the politically incorrect name of “rickshaw,” and today, pedicabs are more like glorified golf carts or motorized Big Wheels. Even though cities like Pittsburgh, Santa Barbara and New Delhi still use the human-powered vehicles, L.A. has yet to have pedicabs — probably because we'd need Lance Armstrong types to power the adult-size tricycles, unless they decided to put together a relay team. So in the absence of pedal-powered vehicles, there's the next best thing: a taxi cab. But which company to choose?
CityCab operates green vehicles, and you can reserve one online. There's also the friendly and prompt Beverly Hills Cab, United Independent Taxi and Yellow Cab, which uses GPS and accepts credit cards. You can text your location to most of the companies, too. And if you're still not sure about which cab company to use, Taxi Magic is an extremely helpful app that can help you decide. Book a cab with your smartphone, track your taxi, pay with a credit card and you're done.
6. Private Cars
If you're looking for something a little more glamorous, there's always the limousine. Register online with Uber, submit your credit-card info and download the Uber app. Then text your location when you need a ride — Uber charges your card and picks you up in a stylish car. You don't need cash or even a credit card on you, so you get home even if you lose your wallet. Best of all, the tip is included.
If you're planning to visit multiple locations and want to reserve a car in advance, consider using Limos.com. After you give them the details of your ride (including the pick-up location and number of people), choose the type of car you want based on your budget, and you have your own chauffeur.
5. Party Buses
Technically, the party bus is a private car, but there are so many companies offering this service in Los Angeles that it deserves a category of its own. With tricked-out features such as WiFi, DJ booths and stripper poles, these vehicles are a mobile NYE celebration on wheels.
Party Bus Los Angeles uses professional bus drivers and services the entire L.A. area, with a focus on Universal Citywalk and downtown (they also do wine tours). Meanwhile, LA Party Bus offers packages and specials along with extended rental rates, and you can usually book a trip online. Finally, ULC Party Bus is operated by reserve officers of the US Armed Forces, so you know they mean business. They have multiple vehicle types, with online quotes, reservations and a live-chat service in case you have any questions — and you'll probably have quite a few.
Budgets don't always leave room for party buses, limos or even taxi cabs, but if you're looking for a way to get around on New Year's Eve, chances are that other people are, too. So pool your resources, join forces and avoid breaking the bank with a carpool. Craigslist has a section devoted entirely to rideshares, where you can browse offers and post your own ride needs, too. There's also Southern California 511, a free service that supplies L.A.-area transport information, including where to find a carpool. Similarly, eRideshare.com is free to join, and you can browse matches based on your needs. While these services are tailored for commuters, they're also a way to help plan special events, and that includes New Year's Eve.
3. Public Transportation
If you're willing to take advantage of L.A.'s public transport system on NYE, there's no need to plan your celebrations around a timetable. The Metro Red, Purple, Blue, Green, Gold and Orange Lines operate a special 24-hour service every 20 minutes, and from 9pm to 2am, it's free. The Metro also offers several apps and other resources for smartphones, including a mobile website, simple trip planner, Nextrip (which forecasts bus arrivals) and the ever-handy Go Metro app, too.
2. Tow Trucks
Usually, getting your car towed isn't a good thing, but with AAA's Tipsy Tow service, you're the one doing the towing. If you're too drunk to drive home, just call 1-800-400-4222, and a tow truck shows up to haul your car and give you a ride up to seven miles away — for free. You don't need to be a member of AAA, either. Of course, you could just park your car wherever you want and another towing company will probably take it away, too.
Finally, let's not forget our most important and reliable resources — our friends. While making plans for New Year's Eve, think about sharing across social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. Or just send out a group email asking whether anyone would be willing to be the designated driver. If New Year's Eve rolls around and you need a last-minute ride home, send out a text to contacts in your address book, or better yet, just pick up the phone and call someone. Chances are they'll be glad to hear from you.