So RTA woke me up this morning with a text message touting their free New Year's Eve service. Yes, passengers may ride RTA routes free today, starting at 18:00 until the end of service on that route. On some routes, of course, that means there's maybe one free bus. This service is funded by the CHP and other law enforcement agencies as an attempt at reducing drunk driving, and in places like LA or Orange County, where they actually have late-night bus service, I'm sure it does just that. However, by the time the buses stop running around here we're only JUST breaking out the bubbly. And who really wants to go home before midnight on New Year's? Isn't that the entire point of being out in the first place?
If RTA and their law-enforcement partners REALLY wanted to persuade folks to catch a ride home on New Year's instead of driving, perhaps they could fund hourly service on all routes until 02:00 New Year's Day. That might actually make a difference. Of course, it would be a logistical nightmare, and it would cost a lot more than two or three hours of lost fare revenue... but it would actually accomplish something. This program? It's a meaningless gesture, a useless waste of administration costs and taxpayer money.