By Jeff Wagner

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s no secret that police have their eyes on drunk drivers as people ring in the new year.

In Shakopee, they’re basically gifting partiers a way to avoid ending up in the back seat of a squad car.

“So we’re giving people no excuse. Obviously, we want people to have a good time, go out, have fun, but we want people to get home safe,” said Nicole Clifton, crime prevention specialist.

With a voucher, Shakopee residents can get a free cab ride home courtesy of the police department and crime prevention unit.

“So the taxi companies love it. They’re getting that business. The bars love it because people are coming in knowing they have a safe ride home,” Clifton said.

For those heading to downtown Minneapolis or St. Paul, the light rail helps with avoiding those dangerous drivers.

“So we’re gonna head over to a party on First Avenue and then probably gonna take the light rail back once we get done,” Tyler Russell said.

And it won’t cost him a dime. The light rail, as well as metro transit buses, are free until 3 a.m. thanks to Miller Free Rides.

“I think it’s a great idea. Just smart to keep people off the roads and still let people have a good time, so it makes a lot of sense,” Eric Disanza said.

Dollars and cents, that is.

Ride shares and taxis are in high demand on New Year’s Eve, which drives up the price. All the more reason to opt for public transit in the Twin Cities.

“Tonight’s gonna be a fun night, so hopefully we can stay safe not only for us but for everyone else that we’re around,” Russell said.

A tip for those celebrating tonight: rather than waiting outside a venue downtown, ride the light rail or a bus further away from the crowds and order your ride there. It could save you a few bucks.

Jeff Wagner