Catching a cab on New Year's Eve is practically an Olympic sport. While it does require a lot of skill, when it really comes down to it, it's all about dumb luck. Even if you've mastered the art of hailing a cab and quickly corralling your drunk entourage in, there is no guarantee that you'll be able to find one in the first place.
We've come up with a few handy alternatives to ensure that you'll eventually make it home in the wee hours of New Year's Day, even if you find yourself in a cab desert:
CTA Penny Rides
The New Year's Eve "penny rides," the CTA's yearly tradition of charging only a penny for all bus and train rides on New Year's Eve, has been making the holiday a lot safer and cheaper for a few years now. Pack your pockets with pennies before you leave for the night for inexpensive, easy transportation.
Miller Lite Free Rides
It looks like beer will be doing a lot of good this New Year's Eve. Miller Lite is sponsoring two private shuttle buses that will run from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. Dec. 31. The buses will run on a looped route with stops in The Loop, River North, Old Town, Lincoln Park, Wrigleyville and South Loop, at neighborhood restaurants, bars, and several L stations.
For routes and schedule information, call 1-800-FREE-RIDES or visit the website.
New Year's Eve Critical Mass
Do you prefer party hopping on two wheels instead of four? If you're planning to bike to the bars to ring in the New Year, remember that handy rule about safety in numbers, and join other two-wheeled revelers for part of your ride. The Chainlink is organizing a New Year's Eve ride that will meet at the Marilyn Monroe statue on Michigan Avenue and depart around 7 p.m.
If you're not down for biking around in the cold, go for the next best thing: paying someone else to do the sweating and the pedaling for you while you sit comfortably. Be on the lookout for pedicab drivers throughout the night if you're looking for a fun way to get to the next bar. Since many pedicab drivers set their own prices, a ride could cost as little as $10 or as high as $80, but generally are about $25.
Check out Chicago-Rickshaw.com and Pedicabchicago.com for more information.
Outsource A Designated Driver
It's not easy to talk a friend into giving up a night of New Year's drinking for the good of the group. The service BeMyDD saves you the humiliation of begging by matching you up with a designated driver who will pick you up at your chosen location at the end of the night and drive you and your car home for you. You can pay a few ways: $15 an hour, $25 for the pickup plus mileage, or $2.95 for the first 10 miles and $1.50 for each additional mile.
Call 1-877-U-BEMYDD(877-823-6933) or visit BeMyDD.com to get more information or to reserve a driver.