Calgary Transit NYE Service Should Be Free

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Calgary Transit NYE

On New Years eve, Calgary Transit will have some routes running until 3:00 am, which is great! What I wouldn’t give for 24hr c-train service omg! Longer hours can never hurt. What could be better!? Calgary Transit NYE service running for free. That would be better.

Like other cities do; like Calgary Transit used to do, offer up service for free. Here’s an archived copy of their website from 2012, free after 6:00 pm.

There’s actually a lot of people that still think they still offer it for free.

Edmonton, for example, our most bitter rival, extends service until 3:30 am and offers it up for free.


Who else has free public transit on New Years Eve?

  • Vancouver, free from 5:00 pm till 5:00 am
  • Toronto, free from 7:00 pm till 7:00 am
  • Regina, free from 7:00 pm till 2:15 am
  • Sudbury, free from 10:30 pm till 2:30 am
  • Brantford, free from 6:30 pm till 2:00 am
  • Guelph, free from 7:00 pm till close
  • Peterborough, free from 7:20 pm till close
  • Brampton, free from 7:00 pm till close
  • York region, free from 7:00 pm till close


There’s probably more, but you get the idea. In some cases they’re sponsored by beer companies, such as Guelph, being sponsored by Sleeman, or by insurance companies. A business that has a vested interest in promoting a safe night out. Winnipeg transit will likely be doing free new years eve transit, sponsored by an insurance company, but no media release on that yet, but that’s what happened in previous years.  
See here:

Free on Christmas

Service is free on Christmas day, but people aren’t out partying and drinking like crazy and celebrating, they’re home with their families or going out for Chinese food or maybe hitting up a movie theater. Barely anything else is even open. I wonder what kind of overtime rates they’re paying drivers on Christmas while offering the service for free.

Free service on new years eve would go a long way to help combat drunk driving and show Calgary they’re serious about people arriving home alive, I think. There may be facts and evidence to back this up, or refute it, but I don’t have any of that. This is just my opinion.


Calgary Transit NYE


Make the service free from 6:00 pm until 3:00 am!

One of the reasons I think it should be free, is for peace of mind and planning ahead of time. I don’t really think the COST of paying for tickets deters anyone, but you can head out for your night of debauchery knowing that whatever happens, you aren’t going to be left out in the cold. You won’t have to fight someone for a cab, if you can get one at all (or having to worry about Uber surge pricing). Uber brings some nice relief, thankfully. Guessing some people are going to be paying through the nose for it when drunk and not understanding how that works, but that’s another topic.

Being able to just leave your vehicle at home, going out to celebrate, it could prevent all sorts of drunk driving issues. Certainly won’t stop them all of course, but I believe it will help. Even one preventable death would be great.

“But Crackmacs, you can just buy a ticket ahead of time!”

True, however the people who will be out there drinking and driving aren’t exactly the best at planning things out ahead of time. If it were free, nothing to worry about, other than stumbling to the stop/station.


Not just for the drunks.

In addition, people not drinking can also benefit from it. Taking the family to see fireworks, or some other event, without needing to drop a $20 just to get there and back, that would go a long way for some people.

Why can’t we? What makes it so difficult for Calgary to do the same?

Maybe someone knows a company who could sponsor this? Would be great PR.

/end rant


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4 thoughts on “Calgary Transit NYE Service Should Be Free”

  1. I know this is a few years old, but some info if anyone is wondering about 2022/23 – a fare is still required to use transit on NYE. The extension of service hours costs the city more than $100,000 in maintenance (extra cleaning/wear and tear), wages (often OT), fuel, etc. The fares from the limited amount of people using transit on that evening is needed to help cover some of those costs.

    I understand wanting folks to have a safe way home – but they should be able to scrape together $3.60 for the ride. Heck of a lot cheaper than taking an Uber or Cab.

    Please Don’t Drink and Drive!

  2. Gee It cost almost 500grand a day to operate transit. It’s not a business it relies 55% on fares and 45% from taxes Think about it free service for 12 hrs means they have to cut somewhere else. Plus they will be paying a few hundred people overtime. What about the people who buy monthly passes? Should they get a rebate because half a day is free? Transit now has to come up with 2 million to pay carbon taxes..why don’t you complain about Carbon’ll be paying for it with higher fares.

    suck it up butter cups.

    • I’m a monthly pass holder (well, we both are usually), I don’t think we should get a rebate. As far cutting the money from elsewhere, If I had to choose, I’d prefer to see them take it from operating free on Christmas day.

      I by no means think I’m an expert at budgeting or operating city wide public transit, but if Edmonton can do it, why can’t we? Their fares are pretty much the same as ours and they have a somewhat similar structure of trains and buses. We might have like 350k more people than they do, but I find it hard to believe that’s where the difference lies.

      Free transit on NYE makes no difference to me personally, I rarely even go out (and won’t be this year either, I don’t think), but it could very well save a life or two. I would love to see and support that. In addition, if Calgary Transit can’t figure out how to budget for it themselves, why not try to recruit a sponsor, like other cities somehow are able to? I bet there’s lots of local businesses that would love to, or at least a joint effort of some kind.

      As far as fares increasing because of a carbon tax.. they already go up almost every year, already used to it. Not too concerned. Plus, that has nothing to do with saving lives, which was kind of the topic here. For the record, I’ve never voted NDP, but it doesn’t really bother me.

      Thanks for the comment though (seriously, I enjoy discussion!)

  3. I didn’t know Christmas was free transit until Dec 25th, 2014 when I was in emergency all Christmas Eve for kidney stones at the Rockyview (I can’t complain, the drugs are good). Pleasant surprise when the transit driver informed me I didn’t have to dig through my wallets for change on the trip home.


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