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Police increase DUI patrols; Metro offers free rides

A road sign and cones lead westbound drivers on Alondra Boulevard through a DUI checkpoint manned by Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputies March 6, 2014 in Bellflower.
A road sign and cones lead westbound drivers on Alondra Boulevard through a DUI checkpoint manned by Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputies March 6, 2014 in Bellflower.
Stuart Palley/KPCC

If you're planning on driving to this year's Christmas and New Year's celebrations, be aware that SoCal law enforcement agencies will be closely watching for drivers who have had too much to drink.

Or, instead of driving, you could take Metro, which is offering free rides on its bus and rail lines on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. (See below.)

"It's time for all drivers to get the message," LAPD Lt. Dave Ferry said in a statement. "Drunk driving is a choice you make and when you make that choice, people can get hurt or die. ... The safest way to get home is to drive sober or catch a ride with a sober designated driver."

The California Highway Patrol will also be engaged in its "Maximum Enforcement Period" (MEP) over the Christmas weekend, beginning at 6:01 p.m. on Thursday and ending at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday.

"The focus of this holiday MEP is speed limit enforcement; however, CHP officers and drug recognition experts will be watching for all signs of impaired driving as well as assisting motorists wherever needed," the CHP said in a statement.

LAPD checkpoints and patrols

The Los Angeles Police Department will have DUI and driver's license checkpoints set up at the following locations:

Saturday, Dec. 26:

Saturday, Jan. 2

The LAPD will also be conducting "saturation patrols" with higher numbers of patrol officers watching for drivers who appear to be impaired. The patrols will be in the following locations:

Sunday, Dec. 27

Van Nuys area, 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 29

Central Division area (Bunker Hill/Historic Core, Central City East, Chinatown, Civic Center, Downtown Los Angeles, Fashion District, Jewelry District, Little Tokyo, Old Bank District, Solano Canyon, South Park-Entertainment, Toy District), 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Sunday, Jan. 3

Northeast Division area (Atwater Village, Cypress Park, Eagle Rock, East Hollywood, Echo Park, Elysian Park, Elysian Valley, Franklin Hills, Garvanza, Glassell Park, Highland Park, Los Feliz, Mount Washington, Silver Lake, Solano Canyon), from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Metro service

Christmas Eve: Buses and trains will follow their regular weekday schedules. Free fares will be in effect from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Christmas Day: All services will operate on a Sunday/holiday schedule. Bus lines without Sunday service will not operate. However, Metro Rail plus the Orange and Silver lines will operate late-night service until approximately 2 a.m., as Christmas Day falls on a Friday this year.

New Year’s Eve: Buses and trains will follow their regular weekday schedules. Free fares will be in effect from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.  Overnight, 24-hour service will be provided on the Red, Purple, Blue, Expo, Green, Gold, Orange and Silver lines in addition to bus lines which normally operate late, night-owl service. Metro Rail and the Orange Line will run every 20 minutes from approximately 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. The Silver Line will run every 60 minutes from 12 a.m. to 4 a.m., following the same intervals as the late-night schedule.

New Year’s Day: Services will operate on a Sunday/holiday schedule with enhanced and frequent Metro Rail service for the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl game in Pasadena, and late-night Metro Rail plus Orange and Silver Line service until approximately 2 a.m. as New Year’s Day falls on a Friday this year. This means bus lines without Sunday service will not operate.