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People look over at the Metropolitan Transit Authority "Nostalgia" vintage subway train from a F train on the opposite track in New York City. / Preston Rescigno, Getty Images

Just because you're taking public transportation after a night of revelry on New Year's Eve doesn't mean you can take safety for granted.

Recent incidents in Washington, D.C., have illustrated the potential dangers of over-indulging and then navigating a subway stop. Authorities say at least six intoxicated Metro riders have been injured in recent weeks, two of whom fell off escalators and tumbled onto rail tracks.

USA TODAY Network contacted public transportation officials in several major cities to see whether authorities were implementing any special measures to prevent dangerous incidents at public transit stations this New Year's Eve.

New York

The New York City Police Department says since large crowds and traffic delays are expected, they advise people to use public transportation, like the city's subway. The department says there will be many police officers at different checkpoints to enforce the subway's rules, which include fines for drinking and impairment at a transit stop, and to handle any situation that may arise.

Los Angeles

The Metro Rail will provide service from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve to give people an alternative to driving while intoxicated. Ramon Montenegro, a spokesman with the Los Angeles County's Sheriff's Office, says authorities will be out on the platforms and cameras will monitor anything that may occur.

Montenegro says he has never received any reports of fatalities or injuries due to a person being intoxicated during New Year's celebrations and recommends those who have been drinking to take the rail.

"If they have been drinking, then we prefer for them to ride public transit instead of getting behind the wheel," Montenegro said. "If they are a hazard to themselves and to other people, then we would have to step in."

Washington, D.C.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority says they will have personnel and police on hand to patrol the Metro in case altercations occur and to ensure people get home safely.

"We will be monitoring the system on an hourly basis," Metro spokeswoman Caroline Laurin said. "We will be watching for any sign of trouble, and we will continue to do so throughout tonight."

As a precaution, personnel encourage anyone who has had too much to drink to take a taxi home instead of riding the Metro.

"We've had people who have fallen down," she said. "It's inherently dangerous. There is heavy machinery and lots of electricity."

San Francisco

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency will be offering free rides on New Year's Eve from 8 p.m. through 5 a.m. to keep people from driving while intoxicated. Police say they will be working in assigned areas in transit stations to patrol large crowds and promise harsh consequences if someone is found extremely intoxicated.

"We have no tolerance for people who are drinking alcohol beverages in public," San Francisco Police spokesman Albie Esparza said. "Obviously, people are going to drink. But for people who are going to be drinking and are too intoxicated to take care of yourself, then they will be spending the night with us."

Esparza also warned of the dangers that come with excessive consumption of alcohol.

"Every year, we have people who over indulge in their alcohol consumption," he said. "We have seen them fall over and hit their head on the sidewalk. We have seen people who have become a victim of robbery or a crime" in part because of how intoxicated they were.

"We just want people to go home safe after celebrating," he said.

Boston

Boston's greater subway system generally receives 1.3 million travelers throughout the day, and Joseph O'Connor, superintendent-in-chief of Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Police, says authorities are expecting large crowds for New Year's festivities.

O'Connor says authorities will respond if people are caught breaking laws.

"MBTA will have a number of extra personnel working so if there is any incident, a number of staff will take care of it on the transportation system," he said. "There will be transportation officials monitoring crowds so we don't expect it to be a problem for us."

Chicago

The Chicago Transit Authority says to prevent people from driving drunk, free rail rides, known as "Penny Rides," will be available to customers between 10 p.m. on New Year's Eve until 4 a.m. the next morning. Authorities will be patrolling stations throughout the night in case incidents occur.

The transit authority and the Chicago Police Department "employ a number of policing strategies to combat crime and monitor safety on the transit system," according to transit authority spokeswoman Catherine Hosinski. She cited the authority's surveillance system as part of their efforts. The system "includes more than 3,600 cameras on its rail system, more than 5,000 cameras on rail cars and as many as 10 cameras on each of CTA's more than 1,800 buses," she said.



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: Drinking tonight? Cities say wasted transit riding a no-no

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