Outsourcing your transportation is a good choice, espcially when it comes to citywide events, for several reasons. For the public transportation options, it's less environmentally destructive than riding solo. Secondly, even if using private transportation, it also avoids the $18,000 spent on DUI and DWI fees. Sorry for the somberness, but people die from lack of transportation planning when it comes to large alcohol-centered events and celebrations. Another practical, slightly less fear-based, reason - it's almost impossible to find free parking, or parking at all, at large events like the Greenville Avenue St. Patrick's Day Parade, the State Fair of Texas, New Year's Eve, or even a concert at Gexa Energy Pavilion.
Whether you go out much or not, here are some alternative transportation options other than driving yourself any time you want to go out and consume alcohol by yourself or with your friends.
1. Lyft - Have you seen the cars with the pink mustaches? Those are Lyft drivers. They are the AirBnB of taxis - regular people drive customers using his/her car to drive you to your location of choice. After interviewing several drivers, I found for most it's a second job, or they just do it for fun and some extra cash. They get to set their own price and it's usually less than a cab ride, but maybe not for long. This "on-demand ride sharing" business started in San Francisco and soon after made their way to other metros like Big D. They recently expanded their range to the burbs. We've used the service several times and will never go back to parking ourselves for major Dallas events like the State Fair, St. Paddy's Day Greenville Ave Parade, or NYE in Victory Park. Download the Lyft app.
2. Uber - If you haven't heard of Uber you must be living under a rock, digitally speaking. They are the original taxi-but-not-a-taxi/limo-buy-not-a limo category-creating interruption technology company. Put simply, you ping them via their app, and within 10 - 15 minutes you have a professionally limo-licensed guy wearing a suit drive up in black sedan to wherever you are standing. Just like Lyft you don't have to break out your credit card, or squabble over a tip. It's all taken care of via your credit card already placed in the app. You feel like the President being escorted by the Secret Service, or in the very least like a rich dude on a weekend out. It's a bit priceier than Lyft, but great for business travel or date night. Download the Uber app.
3. uberX - This is Uber's answer to Lyft. It's regular people with regular cars and it's less expensive than regular Uber. We have a friend that drives for uberX, and she loves it. She does PR during the day, but also a good amount of PR for uberX via her Facebook page. The stories, oh the stories. When you just need to get from one place to another without all the bells and whistles, and you don't want a pink mustache on the car you pull up in (cough...stiff), go with uberX. You can access uberX using the same app so you can decide whether you're feeling more Kanye or Kelly Clarkson on any given night.
4. E-Frogs - You may have seen these small electric carts carting and dropping off Deep Ellum and Downtownies at bars. These "eco-friendly rides on green shuttles" are a great way to get around the Downtown area quickly, emissions and DUI-free. There are two models of the vehicles; one holds three passengers, the other five. Rides are free and the business operates on tips. According to owner Gary Haag, tips usually range from $5 to $20 depending on how many people are riding. E-Frogs serves Uptown, Downtown, Oaklawn, Greenville Avenue, Deep Ellum, Knox/Henderson, and Victory Park areas. and operates Monday-Wednesday 5:30pm – 12:00am and Thursday-Saturday 5:30pm – 2:00 AM. Give Gary a call or text at (214) 458-7358.
5. Dallas Pedicabs - Beginning in 2011, Dallas pedicabs has been trying to "make sustainable transportation in Dallas a reality, while providing unique riding experience." Yes, a pedicab is a guy on a bike with a two-person seat that will give you a ride a ride to dinner, a bar, a friend's apartment or just to grab a bite. They recommend flagging them down or calling for a ride. All of their drivers are cool and you're guaranteed to have a good time. Follow them on Twitter (@DallasPedicabs) and check out their Territory map.
6. McKinney Avenue Transit Authority M-Line Trolley - The M-Line's air-conditioned and heated trolleys run 365 days a year, providing local transit service to Dallas' vibrant Uptown Neighborhood. All rides, except charters, are free. There is a voluntary fare box, and I'm sure contributions are welcomed. Trolleys are only available for private parties on Fridays from 8 PM to midnight, Saturdays from 10 AM to midnight, and Sundays from 10 AM to 10 PM. Plan your Uptown and Downtown tour using their route map.
7. D-Link - If you have spent much time in Oak Cliff or Downtown, you've probably seen the D-Link in the last couple of months. But, did you know it's free? That's right. This free-to-the public service started in Nov. 2013 and is provided by DART, Downtown Dallas, Inc. and the City of Dallas. If you and a couple of friends live Downtown and want to hang out for karaoke night at Oak Cliff Social Club, but don't want to drive, take D-Link. The buses run every 15 minutes, 11 a.m. - 11:30 p.m., Monday-Saturday. More info & routes.
8. DART Light Rail - DART stands for Dallas Area Rapid Transit. For an $80 monthly pass you can take unlimited trips via the red, green, and not yet quote complete orange line (Oct. 2014). For major events in Dallas like New Year's Eve in Victory Park, Texas-OU weekend at the State Fair, Greenville Ave St Patrick's Day Parade, and others, the DART Light Rail is the best way to avoid parking hell. It can save you $100s in gas a month, plus wear and tear on your car if you regularly commute to Plano or Richardson for work, and vice versa. Check out their route map.
9. DART Bus - This is the same as as DART Rail, only a little more nimble since these buses take the the streets instead of a track. You can use the same pass as the rail, but don't have to necessarily walk or drive to the station. DART buses go all over town and can be as little as a five minute walk from your front door. Some use a combination of rail and bus to get to work, have a night on the town, or go to special events. Check out their schedules and route map.
10. Yellow Cab Dallas - We've all used them. I don't have to beat this yellow drum. It's not as fun as Uber or Lyft, and they will give you a furrowed brow if you hand them a credit card, but sometimes its the most convenient if you are already out and your smartphone is dead.