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City of Austin waives parking ticket fees for drinkers who leave cars overnight

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Austin Photo Set: News_Kerri Lendo_parking tickets_Nov 2011
The City of Austin will waive fees for parking tickets with proof of a bus fare or taxi receipt. Courtesy photo

As our citywide conversation on drinking and driving continues, the City of Austin has launched a new service outlining the ways in which folks can safely get home after a night of partying. In addition to the standard list of cab companies, pedicabs and car services available around town, the City outlined a few interesting initiatives that many of us may not know exist.

 If you drive downtown and have a few drinks, The City of Austin encourages you to leave your car and use alternative forms of transit to get home. 

For Austinites who drive downtown, but end up having a few drinks, the City wants to remind you that leaving your car and using alternative forms of transit to get home is an option.

If you know you're going to be imbibing, many downtown parking kiosks offer the option to buy time for the next day. Before heading into that swanky wine bar or meeting the friend who always encourages shots of Fireball, simply hit that big yellow button, slap that parking sticker on your windshield and be on your merry way.

Also, officials note, parking enforcement does not start until 8 am on weekdays and 11 am on Saturdays. If you know you can get back to your vehicle before the enforcement team hits the streets, you don't even need to purchase next day parking. So, if you find you've had one to many during that post-work happy hour, don't worry. Just jump on a bus and pick up your car before heading into the office the next day.

But what if this option isn't available at your kiosk? If you get a parking ticket for leaving your vehicle overnight, don't worry. Grab a receipt from the taxi or keep your bus ticket as proof of your responsible choice, and the fee will be waived. (You must take proof to the Department of Transportation office at 1111 Rio Grande St.) It's also important to note that the City won't tow your vehicle simply for being in an expired metered spot overnight, and meters are not enforced on Sunday.

Austinites who use CapMetro with any frequency know the frustration of waiting for a bus only to remember that they stop running long before bars let out. The City also points out that residents who live near the University of Texas campus, Riverside Drive or West Campus can hop on the E-Bus after a night out for just one dollar. (UT students, faculty and staff ride for free.)

The E-Bus picks up downtown at the corner of East Seventh and San Jacinto streets until 3 am on Thursday through Saturday. It drops off at Nueces and 27th streets; Whitis and 21st streets; Riverside Drive and Parker Lane; Crossing Place; and Lakeshore and Riverside drives. For more information, including schedules, visit the E-Bus website. And before you scoff at the idea of getting on a bus filled with drunk college students, remember: you're probably going to be drunk, too. And, hey, maybe you'll get a good story out of it.

All of this is part a new "Know Before You Go" campaign aimed at encouraging Austinites to think of alternative ways to get home before they know they're going to be drinking. For a full list of resources, including how to add your own ideas, head to Know Before You Go homepage.

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