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An RTD bus sits outside the downtown terminal in Denver on Oct. 2, 2020. (Forrest Czarnecki/The Denver Gazette)

Breaking from its annual tradition, Denver RTD announced Wednesday that it will not be providing free bus and light rail service on New Year’s Eve because of COVID-19 concerns.

Typically, bus and light rail services are free from Dec. 31 at 7 p.m. to Jan. 1 at 6 a.m. to help prevent residents from driving under the influence.

“In light of pandemic restrictions in place throughout RTD’s eight-county service district that pertain to social gatherings and events, the agency will not be offering free rides on its services this year,” the announcement said.

State health officials have urged Coloradans to celebrate New Year’s Eve at home this year only with those they live with to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

In Red Level counties such as Denver, personal gatherings and celebrations are banned and bars and event venues are closed completely.

RTD will be providing bus and light rail services on its normal weekday schedule Thursday and on its holiday schedule Friday. Regular fares will be collected.

Face coverings and social distancing are required for RTD customers. RTD currently limits capacity to 15 passengers on a standard bus, 20 on a larger bus and 30 on a light rail car.

Routes and schedules are available on the agency’s website.

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