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Seattle bracing for busy New Year’s Eve

As tens of thousands of revelers converge on Seattle for New Year’s Eve festivities, everyone from car companies to cops are bracing for the big night.

The Seattle Police Department plans to have extra patrols out in force, especially at the Space Needle for the annual midnight fireworks.

“We’ll have plenty of uniformed and plainclothes officers alike around the area to help make sure everyone has a safe celebration,” says Det. Jeff Kappel.

The increasingly popular Uber car service is preparing for one of its busiest nights of the year, warning customers to be ready to pay a lot more for the service than they’re used to. The company will employ its “surge pricing” model during peak times, especially after midnight.

How high can it go? The company won’t say. But Uber has drawn plenty of criticism for jacking rates at peak times, going as high as eight-times more than standard during a big winter storm that hit the northeast earlier this month.

Other car and cab companies plan to have as many cars on the road as possible to help safely ferry party-goers to and from the numerous activities around town.

King County Metro, Community Transit, and Pierce County Transit will all will be operating on a holiday schedule, which means fewer buses and routes could make for some crowding, especially as revelers head for home.

“Transit’s always a great option when you’re traveling around on New Year’s Eve,” says Metro Transit spokesman Jeff Switzer. “But if you’re going to some of those downtown locations or heading to the Space Needle, take a look at the schedules online. Make sure you know how you are going to get to the event and how you are going to get home after that event.”

The Seattle Department of Transportation is warning of extra traffic and road closures around several of the larger events on New Year’s Eve. SDOT will close Occidental Avenue between South Royal Brougham Way and Railroad Way South from 7:30 p.m. on New Year’s Eve until 3:30 a.m. Wednesday morning for an electronic dance festival at CenturyLink Field Event Center. About 15,000 are expected for the event.

Streets around Seattle Center will also be closed from about 11:30 p.m. until approximately 45 minutes after the end of the fireworks, including Fifth Avenue North between Mercer Street and Denny Way, and Broad Street between Fifth Avenue North and North Denny Way.

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