As Kiwis wrap up the working year today and plan end-of-year-drinks, public transport across Auckland will be free.

Police say the Friday before Christmas is one of the worst days of the year for drink-driving.

Under Auckland Transport's Home Free promotion, all customers with HOP cards tagging on after 4pm will receive no charge on their account.

Tāmaki Makaurau road policing manager Inspector Scott Webb said the initiative gives people the opportunity to enjoy an after-work drink and ensure they get home safely, and urges people to take up the opportunity and leave their cars at home.


Auckland police will also be out in force breath testing people to make sure they're not tipsy or drunk when they get behind the wheel.

AT staff and police have been conducting checkpoints across the city over the past two weekends, with a "disappointingly" high number of people caught driving under the influence, police said.

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In Counties Manukau, more than 15,700 vehicles have been stopped and tested, with 168 people being processed for alcohol related driving offences.

A large number of them were several times over the legal limit, with 97 people heading to court on alcohol related charges as a result.

Webb said the figures were very concerning, and there was absolutely no excuse for motorists to be drinking to excess and then driving.

He acknowledged people were heading out to celebrate with friends and would be attending after-work parties, but said police priority was ensuring people are safe and get to their destinations safely.

"This isn't about people choosing to drink, but about people choosing to do so without making appropriate plans to get themselves home safely.


"Many people appear to be putting others at risk by failing to plan and driving under the influence of alcohol."

Police will be out in force breath testing this Friday and over the holiday period. Photo / File
Police will be out in force breath testing this Friday and over the holiday period. Photo / File

Alcohol made up around 29 per cent of all death and serious injury crashes, Webb said.

In the 2017/2018 official holiday road period there were 11 fatal crashes and 329 reported injury crashes throughout the country.

"That year 11 people lost their lives on our roads throughout the country. That's 11 people who won't be with their loved ones this year and an even greater number who will be living with the consequence and tragedy of someone being killed on our roads."

Police would be highly visible on the roads over the holidays - and made "no apologies" for trying to keep the roads safer.