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Travel

Forget driving in Las Vegas. Here are other ways to get around and the cost

Las Vegas Monorail
The Las Vegas Monorail operates every eight minutes from seven stations along a four-mile route on the Strip.
(Las Vegas Monorail)

If you want to see the popular sights in Las Vegas, driving may not be your best option. “While in Las Vegas, do not even think about driving,” says a TripSavvy.com story. “Traffic on the Las Vegas Strip is always bad, and you really do not need to spend your vacation looking at the sights from a car.”

Las Vegas welcomes more than 42 million visitors a year, and a good share of them make their way to the iconic “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada” sign that’s turning 60 this month.

So what does that leave? Plenty of other options, some that may be inexpensive too. With parking fees now in effect at some hotels and attractions, visitors may want to try a ride-share, a bus or even an e-bike.

Las Vegas
Trying to get anywhere along the Strip, a.k.a. Las Vegas Boulevard, can be challenging by car or by foot.
(Sam Morris/Las Vegas News Bureau)
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I looked at different transportation options based on a ride from the Flamingo on the Strip to the Plaza (just across the street from downtown’s Fremont Street Experience ). Here’s what I learned.

Taxi

Taxi
A taxi driver makes the trip from the Strip to downtown Las Vegas in 14 minutes on a Saturday afternoon.
(Jay Jones)

The most expensive option for my 6.5-mile journey was a taxi. On a recent Saturday afternoon, I paid $24.69, excluding tip, for the 14-minute ride that took the 15 Freeway, not the crowded Strip, to get to downtown. By the way, you can’t just hail a taxi in Vegas; you have to line up at a taxi stand at a hotel.

Rise-share services

Lyft and Uber charge roughly the same amount: $13.17 and $12.18 respectively. The nonshared ride didn’t include a tip. And, like taxis, you have to go to a designated pickup location at hotels.

Buses

Las Vegas transit buses
The Deuce, left, and SDX buses travel a 9-mile route, primarily along Las Vegas Boulevard, offering visitors an inexpensive way to see the sights without being stuck in a car.
(Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada )

Taking a municipal bus turned out to be the least expensive journey at just $6, but it also takes longer.

The Strip and Downtown Express, or SDX, (operates 9 a.m. to midnight every 15 minutes) and the double-decker Deuce (operates 24/7 every 15 to 20 minutes) links visitors with popular destinations along the Strip.

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The ride takes 30 minutes on each bus for the 4.5-mile journey. And you need to allow extra time to get to the nearest bus stop. In this case, you could pick up the Deuce at Harrah’s, next door to Flamingo, but for the SDX, you have to walk a little more than a half mile to Wynn.

Both buses, operated by the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, are largely to give tourists a way to get around without a car. Routes travel from downtown destinations south as far as Town Square, a shopping center near the junction of interstates 15 and 215. Both routes stop at the Welcome to Las Vegas sign.

To use the buses, visitors purchase what’s called a Strip & All-Access Pass, which costs $6 for two hours, $8 for 24 hours and $20 for three days. “It gives them a lot of flexibility to see Las Vegas and go anywhere they want without having to pay on a trip-by-trip basis,” transit spokeswoman Monika Bertaki said.

Las Vegas Monorail

Visitors who are mostly clubbing, dining, shopping and sightseeing on the Strip may want to use the Las Vegas Monorail. It runs behind the resorts on a 3.9-mile route between the Sahara and MGM Grand resorts. Fares cost $5 for a single ride and $13 for a 24-hour pass. Mobile ticketing is available.

One drawback: If you are planning to hop on and off, you have to do a lot of walking through casinos to get to and from Monorail stations.

Fifteen percent of Vegas visitors said they used the monorail in 2018, up 4% from the previous year, according to the Las Vegas Visitor Profile Study prepared for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

Electric bicycles

Bike Share
E-bikes were introduced to Las Vegas’ bike share program in mid-August.
(Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada)

Though not intended for lengthy journeys, 20 electric bicycles are now part of the transit agency’s fleet of 200 bikes. The e-bikes are available at 21 stations throughout downtown Las Vegas. A real-time map shows which stations have electric bikes at any given time (look for the symbol of a green lightning bolt).

The electric bikes appear to be a hit since they were launched in mid-August. “Thirty-three percent of all the Bike Share rides taking place are on the electric bikes,” Bertaki said, even though the e-bikes are only 10% of the fleet.

Unlimited half-hour rides over a 24-hour period cost $5, plus $1 each time a bike is unlocked from a dock. A three-day pass costs $10.


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