Y’all salute the monorail? : Travel Weekly

Sarah Feldberg

When I first moved to Las Vegas in 2008, I remember choosing to stay at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino while looking for an apartment. Just east of the Strip on Paradise Road, it seemed close enough to Las Vegas Boulevard to stroll for a quick snack but far enough to escape the tourist rush. It was perfect.

As I learned shortly after checking in, the Hard Rock is within walking distance of the Strip, provided you’re willing to walk 2 miles to reach that infamous stretch of asphalt.

Distances in Las Vegas are further than they appear. With casinos stretching across entire city blocks and hotels offering thousands of rooms, just walk from the Caesars Palace parking lot to Qua Baths and Spa for at least five minutes.

These distances mean several things: lots of tourists with weary feet, heavy traffic in the casino hallway, and that a well-executed public transportation system would have the potential to relieve both.

Officially opened in 2004, the Las Vegas Monorail is a private public transportation system that primarily serves the Strip. It connects eight resorts and the Las Vegas Convention Center, with seven stops along the east side of the Strip. To the north, there are stations at SLS, Westgate and the Convention Center. To the south, his last stop is the MGM Grand. Tickets are $5 each way for out-of-town passengers with a $12 unlimited day pass. Total annual traffic: 5 million people. Total distance traveled: 4 miles.

To increase this number of passengers and bring more of Las Vegas’ estimated 43 million annual visitors on board, the monorail proposed a one-mile extension that would add a stop at the southern end of the route at Mandalay Bay.

“With this expansion, the monorail will directly connect 35,000 hotel rooms, 7 million square feet of convention space, two arenas, and hundreds of restaurants, retail and entertainment,” said Ingrid Reisman, vice -President and Marketing Director of the Las Vegas Monorail. . “The extension is expected to add around 2 million passengers per year.”

The extension will also bring the monorail closer to the future NFL stadium near Mandalay Bay. Reisman said about 3,000 to 4,000 runners are expected to ride the monorail to get to stadium events.

The expansion project has received approval from Clark County, and Reisman said they hope to close funding in the first quarter of 2018. The approximate timeline for construction and testing of the new track would be 28 months.

But while the proposed expansion would likely increase ridership and make the monorail more useful for more visitors, it doesn’t fix some of the system’s flaws, including a general lack of awareness that Las Vegas has a monorail.

Even those who know of its existence question its usefulness. On a TripAdvisor forum, various users offer answers to the question: “What’s so bad about the monorail?”

The general consensus is that it’s not that bad, but it’s not as useful as it could be. One issue is the placement of the stations, often at the back of sprawling resort properties, away from porte-cocheres where visitors seek out taxis and limos and a fairly long walk to many casino attractions and the Strip itself. itself, not to mention the hotel. the street.

As TripAdvisor ridership statistics and reviews suggest, if you are traveling to a destination on the west side of the Strip (i.e. Bellagio or Caesars Palace) or a station not serviced directly by a monorail, cost and convenience just doesn’t make the train a compelling option.

Perhaps the most serious problem is that the monorail does not reach McCarran Airport, where it would provide a vital link between visitors and their hotels, potentially reducing congestion and pollution on the Strip.

“A connection to McCarran International Airport has always been part of Las Vegas Monorail’s long-term expansion strategy,” Reisman said, adding that the company is focusing first on Mandalay Bay and then potentially on a stop at the Sands Expo and Convention Center. “An airport connection would be an obvious next step.”

Ironically, the planned extension will take the monorail track right next to McCarran, even installing supports on airport property. But monorail passengers will have to watch the airport go by until they reach Mandalay Bay, where they can get off the monorail and hail a taxi.

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