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This is a blog that hopes to help with the confusion of bus riding in Vegas. Comments are encouraged. Spam is not encouraged. Comments that include websites will not be published. Allow time for moderation of all comments.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

new Drop off for Gold Coast free shuttle

Now dropping at the Linq.  That should be much better than that confusing Caesar's drop off.

Few changes

I only get to Vegas once a year now.
However, I can see very few changes on the lines I frequent.

Fares seem to be holding steady.

It does seem that by November there may be more frequent buses along Tropicana and Flamingo.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Just let's review the advantages

Many Vegas visitors have an overcrowded experience on Vegas strip buses, so they give up the idea of bus riding.
Simply planning routes that use residential buses as much as possible, or free shuttles with residential routes eliminates the overcrowding and lowers the expense.
Just a couple examples:
Going from downtown to Mandalay Bay is a long journey even on the SDX bus.
A good alternative is to catch the WAX at Binions and ride to Tropicana. Then cross the street and take the free shuttle from Excalibur to Mandalay Bay.

Going from Palace Station (where maybe you have free nights from MyVegas) to stay downtown for a couple nights seems a challenge that includes bus stops that feel less than comfortable with luggage.
A good alternative is to take the free shuttle Palace Station offers to the airport and then board the WAX for a quick ride downtown.  It might take a bit longer or seem like you are backtracking, but it might be more comfortable and eliminate luggage on strip bus.

The bus is less likely to cause injury.  Some statistics suggest that the chances of being killed in an accident on a bus are 40 times less likely.  Certainly you will find that you are less affected by locals with road rage, tired or drunk tourists doing erratic things, or wild kids racing down streets.  It also protects you from your own exhaustion or over consumption of free alcohol. 

There is no tipping on buses.  Fees are reasonable.  If you know how to buy a 15 day pass, fees are low.

Buses are particularly frugal for solo travelers or those over 60 who pay half price on residential buses and may buy passes that bring the cost of unlimited rides down to about a dollar a day. 

If you want to do a coupon run to try an offstrip buffet or use a matchplay,  already having a bus pass makes the trip in one sense free and adds to the value of hopping about for frugal deals.
With a smart phone you can read bus schedules or actually check to see exactly when the next bus will arrive at a stop.
Buses can get you to out of the way, fun places that most tourists miss.  Perhaps you'd like to see the cactus gardens or the art museum on the University of Nevada campus.  Perhaps you'd like to scope out some off strip eatery with good reviews and prices well below those on the strip.  Perhaps you'd like to skip gambling one day and play old pinball machines.

Buses allow some very interesting day adventures.  For example, you can start downtown and go our Boulder to play around at Sam's town.  Then take the 202 to the Gold Coast.  Then take their free shuttle to the Orleans.  Then take the 201 to the NYNY area of the strip.  An finally you can head back to downtown on the SDX.
Buses are a way to meet people.  Strike up a conversation and ask a few questions and you may gather some incredible stories.

Buses make a smaller carbon footprint.

The savings in gasoline alone make buses a frugal choice.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Reasons for traveling by bus over airlines

Some of these do not fit Vegas.  But they do give us something to think about.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Going from downtown to the Orleans

The fastest route is to take the WAX from in front of Binions and then catch the 201 Tropicana bus to the Orleans.
This is my preferred route, especially when the strip is full of traffic. I'd add that if you buy the 24 hour pass for $5 it would also get you back from the Orleans but the last WAX is at 11:36 from in front of NYNY and the WAX runs about once an hour.

 You could go completely free by heading to Sam's Town first, but it would be a very long trip. However, it can be done, and if you want to spend some time at Sam's Town on the way, it might be a good route. 
Here are two ways that might go:

Free Shuttle from downtown to Sam's Town.
Free shuttle from Sam's Town to Harrah's
Free shuttle from Harrah's to the Rio
Walk across the street to the Gold Coast
Free shuttle to the Orleans

Or, walk from Harrah's to Caesar's and get the free shuttle from there to the Orleans

This would take at least three times longer than the WAX and 201 trip and be much harder to coordinate because you'd have to have the various free shuttle schedules and meet them. I'd expect a wait at some point in that trip.

All that being said, it depends too on what you want the day to be like. For example, If you are heading to the Orleans for say, Young at Heart daytime benefits, then the WAX 201 is your itinerary.
 If, however, you would like to get an early shuttle to Sam's Town so as to make the 10 am cheap poker tournament (about $25) or spend a few hours playing full pay nickel VP at Sam's Town, or on a Sunday see the free Toast of the Town show, and then take the Sam's Shuttle to see a Mac King Show (about $15 with the American Casino Guide Coupon) followed with a visit to the Rio or Gold Coast buffet(free at Gold Coast using American Casino Guide coupon and playing for just 250 points) and a walk across Flamingo for the American Casino Guide $10 free play for new signups at the Palms, then the long free shuttle route might enable you to have an incredibly frugal adventure.
 And actually, now that Orleans Young at Heart offers have been extended into the evening, on a Wednesday you could get a free meal there and if the Nite Kings were performing get in a fine early evening of dancing for the price of a cheap drink, and still make the WAX connection at 11:36.

If you are heading back downtown after the last WAX bus from the Orleans, and you have a $5 residential pass, technically you are not supposed to ride the Deuce unless you are a local.
So, you can make another gamble if you like. Take the 201 from the Orleans to the strip and catch the Deuce (probably the SDX is not running, but don't take that one because inspectors might board it) You will know I your residential pass works right after you swipe it next to the driver. If you are not asked for a local ID, then you won't be for the entire journey back downtown.

Also, one other note. I have not picked up the free shuttle at the new location in Caesar's Forum Shop area, but I have not read of anyone who did pick it up there and liked it. It is very user Unfriendly.
Unless, of course, you were looking forward to walking around the Forum Shops at Caesar's or hiking to find the free aquarium. Then the inconvenience becomes again an enabling bit of the journey.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Riding the bus with luggage

I work to avoid luggage on strip buses. They are allowed, but it can get annoyingly uncomfortable. But I always seem to have to make at least one trip with luggage on strip buses.
Then I pick the Deuce over the SDX. It is very difficult to exit the SDX with luggage at crowded times because the folks are entering as you are trying to exit. I prefer to work my way with my large suitcase to the Deuce seats facing the exit door. Next to those seats will usually be a space where the suitcase can be slipped, and exiting will be much easier with the exit door just steps away and no incoming traffic. Usually the only annoying part left is the guy who stands in that exit (against the rules) and does not budge or pay mind to me.
Since I stay downtown and at offstrip places for the most part, the WAX is common luggage carrier.
Last trip I went from Monte Carlo to Mandalay Bay and back on MyVegas and used the shuttle at Excalibur. That was very easy.
The Gold Coast shuttle will take luggage to the Orleans and I'll do that probably on my next trip.
I'm also going to try a few days at Palace Station next trip and to avoid the strip buses I'll use their free shuttle to the airport and then get the WAX to downtown.
If I get one Monte Carlo night with MyVegas I'll try to access that without going on the strip, getting there on the WAX whenever possible. I probably will go from the Palace Station to Monte Carlo by taking the free airport shuttle and then the WAX to Tropicana and rolling down from there. Or if I go from the Gold Coast, I'll use their shuttle to the Orleans and then the 201 bus to the strip.
Now, I have the largest and heaviest suitcase in Vegas. I take the largest allowed on the plane and pack it to 50 lbs. When I arrive at the airport for ease on buses fill it with my carryon luggage, or sometimes I have a second suitcase to ship that is soft and will fit in the large suitcase. It makes it very heavy and awkward on buses. I need to do that because I go for 20 plus days and use a sleep apnea machine. For most travelers, with a normal airplane suitcase, the bus travel would be a good bit easier and if you can lift the bag over your head when exiting the SDX, then the inward flow is not so much of a problem. I do find that having just one bag, even though it is big, is a great benefit over trying two small bags or things strapped over my shoulder.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Gold Coast Shuttle changes drop locations/ 202 review

The Gold Coast/ Orleans shuttle now stops in the Forum Shop area of Caesar's and not way down Flamingo near Ellis Island.  This is good news for some, but bad news for others, especially those who liked going to Ellis Island from the Gold Coast.

Sooooo  it seems to me we need to update on the 202 bus that goes down Flamingo.  Here is an excellent discussion board post on that topic.  This bit is from poster Raisengoo:

The 202 Eastbound stops almost in front of the Palms, but just a little bit east. It's only maybe a 2-3 minute walk from their front entrance.

The 202 Westbound stops multiple places in this area, including exactly in front of the Gold Coast. Don't be tempted to get off when it reaches the
Rio. Stay on and the very next stop is the Gold Coast.

May I suggest visiting and putting in "Palms Casino, Las Vegas"-- doing this will show you the bus stops (little blue icons with a bus) on both sides of the street. A picture is worth a thousands words.

The 202 is considered a residential route. One-way trip is $2. A two hour pass is $3. A 24 hour pass is $5. Passes are good on all RTC bus routes.


A more detailed discussion is here:


Monday, December 1, 2014


On one board Keno 60 posted about using the Walgreen's on Decatur and Tropicana, just a short walk from the Orleans to buy bus passes. This worked just great. The Walgreen's is 24 hours so I could go up very early at 5 AM when I could not sleep and had nothing much else to do.

I thought the walk was very safe and easy.

There were some pretty girls working the street, but they are not aggressive or much of a bother.

Walgreen's said that they don't run out of the 15 and 30 day passes with senior discount there, so we can count on them.

While I was there I picked up some snacks and a large gallon of water that cost just 99 cents as opposed to the small bottles for $2.25 for sale at the Orleans.

Along the way I noticed a Bank of America that would be a handy place for me to get more gambling money were I to run short.

Also, if I wanted some food outside the casino that great Irish Pub McMullen's is open 24 hours and there is a Jack in the Box not far from the Walgreen's.

What this does for me is make the Orleans an easy place to start my trips. In the past, the desire to buy a 30 day bus pass had me leaning toward starting my trip downtown. This time I followed up two nights at the Orleans with 5 nights on the strip, some of them one nighters, and I wanted to do that at the beginning of the trip when I was not so tired out that the check in/check out took away from the fun of the strip hotels. I'd do that again.

However to get the Orleans I decided to try getting off the WAX at the Koval stop. The idea was that I could manage a better choice of seats if I did not wait for the NYNY stop and possible crowds.

That was a mistake.

Hovering around that Koval stop are a half dozen homeless guys asking for money. They did not seem particularly troublesome, but after 5 hours on the plane I really don't want to hear sad luck stories from a guy with a beer can in a paper sack.

I talked to another regular rider who said they were harmless but always in that area.

So, next trip I'll go back to the NYNY stop which is less isolated from other riders, patrolled more often by security, and more comfortable for an old guy with a huge suitcase.


I fully intended not to be out of downtown on Halloween night, but there I was on the BHX with some costumes. There was a route change, but from what the driver said I could not figure it out. This particular driver is a character. At one point he noticed the next bus directly behind him and he was hoping that no one would need to get off so that he could just sail on downtown.

I got off too early, well North of the Downtowner, but I did not really understand where he might go due to the festival. It was early evening and there were plenty of folks out on the street, so I was comfortable.

I expect that he did go all the way to just opposite the El Cortez as I saw the bus continue straight. There was just no asking. Folks were in a party mood and he was into other issues than helping me exit properly.

I did note that the place to catch the BHX is just before the Mob Museum and in the rear of the Downtown Grand. This is a temporary stop, so I can't tell if it will be there for long, but it is worth walking over to see.

Today, without knowing the exact temporary stop, I hopped on the DVX at Binions and transferred at the BTC, but that cost me time. From what I figured, I actually might have caught an earlier bus had I gone to the stop.

I had had such a run around last year when the temporary stops were not well marked, that I wanted the safe route, That might make me a bit late for the tournament, but I would not be wandering all over downtown checking for the stops and getting bad advice from folks who only knew the old stops. Nor would I be walking all the way out to the Western only to perhaps find that stop closed as it is for the Life is Beautiful Festival. That Binions stop is very convenient for just taking any bus that come, getting off at the BTC and then finding whatever bus is desired.


Since I often write about buses as if I know what I am going, I think it only fair to share my bus errors from this trip.

Sometimes in life I just don't know what I am going. And it happens sometimes on the Vegas bus.

The first happened right on the WAX. I could not decide whether to just pay a dollar to get to NYNY and then a dollar to get to the Orleans or to buy a 24 hour pass.

When I finally decided, I did not have the correct change, so I bought a 24 hour pass (which as it turned out I did not need) and paid $3 for it, rather than the senior rate of $2.50.

The second was even more stupid. I got confused as to the position of the Palace Station compared to the Boulder Highway. I had two football squares and had decided to go from the Palace Station to Eastside Cannery and play during the football game.

I got on the Sahara Express going the wrong way.

I was way out West before I really woke up to the fact.

And by then I was going to be late for the Poker game.

So, instead I got on the bus going East and the bus driver helped me get to my second choice, the Italian Club presentation of Kelly Holmes (Clint's wife). This mistake ended up giving me the best show I saw in Vegas this trip

The third mistake was to board the WAX on my way up to play my freeroll at Monte Carlo. There was a couple there who owned a condo in downtown, but never gambled. They asked me a pile of questions, curious about how I made gambling a frugal occupation. I got so absorbed in answering I missed my Tropican stop and the first thing I knew I was at the airport. Luckily, there was another WAX just arriving to take me back to the NYNY. I lost about 15 minutes, but perhaps less since I ended up on the correct side of the strip for Monte Carlo.

The fourth mistake was to take my son to catch the SDX and forget to get him to buy his ticket until the bus was on its way. Then we approached the machine and I asked the worker there, a very friendly fellow, to help him get a 24 hour $7 pass before the bus arrived. Well, in the confusion he ended up with two passes on his charge card and we missed that bus anyway. I tried to resell it, but when the next SDX came I just gave it to the worker and he passed it on to some needy person. I did not need a pass as I had the 30 day pass already.


Bits of the trip are organized by topic and labeled TR Snippet.  Ignore dates.  However, it won't all load at first, so when finished with the first batch,  look for the Prompt "older posts" at the bottom right hand corner of the page and that will take you to page 2 and so on.


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Residential Passes explained

If you purchase a $5 -  24 hour ticket on a residential bus like the WAX or CX bus, it is a "residential" ticket. Technically, it is not good on the SDX or Deuce unless you have local ID. However, it is perfectly fine for all other buses.
Whether any tourists are ever asked for local ID is open to debate on most tourist discussion boards.  This trip a lawyer type told me they could not do anything because it was illegal and a bus employee told me that no bus driver would ask for a local ID and that the Senior photo ID would be plenty even on the SDX to satisfy checkers.

If you pay $2, that is just good for one ride on the residential bus you boarded. It will cost you $2 on the next ride on that bus or on another residential bus.
If you pay $3, you can board any residential bus within 2 hours of the time you buy the pass. So, for example, folks going one way from the airport to the Orleans sometimes opt for the $3 pass because the WAX ride is just a few minutes, and the 202 can easily be boarded within the 2 hour period.

Seniors with ID pay half price for all residential rides and passes (photo ID available at the BTC for those over 60.  Medicare card also good for proof)  There is no senior discount for strip bus passes if you buy them from a Deuce operator or from a machine.  It makes a huge difference.  A 15 day reduced fare price is just $17.  Just a 3 day pass on strip buses bought on the strip is $20.

Here is a chart showing fares for Residential routes. 15/30 day passes cannot be purchased from most machines or from the drivers. BTC is a good spot. Walgreen's downtown is another. There are other vendors located around Vegas, but not convenient to tourists (on purpose)

Here is the chart from the RTC site:

Residential Route Passes:

These passes include access to all RTC Residential Routes. Single Ride, 2-Hour and 24-Hour Passes can be purchased on-board vehicles. 15-Day and 30-Day Passes can be purchased in person at the Bonneville Transit Center, South Strip Transfer Terminal (SSTT), RTC Administration Building, and vendor locations throughout town. 30-Day Passes can also be purchased online.

Single $2
Reduced Fare

2-Hour $3
Reduced Fare

24-Hour $5
Reduced Fare

15-Day $34
Reduced Fare

30-Day $65
Reduced Fare

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Taxi fares

So the WAX costs me $1 and there is no need to tip.
Young folks would have to pay $2

A more complicated two bus route to strip or off strip casinos would double those costs and certainly add inconvenience.

Here are the comparable taxi rates on average and BEFORE  tip.
The difference is what the convenience costs.

Here is a way to estimate other trips in Vegas and other countries:


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Downtown details

Here is an interesting thread answering a particular question on using the bus over a 4 day Vegas visit.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Passes available at Maryland and Flamingo by machine

Keno advises

  am not sure you have this on your blog? Hope it helps! At the Maryland and Flamingo bus stop the machine sells 1 ride-$2-RD$1 ; 2HR $3-RD$1.50 ; 24 hour-$5 ; RD $2.50

RD is the reduced fare paid by seniors, youngsters, and some others.

Of course, we can also buy these on the bus directly from the driver.

August bus riding

Once on the bus, it should be fairly comfortable.  The problem is waiting in the heat for the buses.  Plan as much as possible to be at the stop close to the time the bus arrives.  Also, switching buses in places with some AC is better than standing out in exposed areas under the brutal sun.
August is not the best month for using the bus to get around Vegas.  I don't go much in August anymore, but if I did I would plan on being in a casino during the heat of the day and only walking or taking the bus long after the sun had set. 
If you are in the heat waiting for the bus, drink plenty of water even if you are not thirsty.  Carry and drink water all the time.  Order a free drink with a free water.  Buy it when you need it.  Dehydration is not joke and it sneaks up on people.

Monday, June 16, 2014

115-212-117 Going to Southpoint

I've been playing with this trip in mind.
Perhaps it is silly to be on Boulder and decide to go so far.
However, I have been reading quite a bit about how nice the Sunset buffet tastes.  Station buffet prices are very low right now.  So I could head out to Sunset Station, have a meal, hang out a bit, and then head to SSTT on the 212, connect to the 117 and go on up to Sunset Station.

However, only some of the 115 go to Sunset Station, so that might be confusing.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

How and why to validate a pass for the SDX

A board friend, Dave, says it much better than I can:

When you buy your ticket at the machine, there's a separate slot you insert the ticket in to validate it, which in effect "starts the clock" on your 3 day/15 day pass. I was the one who explained about validating right on the SDX bus, since the validation part of the TVM next to Binion's was not working. There's a ticket validator near the middle door of the SDX, which is what I used.

As far as security not checking the validity of your pass, that's likely not normal. When we have been asked to show our passes, the security officer has asked that the date/time side be visible to them. Many people get to ride the SDX for free when the monitors are not aboard, just hopping off when they see one coming on at a stop. We don't bother trying, since the expense for buying the 15 day pass is about the cost of one decent-length cab ride ($34). If you are staying more than 4 days, the 15-day pass often is the better deal.

Thanks Dave.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Is the 2 hour residential pass all access

One thing is currently unclear to me. It may be that the 2 hour pass issued on a residential bus is "all access" for us tourists as well. There is an asterisk on the website list of fares that in my reading suggests it is "all access" without the need for local ID.
I can't trust the website because it has been wrong in leaving an asterisk OFF for the 15 day all-access-to-anyone-pass.
Calling RTC might get three different answers in three calls.
If anyone is at the BTC and can ask Christine, (who knows what she is talking about) and has the energy to run down this information, I sure would appreciate it.
And a half dozen of us getting the same answer reported here and in my bus blog, would be helpful. This is what I did for the 15 day all access questions.

If the 2 hour pass is now intended to be all access that would free up tourists coming from the airport to pay just $3 for a ride to any strip hotel without worrying about not having a local ID or breaking a technical rule.

But it needs to be carefully researched, rechecked and reported, and I'm more interested in what the RTC rule is than what might be allowed by an individual bus driver, sometimes, or how easy it might be for any of us to pretend to be local in these situations and get away with it.


Many of you have expressed thanks personally and here. I appreciate the kudos, but there are dozens of people who gather this information and report it here on the board and to me personally in PM style. I know some of the buses from personal experience or BTC interviews, but much of it I collect and report from other's experiences with the intent on clearing up the confusing details of the rules.
I try to check and recheck details, looking for answers to the confusion that is caused by the intent of the RTC to establish a two tier payment system for buses (one for locals and one for tourists) and the natural confusion caused by continually changing the routes, fares, and rules.
So, the kudos go to all the folks who supply that information. All of you are experts. I simply have a good place to collect and keep the information, so when questions repeat themselves, I can often answer with boilerplate saved on my blog. (see link below)

And if you are in Vegas here is yet another opportunity to research. And thanks for anything you can gather.

Remember when asking to ask reference to "tourists" who do not have local ID. For locals with ID all the bus passes are all access.


Saturday, April 5, 2014

Once again explaining residential vs stip bus passes

This was a question on Vegas Message Board:

I have a dumb question...if I buy a 24 hour pass from the driver on the WAX, is it only good for the WAX...or can it be used also for the Deuce once I get to the strip?

This is not a dumb question. It is complicated:
Technically, what you buy for $5 is a "residential" pass which means it is good on every route except the Deuce and the SDX unless you have a local ID.Actually, plenty of folks on this board use it on the strip buses with no problem. We here have yet to hear of anyone being asked for a local ID. So, it depends on whether you are comfortable breaking a rule or not.

That stop at MGM has lots of tourists with luggage. So you stand out as someone who does not have a local ID.

However, if your destination is Paris, that is the next stop on the SDX. So if you board, and an inspector did ask for local ID, most likely you would be asked to exit the bus and get the right pass, but you would have exited at your destination.

Note that a 24 hour pass is just $8 in the airport machine. So for $3 you can have total peace of mind because buying the more expensive strip pass is good on all Vegas buses period with no local ID requited and no questions asked.

The real issue is for us older folks who are going to get the residential pass at half price, just $2.50. Peace of mind costs us $5.50 more than a 200% markup compared to just a 60% markup for youngsters.
Most of us old folks solve this dilemma by buying a 15 day all access pass at half price, or $17, and then we have total peace of mind. However, we must get to a place that sells these. So most of us end up downtown getting it either at the BTC or more likely at Walgreen's.
I just heard that the Walgreen's at Decatur and Tropicana just past the Orleans also sells these passes. I'm going to try that out on my next trip because I start with two free days at the Orleans.
We old folks can also ride the residential buses at half fare. So, my trip to the Orleans will cost $1.50 for a 2 hour pass, or perhaps I'll buy a 24 hour pass at $2.50 and put off walking to Decatur.

If you are going to ride strip buses for 5 days or more, the 15 day pass, even at full fare, is a bargain at $34. A 3 day pass is $20, each other day is $8, so 5 days is $36. Now that folks who stay on the strip can buy these at Walgreen's on Decatur or at the 7/11 (full fare only) right next to Ellis Island, they become a pretty good deal.

If all this is confusing, tell us what you are thinking of doing with the pass and how you feel about breaking a rule and we can each offer our advice which will differ here depending upon our own comfort with breaking a technical rule, our experience with breaking it, and so on.

Also, please do not argue with the drivers or any inspectors. Play dumb if you are challenged. Some friends of mine, for example, thought they were buying a 24 hour pass on the strip bus for $5 when they were actually buying a one way. When they boarded downtown to return, the driver told them it had expired. The woman explained that she had made a mistake, and the driver let her ride back up the strip anyway.

And technically there are fines for intentionally trying to beat the rules. So you don't want to say to the inspector on the SDX who nicely tells you that you must get off at Paris,
"Listen, chump, that was where I was going anyway, so screw you and your dumba$$ rules."
Rather you want to say, "Thank you for explaining that to me." and then get off at Paris and go your way.

Also, a lot depends on what you want to do in that 24 hours. Some folks want to stay on the strip. However, strip buses can be very crowded. There is a free tram that goes out of Monte Carlo and to Bellagio and another that goes out of Excalibur and to Luxor or Mandalay Bay. So that entire South end of the strip can be accessed with a minimum of walking and still avoiding crowded strip buses which get caught in traffic and on which you could be packed as tightly as a sardine.
There is also the Boyd shuttle that connects the Orleans with the Gold Coast with the back end of Bally's, but it does not run much after midnight. The Tropicana bus 201 and the Flamingo bus 202 both run 24/7 although it is good in the early morning hours to know the schedule before you wait as these might be an hour apart. So, staying down near Flamingo, you might like using a residential pass to get you up Tropicana to the strip after heading over for an inexpensive meal at the Gold Coast or the Orleans and taking the shuttle to the Orleans. Also, a favorite frugal joint is Ellis Island. That Boyd shuttle stop they call "the strip" is really closer to Ellis Island than to the strip. Both Ellis Island and the Westin across the street have some cheap gambling during happy hours that start at 5PM.
Now none of that matters to folks searching for the pizazz of the strip, but plenty of bus riders are frugal and would enjoy getting off the strip to eat and gamble much more cheaply. Combining free trams and shuttles with a residential pass keeps you in the letter of the law and gives plenty of options. All these casinos can be accessed from the strip via one ride on a residential bus: Gold Coast, Palms, Silver Sevens, Tuscany, Westin, Sam's Town, Eastside Cannery, Longhorn on the 202. Orleans on the 201.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

How to find bus at airport video

This makes is very easy.  Just one addition. See the bathroom just before you exit?  This is a good idea as bus rides can be long.!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Bus passes at Walgreen's one stop West of the Orleans

Board friend Keno reports buying a reduced fare pass at this location.

Also here

Walgreen's downtown

1300 E. Flamingo Rd.

This is just East of Maryland and near the library.

The 7/11 has passes but not for reduced fare customers.
Always good to call before you go to these places as they run out.

Convenience of Binions for catching other routes.

In front of Binions is a bus stop that serves the SDX, the WAX, the CX and DVX and each one of these buses goes to the BTC fairly quickly from that location. 

Be careful to get off at the BTC as overshooting with some of the buses will put you a long way from where you want to be.

summary of bus rules

You break no rules if you use the 15 or 30 day pass for the Deuce and Strip. No local ID is required.
A half dozen people have confirmed this with conversations at the BTC and it has been the rule since the 15 day pass was created. Why the Asterik is off the chart on the RTC website is a mystery and it keeps causing the confusion on the 15 day all access pass. The same confusion existed with the 5 day pass back a few years. No asterisk on the website, but assurances from all RTC officials that no local ID was necessary to use it even on strip buses.
Here are some of the reports back two years.

You break a technical rule if you are not a local and use a 24 hour residential pass ($5) and don't have a local ID. Some riders on this board break that rule and none have reported getting bothered. To call you on it, the driver would have to ask for a local ID. RTC did tell me that they installed the machine at the airport because too many people were getting a residential 24 hour pass on the WAX, getting off at NYNY and using it at that stop near MGM to take a strip bus North. With luggage it is pretty clear they are probably not local.

You break a firm rule if you take a reduced fare pass and use it but are not qualified. 60 or over for seniors. I've seen inspectors make people buy a different ticket. I've been asked by drivers to show my ID after swiping the 15 day reduced fare pass.

You break a rule if you buy a pass, do not validate it in the machine, and use it first to board the SDX bus. All other buses validate when you swipe and enter near the driver. Hop on, hop off SDX needs you to first validate in the machine. What will happen is an inspector will ask you to hop off and validate, but the SDX passes some rather tough neighborhoods, and you will probably end up having to wait for the next bus. Validation is what stamps the time on the pass and starts the clock.

You break a rule on jay walking if while waiting for the bus you walk out into the street to see if the next bus is coming. I've talked to locals who were fined for what was labeled, "intentional jaywalking." The fine is hefty.


Okay, this is off topic, but I want to add it to every bus post because I missed it. The Deuce does not run to and from the SSTT except 12:30 to 9AM when the SDX does not run at all. So at the SSTT take either the SDX for most of the day.
Also, the reduced fare machine at SSTT is reported this week as being unable to bring up the reduced fare menu with senior ID. Thanks to Keno for this later info.

He also shares that the reduced fare passes are available at Walgreen's just one stop West on the 201 West from the Orleans. Nice resource.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

106 to Texas Station and Fiesta Rancho.

I have not done this in years.  The 106 used to leave and return to the Fremont area right downtown.  Now it leaves and returns to the BTC.
A google search from Binions recommends quite a bit of walking each way and the walking from Texas Station is rather complex.
I think it is best to get any bus to the BTC, then get the 106 right to that area.  Coming back the 106 is right there and will again go to the BTC with plenty of options for going back and being dropped right near Fremont.
I'd especially do this if I wanted to stay a few days out there.  However, I don't see me lugging suitcases unless I had some free offers.

SSTT reduced fare ID not working

Reports are that the machine at the SSTT is not taking the reduced fare ID and giving back the reduced fare menu. 
Not good news.

Another summary of bus options

Once again I find myself writing details stuff on a message board that might be useful here. 
The full thread is
Originally Posted by johnvic View Post
Dewey, I arrive on Saturday, the 5th of April, and go to the Downtown Grand. I'll probably just stay downtown on the 5th. On the 6th through the 9th I will go to the Convention Center every day. I may also go to the strip for drinks, etc. On the 10th I go to Bellagio. At that point I'll pretty much stay on the strip except for a trip to the Hoover Dam. I'll be hanging out with a friend at that point and I know he won't take a bus to the airport back so we'll split a cab.
So, you pay $2 at the airport when you take the WAX downtown.

The Walgreen's 15 day pass will cost $34
6-7-8-9- to Convention Center
10 - to Bellagio (perhaps two buses)
And then perhaps some bus riding up and down the strip.

I'm figuring that buying individual all access passes in the machines would cost as much or more than the 15 day pass, and the pass allows you the flexibility to take an evening bus ride from downtown if you want to or up and down the strip. I'd get the pass at Walgreen's downtown.
Splitting a cab back to the airport from the strip is a nice convenience.
However, on my last day anywhere near Flamingo on the strip, I check out, go on the 202 down Flamingo and roll my luggage into the Silver Sevens for some food and then take the 108 closer to the time of my flight.

Bus options from downtown include:
*going out Boulder Highway (although the Sam's Town free shuttle is now 15 minutes quicker than the bus to Sam's) to Arizona Charlie's, Boulder Highway, Sam's Town Eastside Cannery, Sunset Station or even Fiesta Henderson.
*going out to Fiesta Rancho and Texas Station
*The CX will get you to the University campus. Nice cactus gardens there and a good museum but it is a big campus with lots of walking.
*If you don't want to search around for stops out of downtown on routes that are new or unfamiliar, remember that EVERY bus that stops at Binions has a stop coming at the BTC where most of these routes can be easily found. Sometimes it makes the bus ride longer, but I've been frustrated chasing changing bus routes, especially the BHX, so sometimes I just go up there. Also in hot weather, you can duck in the AC at the BTC between buses.
* Heading back to the strip. Avoid strip buses when you can. The SDX is quicker when it is running. The Deuce is often packed at night and it is worth walking to get to an SDX stop when coming back to Downtown. The Centennial Express will get you to the strip far North at Spring Mt Road. The WAX will get you to the strip at Tropicana. Both avoid traffic.

* On the strip remember the free trams from Bellagio to Aria and Monte Carlo and again from Excalibur to Luxor to Mandalay Bay. These are generally more efficient than the city bus.
Other free shuttles are here:

The Boyd shuttle currently stops way, way back of Bally's so it is a walk to the strip, but it is very near Ellis Island.
Watch traveling late night and having to be at bus stops out and away from the strip on say Flamingo or Tropicana. That being said, the 202 stops right at Gold Coast, Silver Sevens, Tuscany, and dead ends at the Eastside Cannery where the driver takes a break. That is a safe and easy stop to use going back to the strip late at night. Sometimes Eastside Cannery has some interesting late night lounge entertainment including my favorite Latin music event, Claudia Castro on Monday 10-2.

Okay, that is about all I know.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Downtown to Bellagio

Again, my answer on a discussion board seemed detailed enough to keep here.

I have large luggage, so I prefer the Deuce. It is a longer ride, but usually not so crowded at the times when you would be checking out of downtown, and it is probably not crowded when you catch it. Also, the Deuce in late morning is uncrowded going South until it gets beyond Circus Circus.
I try to make my way to the center seats facing the exit door. This gives me room for my luggage, sometimes even a space between those seats and a bus wall where my luggage can be slipped away. If I can't get a seat there, I stand there and usually a seat will open up along the journey. What this does is eliminate the hardest part of luggage on the Deuce, getting the suitcase down the aisle to the exit door. If I position myself early in the journey when the bus is less crowded, then exiting is very simple.
But the real advantage over the SDX is that when I exit, everyone is exiting at a dedicated EXIT door. I may slow up the line a bit, but on the SDX I am exiting with luggage and facing a crowd of people entering using the same door; it is like swimming upstream against a salmon spawn.

Now if I were going to the Bellagio, I'd take the WAX to Tropicana, cross over the strip and walk go to Monte Carlo, go inside and then take that free tram from Monte Carlo to Bellagio. I have not done that, but I think you could do it with luggage. When I call, they seem puzzled, but they don't say no. I think they don't see much luggage on that free tram.

Also, after the WAX you could just take the Deuce from in front of MGM to Paris. There was construction there last time so I had to walk a bit North to find the stop. Again, I'd take the Deuce. I had one hell of a time exiting at Paris from the SDX with luggage.

It might seem silly to go farther South on the WAX and then backtrack, but the goal in easy bus riding in Vegas is to avoid as much strip riding as possible. And the WAX is fully set up to accept luggage.
Now, I don't know what passes you are using. You can try boarding the Deuce with a 24 hour residential pass that you buy on the WAX, but that technically as a tourist you can't use. If they ask for a local ID, play dumb and tell them you are just going as far as Bellagio. You have less chance being asked on the SDX because it is unlikely you will see an inspector between MGM and Paris.
So, then the residential 24 hour pass for $5 would probably work. Even if they put you off the bus to get the right strip pass, they would do it at Paris. On the other hand, if the bus is just to get you from downtown to Bellagio, then $2one way on the WAX, and $5 two hour on the Deuce is not much money. Or for $8 from the machines in front of Binions you could buy a 24 hour strip pass good for your trip and for any other trips within a 24 hour period.
Often when the bus is compared to shuttles or cabs, folks forget that added into any 24 hour pass are opportunities to travel all that day and perhaps part of the next for no added expense. So the value of the bus often increases if you intend to see something away from your base hotel.

If you do choose the SDX, be sure to validate the pass before you get on the bus or you'll be dropped off to validate and that is not a great task with luggage. On the Deuce or WAX you validate when you pass the driver.
When you come home post your experience and let us know how it went. I'd especially like to know how going WAX to tram to Bellagio worked.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Bus Passes near Ellis Island

 Eleven - 4158 KOVAL NR FLAMINGO
4158 Koval Lane
(702) 734-8604.
I called tonight to check the details.
They do sell the 15 or 30 day RCT passes, but they were out of them today, so call ahead.
They do not offer any reduced fare prices, so seniors will have to buy a pass at other locations like the SSTT, BTC or Walgreen's downtown.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Bus passes at 7 11 near Ellis Island

It was reported that the 7 11 near Ellis Island carries the 15 day and 30 day bus passes.  The board friend who bought a pass there, however, said the reduced fare passes were out of stock.  I'll have to call and see if they are often out of stock or that was just a fluke.
Quite a bit of bus discussion on this thread.  Worth a look.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

new bus routes to terminal 3

Starts on March 2

March 2
Both the WAX and the  CX will drop off and pick up at Terminal 3.  This will be a great benefit for International travelers.  Each bus makes one stop near the strip (CX on Spring mtn Road and LV blvd. /// WAX on Tropicana outside NYNY.} and both  buses go to downtown.
There is a shuttle between the two terminals.
Domestic travelers arriving at Terminal 1 and shuttling to Terminal 3 could now get on a bus that would access the strip at Spring Mtn Road directly from the airport.  So it opens up the possibility of staying at Wynn, TI, Venetian, Mirage and getting very close by residential bus from the airport.  I'd expect both of the buses to comfortably accommodate luggage unlike crowded strip buses where large suitcases can be a nuisance.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Advice to another tourist on getting ID and pass

This fellow wanted to get the ID at the BTC and only use it a few times on Tropicana and Flamingo.  He would start at Bally's. 
Basically, the cost of getting to the BTC is half the cost of a 15 day pass to after suggesting some alternatives, I try to talk him into the pass

There is no reduced fare for any reason on the strip buses SDX or Deuce.  Everyone pays the same fare unless they have a 15 or 30 day pass when they board.
I guess you might make the trip to the BTC and back on just one fare of $6, but it is only $8 for 24 hours of strip bus riding and then you are covered if it takes longer than two hours.  I'd get the $8 24 hour pass right there in the machine at Paris and be worry free.  You'll get the value of it back.
That 24 hour fare would cover your ride during those 24 hours on all other buses. 
The strip 24 hour pass is also good on residential buses. 
So you could use it to go down Flamingo later that night and eat and come back, saving two senior dollars. 
Or as long as you are at the BTC, you could hop downtown and see what is happening there and then come back from there on a strip bus whenever you wanted.

Or as long as you are investing in the pass, why not plan that night for a good show in the strip Tropicana area, or use the free tickets in the American Casino Guide for some free comedy at the Riviera.  You might as well get as much value as you can from the strip pass on the day you buy it. 
And the next morning you can ride at least one way on Flamingo for brunch if you board the bus before the 24 hours on the pass are up.
For walking on the strip and avoiding the bus, there are some helpful free shuttles.  There is one between Bellagio and MonteCarlo called City Center.  There was one between Excalibur and Mandalay Bay, but I don't see it listed now.  Still, I think it is there.
  So from Bally's to cover all of the South strip with no strip bus, you just have to walk between Monte Carlo and Excalibur. 
Take a look at these maps to see possibilities.

Or you can take the free Boyd shuttle behind Bally's to the Orleans.   We like to do that for the senior benefits on Young at Heart Day (they recently changed the day and rules and I can' find the details, but I think with very little play you could earn a free buffet that day and we often see a cheap movie) 
From the Orleans you could then access the strip at Tropicana, using your ID and a dollar, by taking the 201 bus down Tropicana.  Catch it across Tropicana but walk up to the light and then back to the bus stop to be safe.  [B]Don't jaywalk!!  [/B]
This is a good route if there is a show near Tropicana that night you would like to see.

And of course, you could take the Tropicana bus from the Orleans out East to where you like to eat.

Since you like going out around the University campus area to eat, you might check the route of the Centennial Express which weaves around from Downtown to the UNLV campus area, stopping once near the strip at Spring Mountain Road.
This too is a residential bus where your discount lets you ride for a dollar one way or $3 for 24 hours.

[B]Now, after all those options, here is what I would actually do if I were you.[/B] 

I'd get settled at Bally's and grab the Bellagio shuttle to Monte Carlo and walk to the WAX bus just around the corner of NYNY on Tropicana.  It runs once an hour so keep an eye on the schedule.
Just copy the times it hits the NYNY bus stop from the schedule here on this site.
Note that the WAX will get you to the BTC in [B]just 12 minutes[/B].  Pay attention so you don't miss the stop as it will come sooner than you think.
The speed of the bus will make up for the round-about route.
I'd try to pay one dollar using my Medicare card as proof of senior status to get to the BTC on the WAX bus.  At most it will be $2.

At the BTC I'd get my photo ID and then spend $17 for a 15 day pass.  I'd have now spent just $18 and my entire week of bus travel would be covered on any buses at any time. 
I'd spend another dollar and get a complete book of bus schedules for easy reference.
Maybe on your next trip, you don't get a 15 day pass, but on this first trip you are going to invest half of the cost of the pass just to get to the BTC to get the ID.   Then you don't have to worry about walking the strip at all for the whole week.  You can walk when you want and ride when you don't.

I am assuming that you don't want to ride buses with luggage.  If you did, you could actually take the WAX from the airport directly to the BTC, get the ID, the pass, and the book, and hop on the SDX or Deuce to take you up to Bellagio and so to Bally's.
That would mean that for your $18 ($1 WAX and $17 pass) you covered your transportation from airport to your hotel as well as a week of unlimited travel on any buses and the obtaining of the photo ID for next trip. 
But you would have to load your own luggage on and off the WAX and on and off the SDX or Deuce. 
And getting back to the airport from Bally's along Flamingo and then Paradise (route 108)  is easy with the pass as well.  I often have taken that route, rolled my luggage into Terrible's for a quick brunch before my flight and then out again to catch the 108 to the airport.  If you could do that, you could cover all your transportation cost for unlimited travel all week and transportation to and from the airport for less than one cab ride to the airport.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Basics in buying an all access senior pass

24 hour passes on residential buses are $5, but are technically not good on SDX and Deuce.  You can get them as you board a residential bus like the WAX because residential buses all have drivers who take fares. 
Those passes at Walgreen's are not 24 hour passes, but 15 or 30 day passes, probably longer than most folks visit.  However, the advantage there is for seniors. and a visit of just 4 days is enough to realize some savings. 
There is no senior reduction on SDX or Deuce buses, but buying a 15 or 30 day pass gives seniors all access to all buses for that period, so it makes riding strip buses very cheap. 
Be certain to validate the pass before you hop on the SDX.  This starts the 15 or 30 day period.  If you first board a residential bus or the Deuce, when you swipe the card it will validate and start the clock ticking, but the SDX is a hop on and hop off bus.  You don't want to have to hop off, perhaps in a bad neighborhood to validate the card in a machine because an inspector sees that you have not had the time of first travel stamped on the card.  You should have a senior RTC ID to show the driver or to bring up reduced priced menu at SSTT.
For seniors the 15 day pass is just $17 at Walgreen's and other places like SSTT or BTC, so it is cheaper than a 3 day pass on a strip bus.  A 30 day pass is $32.50 for seniors.
You do need proof that you are a senior when using that pass.   Most of us have a picture ID made free at the BTC.  It takes about 15 minutes.  However, I have seen signs that say a Medicare card will work.  I have not tried that because I got the ID before I turned 65 and so  before my Medicare card.  The ID is good for 5 years.
There are other places around Vegas to buy passes, but most are not where tourists would be likely to travel.
Other visitors I know have taken the 109 out of the airport to Maryland and Flamingo and bought them at a nearby store (Albertson's I think) and then used them to get to the strip via Flamingo. 
You can also buy one in a machine at the SSTT by taking the 109 from the airport South.  However, to get the reduced senior rate you will need a senior ID.  You put that in the machine and it will bring up the menu of reduced fares. I did not like using the machine.  I like to get mine from a person.  However, if you were staying South strip, you could take the 109 to the SSTT, get the pass,  and use it to take a strip bus to your South Strip casino.  I took the SDX to Paris with large luggage and the crowd coming into the bus at Paris was very hard to fight in order to get out.  If I did that again I'd take the Deuce because the exit door is not an entrance door as well. 
I generally stay downtown, so I arrange my trip to take the easy WAX from the airport to downtown for a dollar (senior rate) and then I can get settled and at my leisure buy a 15 or 30 day pass at Walgreen's.  The WAX is made for luggage and even my large suitcase is no trouble.

Monday, December 9, 2013

An Overview of the 15 day pass advantages

The fifteen day pass is all access for tourists as well as locals. The 24 residential passes are good for the SDX and Deuce for locals only with local ID.

Since the long term passes are primarily intended to serve the local community, and the RTC wants to get all the tourist dollars they can manage, they keep the passes out of the on strip Walgreen stores. They are not in the machines along the strip.
Most of us buy them at the BTC or at the downtown Walgreen's. Other locations are listed here.

Some take the 109 to Maryland and Flamingo and get them there. I have not done that. I think Albertson's is the place. It is good to call these vendors and ask if they sell the passes before you show up to buy one. Once in a while they run out and vendors change.

Some take the 201 to one stop West of the Orleans where a Walgreen's sells a reduced fare pass.

Some take the 109 from the airport to the South Street Transfer Terminal where we can buy a pass from a machine and get senior rate with the RTC ID. If you are staying on the South end of the strip, this is a good plan as long as you don't have large luggage and come at busy times when exiting the SDX is like swimming upstream against those pushing to get in.

However, board friend Keno found that the machine was not working.  Luckily, a person there asked a driver for an unused 24 hour pass and he used that to get from SSTT to his hotel.

Folks over 60 can get a half priced 15 day all access pass. Photo ID's are issued by the BTC during daytime hours and take just a few minutes. They are good for five years.
I think folks over 65 can show a Medicare card for proof of age. I have not done that. I always get the ID. To buy a pass from a machine like those at SSTT, and get senior rate, you need the RTC ID. There are no people working at the SSTT anymore. The BTC is staffed. I like buying the pass from a person better than trying to figure out the machines.
Staying downtown is advantageous with these passes because so many routes run from there. With the unlimited pass we can ride the strip buses, or use the WAX to avoid strip traffic and get dropped at Tropicana, or use the CX to avoid strip traffic and be dropped at Spring Mt, or go to the university, or go out Boulder Highway to any casino along that road, or plan a trip to Sunset Station or Fiesta Henderson, or head out to Texas Station and Fiesta Rancho, or ride to Suncoast. It just takes a bit of time to plan and figure out the routes and the schedules.

Here is a good place to start planning

Then linking up the RTC routes with the free shuttles offered in Vegas can eliminate much of the walking or traffic. Riding the SDX is generally faster and less crowded than riding the Deuce and these free shuttles can get you from an SDX stop to other locations.

Here is a good place to check those free shuttle routes and schedules and rules:

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Just returned from Vegas

Walgreen's still sells 15 and 30 day all access passes, including senior discounts.  My 15 day was just under $18.

I had a good time in Vegas and rode buses often on my 15 day senior reduced bus pass.

The upscale week of my trip was all with cabs.  I learned that it is under $10 before tip  to get from the Orleans to the Aria.  That seemed really reasonable, and it was very quick.  In some cases, especially when four people are involved, cabs are cheaper than buses. 

However, Elizabeth and I cabbed from the airport to the Orleans.  It was more than I expected.  About $24 with tip.  I remembered to ask for no tunnel, but the fellow did drive leisurely and the lights along Tropicana were all red. 
He was milking us.

This confirms my bus intentions for solo.  It would have cost me just two dollars by bus, but at least a half hour and perhaps an hour more in travel time.
Elizabeth is not riding the buses.


I never took the ride I planned on the HDX to Sunset Station or Fiesta Henderson.  Perhaps I'll do it next time.  One bus driver told me that I should just get the HDX at the BTC, but I am unsure whether he meant just during the Life is Beautiful or always..

I've decided that the best advice to give tourists  downtown is to have them go to the BTC for either of these buses, simply because it is simple and unlikely to be changed.  In front of Binions is a bus stop that serves the SDX, the WAX, the CX and DVX and each one of these buses goes to the BTC fairly quickly from that location. 

Be careful to get off at the BTC as overshooting with some of the buses will put you a long way from where you want to be.
Then at the BTC the bay for the BHX is just inside the wall and there is shade to be found and seats and even a bathroom if you have time. 
I did.
So even though it backtracks the path of the bus, it may just be the most practical and easy for tourists who want to go up Boulder.
Sam's Town has a free shuttle as well.  I have not taken it and did not have times written down.
If you don't mind the old Western Casino neighborhood and are up at the El Cortez, then you can walk up  to catch the BHX there and save some time, but sometimes your bus stop companions may be a bit seedy. 
Going to the BTC puts you out of any bus stop issues.  You will find seedy characters on the bus, but there is an accessible driver now and for one of my trips there was a security guard so less difficulties for those of you uncomfortable with the lower middle class folks.


I used the WAX from this same Binions spot on the weekends to offset the strip traffic.  It comes every hour, but was predictable with one glance at the schedule posted at the stop.  the times I was going the bus came 26 minutes after the hour so that was very easy.  It is a simple ride to Tropicana.

They will not tell you that at the stop.  The RTC guides posted at the Binions stop particularly stress that the bus goes to the airport and not to the strip. 
I said as I boarded that that seemed untrue, and the bus driver first said that he had worked that corner and that to say it would be a strip bus for some opened it up to a million questions. 
That did not make much sense since those folks at the Binions stop answer questions all the time and shout out loud instructions.  How hard would it be once an hour to announce that the coming bus would go to Tropicana, NYNY, MGM, and Excalibur?
Then he said that the bus company wanted to keep that WAX from getting overcrowded so there was always room for passengers and their luggage.  That made more sense, but it was still disingenuous.  I wish that we could always get accurate, consistent, and complete information from the RTC.  If their time studies show the WAX is crowding up, maybe it could run every half hour.
On Friday and Saturday nights It was a real advantage to take the WAX and just walk from Tropicana to wherever I wanted to go.  It is a shame the bus company can't find a way to explain that to people. 

I was surprised that the nights I took the Deuce home from the Venetian there was no real crowd. This was not my experience last trip from that stop.
Once, after going to the Orleans and catching the SDX just North of MGM to go up to Riviera, I was not allowed entry on the first and fullest bus, but another came just a few minutes afterwards and it was not crowded.  Bumper to bumper traffic made it a long journey to the Riviera but it was not so bad.  I had  a seat.
I also had a good travel companion.
When I had asked the WAX driver whether to walk North or South for the SDX (lots of construction around there now and I wanted to be sure) this Vietnamese woman said I should just follow her as she was going in that direction.
She had recently moved from LA to Vegas with her three children.  Friends and family worried she would not do well, but she had a job at Home Depot, a 3 bedroom apartment that cost half the price of a one bedroom, and good daycare for the younger kids, some of that free at school.  She was very happy and would bring her mother out the next month.  She was happy too to have escaped a drug using husband.

There were so many changes this trip, especially in the BHX and HDX stops out of downtown.  Apparently the HDX can only be caught at the BTC or at the Outlet Mall as it gets right on 15.  And yet I saw a stop mentioned downtown at Ogden and Fourth.    This many have been a change only to accommodate the Life is Beautiful Festival.

Life is Beautiful; Not for bus riders
That was the concensus among locals forced out of their routine by this festival.  Buses were detoured.  Stops were closed.  It was really a nightmare and the routes were changed well before the festival started. 
To ride the bus up to Sam's Town I had to walk to Maryland from the stop at the old Western.  I was happy it was early in the morning.  Coming home, a guard on the bus suggested I get off at Maryland, but I opted out of that.  I was dropped at 3rd and Carson out of that risky neighborhood between the Western and Maryland.  I suggest that if you are staying at the El Cortez, you don't ask where the closest bus drop off is located.  Ask for the closest to the Fremont Experience and walk from there.  That is the safest, but the bus drivers and guards and locals will think that the physically closest stop to the El Cortez is the ideal suggestion.
I was stupid not to have gone for the Sam's Town shuttle bus going out, but I did not bring the schedule, and I was at the El Cortez.  The free shuttle  is faster than the BHX, but it only comes every hour and twenty minutes so wait time can erode the benefit. It is free, but that is a moot point for me as I have an unlimited pass. 

Coming back, I left from Eastside Cannery so the BHX was convenient and I took it again rather than walk to Sam's Town.

Sam's Town prints a fine little booklet with all that information.  I just had not put one in my pocket this trip.

The BHX bus is much different.  Those old user UNfriendly ticket machines are gone as well as 3 door boarding.  They board only from the front where there is a driver to ask questions.  Security hops on and off at random.  I like it better as the BHX does collect from the lowest economic class and always there are some rather unusual folks riding.  I like it that the driver is not all tucked away in his little cave.
I miss the HDX stopping at Sam's Town.  That has changed a 16 minute ride into a 45 minute ride.
I talked a long while with a security guard on the BHX and the driver there knew the routes. My morning driver had not been able to answer my questions, and did not read his electronic map well.

I rode the BHX back from Sam's Town on Halloween.  There were a few costumes on the bus.  A young guy from Denver was on his way to the Greyhound station, and I suggested to him that he walk there without getting bogged down with his luggage in the Fremont Experience crowds.  They were very thick on Halloween.  I should have taken my own advice and gone a back route to the Golden Nugget for a late buffet.


After the upscale week of my trip, I rode to the ariport with my wife in a cab.  From Departures I crossed the street to Baggage and found Ground Zero.
I just missed the bus from the airport by 6 minutes and had to wait the rest of the hour.  For the wait, I was prepared with a book, Francine Prose's Blue Angel (which has nothing to do with the Vegas Blue Angel) and the jumble letter puzzle from that morning's paper,  so the bench on a pleasant day kept me well entertained.  There was a long stream of 109 buses.  If I had not had the large suitcase, I might have taken one of those, but the WAX is so comfortable with luggage and such a fast ride that it is generally worth the wait.


I hopped on the SDX at Paris and sat in the seats facing the exit.  To my right were three girls who had been attracted by the Life is Beautiful Festival.  One was from Scotland and her accent was a delight.  Another sang songs and overacted the stage moves.  She was both funny and entertaining.  In front of them sat Mickey, a light skinned Black fellow with a huge frizzy Afro and carrying a backpack.
On came two from Washington state who had been married just 3 hours ago.  Both had T shirts with glittering "Bride" on one and "Groom" on the other. They were a bit of an odd couple, not classic beauties,  probably in their forties, short, with unusual faces.
He was in old jeans.  Both were delighted with each other and the day and the trip.  They were fun to watch.  At one point he turned to her and said, "Isn't this just a fun trip?"
Their joy touched me.
They had been together for two years and finally decided to marry.
Mickey gave them his seat, so they could sit together, and the Scottish girl with friends got wind of the circumstances,  so a fuss was made and photos needed to be taken. 
And "Going to the Chapel and We're Going to Get Married" had to be sung with stage moves acted by the one girl. 
Mickey moved back to sit by the Scottish girl and they both had a fine conversation.  He was not trying to hit on her, just be friendly. 
He had a backpack with what he called "bootleg" beer; it was Bud in a can that he sold on the strip for $2. 
The Scottish girl bought two cans, opened them and passed them up to the married couple to help them celebrate.
It was a reception of sorts with this motley collection of folks from all over,  all delighted to celebrate a wedding. 
I loved it.  I stayed quiet and just enjoyed the conversation, all the fuss and laughter and joking. 
I felt once again old. 
This entire crowd at the Life is Beautiful Festival has made me feel old.
Mickey was off at an early stop  to go home and watch "The Good Wife."
The rest of us were off near the Fremont Experience, at a stop on Carson, probably a detour and part of Festival changes.

Like the poker table, the strip buses give us an opportunity to meet, enjoy and interact with people from all over the world.  Many of them are out on a lark of some sort, happy and celebrating.  For me, that interaction is a large part of the trip.  I can't go everywhere in the world;  in Vegas, small appetizing bits of the World come to me.