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Averill park, New York, United States
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 Comments that include websites will not be published.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.

Saturday, January 9, 2010


Inspirational credits to Can2Do on the BLONDE FOREVER board

This is the key question when riding residential or what they now call general market buses because waiting for a bus does put us out there in the middle of the world and sometimes in an isolated spot.

It is hard to answer the question of personal comfort because we all have different levels of comfort.  When posts have dealt with safety issues, there are always some posters sort of offended that anyone might think they would be uncomfortable in the area discussed.  Those "everyone should be like me" posters make it hard to get a well rounded answer to the question because once they begin the rant, few people then want to admit their fears.
I taught inner city for 30 years and asked for the toughest kids and the toughest classes.  I finished my career in what was an alternative school for kids who had had issues with the main high school and many of those were issues of violence.  You would think that I'd be comfortable anywhere, but I am not. 
Once the Vegas working folks start out in early morning, I am comfortable, but not late night/very early morning when the working girls are out and about with their pimps and the drugs go down.

At the same time, I don't want to see folks abandon the off-strip buses because of some over generalized sense of disease.  We may see characters on the buses, but we are very safe there.  It is at the bus stops that things might go down, especially in isolated areas. But there too some bus stops are perfectly safe 24/7

And riding the bus is much safer than driving a car in Vegas.  Even in the worst scenario, it is hard to imagine dying at the hands of the mugger and easy to imagine being killed by a drunk at the Wheel so some young person who is celebrating with a high speed run down Tropicana.
Look at this last accident at Laughlin.  The dead were just playing their slots when a car burst into the casino and killed them.  That fellow wasn't even drunk or young and crazy.

So the smart thing is is start to divide Vegas into the perfectly safe and the a-little-bit-risky and the do not stand there.  and to have this decent exchange of information we have to put ourselves in other people's shoes as well  as  give our own points of comfort.  It is important to not think of it as an argument about the "true" nature of the safety of any one place,  but to just share perspective and develop with details and examples.  It will be the details and examples that help others decide where they are comfortable waiting for the bus.

I like the walk back to El Cortez now since the East Freemont had upped the cameras and security.  Before, at 3am I would wait to walk with people up that stretch.  I like the new entrance to El Cortez but it too is pretty deserted.  Still, it used to be a dirt area with lots of hiding places.

It seems to me that what we need is a collection of bus opportunities that seem very safe, places where vulnerable people, the old, the single women, etc. have nothing to worry about that they don't face anywhere.  Some criminals attack in crowds where there are cameras.  We can't protect ourselves from them uless we stay home and turn on the home security system.
Others might be hanging on deserted and dark streets aiting for an easy mark. We can avoid those stops.
I will start the list:

I am happy to access the strip using 108 or 116, but I have rarely gone home at 3 am on those routes.  I  don't like where the stops are. 

When I booked at Tuscany without a car last trip, I tried to get a clear understanding of how the Flamingo bus works.  I had trouble even with goggle maps.  In the end it did not matter because Flamingo was all a glow with workmen and huge lights so it was an easy walk.  Also as it turned out the Flamingo bus stops right in front of Tusccany and if you book a room in the B section it is just steps from the bus to the door of those rooms.
Terribles is right in the parking lot.  Just a quick hop over a little rock walkway and you are in the lot and close to the door.
Eastside Cannery is where the bus stops and again there is just a parking lot.  It is bigger than the other two, but it looks safe to me.
Going the other way the bus stops in a well lighted area next to the Gold Coast and the walk across to the Palms seems easy.  The stop to go East is right in front of the Palms.  So the 202 seems a great transportation tool for even the fragile traveler.

The 201 from the circle of NYNY to the Orleans seems safe to me as well.

The 106 coming back from a jaunt out to Texas Station/Fiesta drops right across from the Plaza.

The 108 and the Deuce drop right there near Walgreen's.  I have felt uncomfortable as I approached Freemont with some character and ducked in the Walgreen's more than once.  Since it is open 24 hours and guarded, it is a great safe spot to wait for the guy talking to himself about how you won't give change to move on down the canopy.

I have waited across the street from the Stratosphere at 3am, but I don't like it.  I am too far from the circle, feel unwatched, and often I am alone.  Waiting in front of the Riviera I am more comfortable.  We can get the 108 to go home in the back of the Sahara and that looks fine, but walking that bit from the Stratosphere to the Sahara is sketchy.  I was harrassed there when I gave one beggar a wide birth and he yelled at me so much as I walked away I reported him to security.

I have taken the 116 from downtown to Ellis Island and the drop off is fine, but I would not get off that bus late at night and walk those back ways to Circus Circus and surrounding casinos.  At 9 am I will do that.  I have greater visibility and others can see me.

All of this is going to be a huge bus issue when the DTC moves to the new site as it is nowhere near the current site and that, with the homeless park, is uncomfortable after dark.  How will we access the other routes?  It looks like we are going to have to catch a bus to catch a bus and that we will pick up one bus just to get to the center.  Also that may need to be the ACE.  That is fine, but then the days of saving money by using residential routes are over.  I want to find another alternative.

If anyone wants to reply here, I'd like to list practical, detailed evaluations of which particular stops would be safe for everyone at anytime and which do not seem that safe except for the never scared.

Identifying some of these super safe areas is my plan.  That will free up people to explore other hotels after dark.

February 28, 2010 - changes in bus routes

Can2do suggests that folks might like more information on how to use the bus to do shopping and especially how to include shopping with other bus agendas.

This is a great idea.  Let me start it off with barley nothing because I don't shop:

1. If you are coming in on the 108 from the airport, you will be dropped at a 24 hour Walgreen's where you can get the drinks, snacks, forgotten toiletries, etc.  and really unpack in the room.
2. The 116 goes to the Fashion Show Mall where once my wife and I replaced her wedding ring that keeps slipping with a nice band that cost $15.  Since then we've been adding replacements, but that one is her favorite when it isn't green.  And so is the story.
3. The Tropicana bus or the Bill's Coast shuttle will take you to the Orleans where last I looked they sold playing cards at fifty cents a deck that can be used in home games because they are not black marked.  Dice were a quarter.

Sorry, all the rest of my shopping I do on Freemont Street and in one shop in Planet Hollywood.  I do know that either the 108 or the 115 gets us to some outlet mall because I see folks pack in the bus with their treasures of name brand clothes.
I buy my name brand clothes down here in Florida at the Beall's Outlet where a wonderful shirt might cost $3 to $5 and jeans that are online for $42 are $12.
I got some this week. Some of them are slightly irregular, but then so am I. 
I found a similar outlet in Laughlin when I quit gambling  to go to the mall, and I shopped there.  I only bought a pair of sunglasses.  Beall's has great sunglasses. Then I got the senior discount and went to the movies and used the free refill on popcorn to bring some back to the room for a snack. 
I am very good at shopping for food; that's why I am so irregular.

Here is Can2Do's favorite shopping access route the 202.
Dewey, one of the easiest bus routes to shopping is the Flamingo East bus.  For those on center Strip, you catch it by Bally's and get back off at Caesar's side door or near Bill's.  Weekdays it runs approx. every 20 minutes.   You get off on the east side of Maryland (watch for Walgreens & Target on the NW corner of Flamingo so you know when to pull the buzzer.  There is an Olive Garden (SE), TJ Maxx, Albertsons, & Band of America (NE), Target & Walgreens (NW).  Now these don't seem very exciting for your average American, but when these stores are unique or you need supplies or a break this is a relatively easy trip.   Also somewhere just south of the corner is a US Post Office.

If you're so inclined you can walk north on Maryland to Best Buy, Marshalls, & a few other stores until you reach the Mall.  Dillards is gone but there is a Macy's and a J.C. Pennys.  You can catch a bus (#109W?) and end up back at Fashion Show Mall.  Before you leave Maryland, you could cross the street and pick up food or liquor at Von's. 

What I'm trying to figure out is the easiest route to reach a Wal-Mart, preferably a Super W-M, from center strip.

Friday, January 8, 2010


You cannot bring large luggage on the Deuce.  The ACE too restricts you to those packages that fir in your space.  Since many folks shop outlets and carry huge shopping bags, this might be a way to carry luggage, put it in a large shopping bag.  Small luggage probably will not be questioned. All other lines allow luggage and many, like the 108/109 expect it.

Luggage on the 108 may get easier to carry. The notes on this route say it will have room for luggage.

Buses really change what you thought was possible in terms of Vegas mobility, especially if you pack light so you don't have huge luggage to cart in and out of the bus. They make it very easy for a low roller to stay a long while and patch together free room offers without those huge cab expenses added for moving from place to place.

I really thought that I needed to downsize my luggage in order to ride buses, but then I planned this 23 day trip. I travel with a computer and a sleep apnea machine. I wanted enough clothes for at least half my days and I wanted room to take things home. So I took the same large suitcase I've been taking and hoped for the best.
In that suitcase I could pack everything except the apnea machine and the wide wheel base made for easier rolling because there was none of that wrist twist of small bags. Also I packed a soft bag so that when I came home I could dump all the playing cards I buy, all the heavy things and so get under Southwest's weight of 50 pounds. On the bus all of that was in the big suitcase. My computer was not visible to anyone seeing me rolling along the Vegas roads.
In my last bus there was a woman in a motorized chair, so I had to position myself so that when it was time for her to exit (before me) by bag would not be in her way. Otherwise, I did not even have to think too much about it, nor did I feel awkward or a bother to my fellow travelers. Some had more cumbersome luggage than I did.
In the airport I quickly repacked before check it.
By the way, if you are just a bit assertive you can use the scales outside the terminal without waiting in any lines to see if your bag is too heavy.
Of course, it is better to pack light. Hand washing is easy in Vegas because everything dries overnight and is ready to go again. I'll reduce my clothing again next trip. I especially enjoyed these white golf shirts that I bought on sale in Florida. I don't golf, but these were great for the hot Vegas weather.

And buses are comfortable, generally air conditioned well, and they have automatic taped recordings of the upcoming stops with the points of interest. It is so much easier than when I first came to Vegas.

coming from the airport I wrote
"The doors are very wide, the step up and down is very small. Even my large suitcase, when I sat in the side seats, did not obstruct anyone passing. The 108 I caught was a single bus with a trailer that doubled the size. We left with a dozen people and lost many of them before we got to Main St. Even then it was not at all crowded. Plenty of seats and room to maneuver."

Staying at Terribles or at the Tuscany and using the bus to access the strip is very safe and easy. On the return trip the bus stops right in front of each casino so there is no worry of being on Flamingo late at night and having to walk through any dark shadows.

At the Tuscany, if you get a room in building B, you will have just a few steps from the stop to your door. The bus is as close as the casino.

The notes on the 108 for 2010 include some mention of room for luggage. It is possible that 108 buses have been redesigned to more easily accomodate travelers with luggage from McCarren.

Bus access to restaurants

Often we miss great off strip restaurants because we don't know how to get there by bus.  Some are noted in trips along 202 and 201, here are others.  Share some and I'll add them.

Lindo Michoacan 

Three locations of this Mexican place voted the best in Vegas
They do send a limo to the strip, but for one person it seems too much.
The bus seems easy enough but I d
on't know exactly where to catch it
213 eastbound northbound
Lindo Michoacan - Desert Inn
2655 E. Desert Inn Road
This is the closest to the strip and the easiest to get to by bus.
Take the 213 along Desert Inn Road
Go to Topaz and Desert Inn.
If it seems hard to get there from the strip,
Try from Eastside Cannery.
Take 107 at Harmon North to Lamb about ten minutes
Take 213 southbound westbound to Topaz. About 5 minutes

Another way to go is to take the Pecos bus from the Pinball Hall of Fame directly to Desert Inn Road and walk the short distance toward the strip to the Mexican restaurant.
Depart Pecos and Tropicana on bus 111A and travel northbound
ride to McLeod at Desert Inn- takes 7 minutes. Walk for 5 minutes down Desert Inn Road toward the strip to the restaurant.


The people on the bus

I can't tell you how many interesting discussions I have had with people on the bus. Just ask questions and you will get entire life stories. But you do have to be tolerant of all sorts of folks. Poor folks ride these buses, so if you think cabbing is a step down from your limo, you may feel uncomfortable. If you have already stayed  downtown, I expect you are confident and at ease at lower economic levels. It is not any different than a bus or subway in larger cities around the world. It certainly is more entertaining than being isolated in a cab and the cost is equal to the cab tip.

  • Solo it is just great on the bus. I have  met so many interesting people. 
  • I met a crane operator who will retire after 30 years in Vegas and sold his 90 grand house for 900 grand to buy an RV; he plans on just traveling for a couple years. 
  • I met the most delightful woman who was as excited as a little kid to have found a sale on jackets and bought a winter, down-like jacket that came below her knees for just $7 at some store called SaveMore. I met an old drunk trying to hit on some European blonds. 
  • I met a Black preacher in the DTC with the most friendly manner who welcomed me to someday come back to Vegas, but assured me that if he were not here when I returned, he knew where he would be. "Well, I'll see you there, then."I replied, and he was so pleased at that response. 
  • I met cowboys with accents that fascinated me and kidding banter different from what goes on in my family. 
  • I rode for quite a while with a great looking little cowgirl from North Carolina who had just spent the day at Cowboy Christmas.
All those were in just one trip.
  • I remember in another meeting a middle aged fellow coming from the airport and helping with strategies around motivating his daughter at school.
  • I remember too one delight young black girl who reminded me of my former students.  She knew buses and once I asked a few questions, she started to rattle off all the routes she knew and how to take them and which were better in traffic.  I could use her on this blog.
  • I once sat in the front of the Deuce upstairs to get the fine, avoiding the damned Vegas noir experience of the advertisement wrapped buses.  A fellow sat next to me who knew Vegas history and insider stories and entertained me for the entire trip.  Again, I did not take notes for the blog.
  • In this same seat I sat with a trucker who had left his truck a good ways North broken down and waiting for something.  He had decided not sleep in the truck but do an all nighter in Vegas and found his way to it all on buses.
  • An old Vietnamese woman, stooped and just able to walk, told me the long story of her back and all  she had done to try to fix the problem and how it just kept coming back to her.
  • A young fellow told me how to get in to many Vegas social events by getting a press pass.  It was a bit expensive, but with the right credentials I could get inside some interesesting events and might even be invited to some functions.
I have not made long term relationships.  There is no twenty something young girl as I met in Costa Rica on a cheap Tico bus where for four hours she talked to me in English and I responded in Spanish.  I ended up being shown around by her on my next visit and  we still write to one another.  I found and sent to her the original music of "Rain, the Park, and Everything" by the Cowsills.  She had been trying to find the "Flower Girl" song that she remembered as a child singing to her now dead mother's record player.
But enjoying strangers and  their stories in cosmopolitan Vegas  is just a whole lot of fun.
And for references to inexpensive spots to eat or other locals spots of interest, especially along the residential route, the bus is a goldmine.



This site is a great source for free shuttles.  It is updated regularly.  Maps can be printed before you go.
Using the free shuttles with the buses is a great way to travel.  For example the Coast shuttle connects the Gold Coast with the Orleans.  This means that Flamingo destinations are connected with Tropicana destinations with no need to ride the ACE or Deuce.
The new area is on the free tram going from Bellagio to Monte Carlo.  There is another free tram going from Excalibur to Mandaly bay.  So, basically if you stay in the Flamingo area, you can access the more southern casinos for free using free trams with just a bit of walking between the two trams.