PLANNING WHICH TO RIDE AND WHAT PASS TO BUY
For so many people the Deuce has been their only Vegas bus experience, and many are so turned off by overcrowding, they are never willing to ride a Vegas bus again. The ACE should change that experience. In the meantime, the non strip routes are uncrowded and cheaper.
If I do take the Deuce back to downtown, it is at the end of my gambling, say 2 AM and I try to be down at the Riviera when I board to head downtown as by then, there will usually be seats. At least I will board at the Venetian where there are the delightful nighttime views of European Cathedrals, the gentle rock of the gondolas in the calm water, and soft classical music pumped out to the street.
However, I am getting older and I can't seem to stay out as late as I once could, so at times I am boarding going North at midnight.
If large crowds have gathered to board at the Venetian, I pay attention to where the bus actually stops. Usually I have found it is beyond the stop itself, so positioning myself a bit North of the Venetian stop works to put me at the head of the pack for boarding and may save me having to wait for the second bus.
If you board the Deuce to downtown and there are no seats, squeeze through the crowds and go upstairs even if those seats are full as well. Folks will be getting off and then, having already negotiated the stairway, you can get first bid on the seats that they abandon. Generally, I get a spot upfront as the view at night is quiet wonderful.
Especially in the daytime, I take what were called "general market" routes. These are less crowded because there are fewer tourists, and the fare is less, but one must have correct change:
Carry dollar bills and quarters. The buses do not give change. However, you can buy passes in vending machines with your credit card. I don't know where all of the machines are located, but I know there are some at the DTC downtown and just around the corner from where the Deuce picks up at the end of Freemont outside Neonopolis. Before the ACE starts running these machines will be located at each ACE stop along the strip. I have been told that at these vending machines I can first insert my senior reduced fare identity card and the machine will give me the reduced are menu.
Usually I just buy 24 hour passes on the bus and the drivers sell these for correct change, giving senior discounts as well as long as you have the picture ID.
Here might be a good place to get you thinking in terms of the flexibility of 24 hour day passes. Often they can cover your bus needs for two days.
Your first day in Vegas you head out around supper time for the strip.
You buy your 24 pass at 4PM on Day one.
It gets you home after long poker seesions at 3AM, and you sleep in the next day.
Day two you head out to the strip and board the bus before 4PM so your first pass is good.
Again you come home at 3 AM and buy a 24 hour pass on the way home.
The third day you head out for poker whenever you want. As long as you board to come home before 3 AM, this second pass is still good.
3 days in Vegas and you have all the transportation you need for the $14 price of two passes. If the new proposal take effect and seniors can get a reduced 24 hour all access pass for $3.50, this system will save over the $10 new rate for a 3 day pass.
Of course, it is almost the same to buy a 3 day pass before you head out, but you lose if the second day you decide not to head to the strip. I have trouble planning 3 days in Vegas. I might be tired or hungry or decide on a show. I might get into a game at the El Cortez and decide to play for 14 hours. I might lose the pass the second day.
Knowing how to stretch the 24 hour pass into the same value when your schedule allows is more flexible.
Gerry and Les, board and the best bus riders I know, do not want to walk to the current DTC, so they stand at that stop that drops off at Walgreen's and take the first bus they meet to the DTC station in order to select their route for the day. Because they can take any bus and end up at the DTC, it does not take long for them to catch the ride they want and they don't have to negotiate the blocks in between. Of course, these routes too will be altered when the ACE and the new DTC are up and running. It may well turn out that the walk to the new site does not feel safe for many of us, and then we will have to catch a bus to take the bus unless our desired route has stops in the downtown areas.