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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 Comments that include websites will not be published.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, October 22, 2011

Classic newbie question and responses

Originally Posted by Vincev33 View Post
I originally rented a car for our 3 night stay in December. I see that you can buy a 3 day pass for the RTC busses for like $20. Has anyone done this? Is it convenient? Looks like it stops everywhere and can save me like $150!!! Thoughts??
Yes, many of us here are veteran bus riders.

Once all the bus changes settle, perhaps I'll start this blog up for real again.
However, since you seem to be just discovering the bus, some of the more recent posts should be helpful. The oldest posts refer to routes that may have changed or been eliminated, but they might still give you ideas to follow up.
Just pay attention to the dates of the posts and also the dates of the threads here on this board that a post might direct you too. There are long discussions of buses here.

The place to get the latest, definitive information on buses (except for senior fare issues) is here

Probably the best tool on the site is the route planner on the left. You can being up detailed plans from one place to another and it will tell you how to do, the time it should take, and how many stops. This is current information.

Printing out the bus schedules from that sections for routes you might like to take is helpful as well. Some very fine and uncrowded buses only run at certain times an hour apart. So you can plan when to leave the gambling table.

My favorite route is the 202 along Flamingo. I think of Flamingo as my strip.
If you connect up that bus with the free shuttles at Bill's or Gold Coast, you have quite a network of casinos.
Late night/early morning bus rides mean waiting at a bus stop and wondering who will pass. The Flamingo, going back to Tuscany, Terribles, or Eastside Cannery puts you right where you would park if you had a car. Sam's Town is not a bad drop either. I would not hesitate coming back to the strip from Eastside Cannery at any hour. The 202 bus just sits there at the end of the route.

In Nevada in 2009 deaths in cars compared to deaths on buses were 47 to 1.
So that is added benefit. It is much safer.
Also, you can't drink and then drive, but you can drink and then ride.(no drinking on the bus)
To your $150 savings add the value of the free drinks you can now enjoy without worries. That value itself may be equal to the car rental savings.

Whenever possible substitute something for the Deuce. SDX
is a good choice. There are also two other ways to access the strip from downtown: The Centennial Express and the already mentioned WAX.

The newest buses are two just opened on Boulder Highway. This month there are free days (but only for locals). This bus makes all the casinos along the Boulder Strip and even downtown Henderson accessible and cuts in half the ride from downtown to Arizona charlie's, Boulder Station, Sam's Town, Eastside Cannery, Joker's Wild.

The downsides against buses:

They are not always as quick as cabs and of course don't give you flexibility as does car renting. However, I might rent just one day to go to Red Rock. You reduce enormously your possibility of accident if you use the rental far away from the tourists, drunks, cabbies making lights, and locals angry at all of them.
For one thing, most fatalities in buses are when the victim of the accident is stopped at a light and rear ended. Note that there is really not too much to do to protect against that except to reduce the number of lights in your journey.

During hot weather, the waits outside can be restrictive.

And for some people, being mixed in with lower economic classes and working people is uncomfortable. For me, that is part of the treat, as I almost always end up with some good stories on the buses off the strip. Often the length of a ride is well paid for by information I gather or people I meet.

For full discussion and more detailed responses, see this thread:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Video on finding ground zero

Great little video on finding ground zero.

Two comments.
At the bottom of the escalator you won't see a sign for ground zero but you are there.  There is a sign but it lists other information.

They want you to buy a premium pass in the vending machine.  With dollars you can buy a residential pass from the driver of the bus.  You must have exact change.  Technically, you are not supposed to buy a residential pass and afterwards board the Deuce or the SDX.
Seniors in particular, with a senior ID issued by the bus company, can get a 24 hour residential pass for $2 or a one way ticket for $1.

How and Why to get a senior ID

To get a senior reduced fare you have to prove you are 60 and go to the Bonneville Transit Center and have your photo taken and a reduced fare ID made for you on the spot. This takes 15 minutes.
This is good for 5 years.
Even folks from other countries have gotten them with passport.

This allows you reduced fare on all buses except the Deuce and the SDX and on those buses as well with a 5 day all access pass available at Walgreen's downtown or at Walgreen's Albertsons or a machine near Flamingo and Maryland or at many other vendors around town.
Any one way trip on any bus except those two will be just a $1 and a 24 hour pass will be $2.
Popular routes other than Deuce SDX include:
Flamingo 202 that gives access to Gold Coast, Rio Palms, the strip at Bally's, Ellis Island, Tuscany, Terribles, Sam's Town and the Eastside Cannery.
Tropicana 201 that gives access to the Orleans or the Pinball hall of Fame.
You ID also allows you to buy long term passes from the BTC or from certain vendor's around town including that Walgreen's downtown.
And with it in your pocket, your next airport trip on the WAX is just $1 one way or $2 from 24 hours.
WAX also gets you to Suncoast and Rampart is under a mile walk.
106 gets you to Texas Station and Fiesta.
Such bus convenience for such little money means you can book a cheap hotel off strip and still roll back safely at 3AM.

5 day passes are all access.  i was assured of that at the BTC.
They told me on Facebook and in person at the BTC that no local ID was required for a 5 day all access pass.
24 hour passes are not all access unless you have a local ID. Few bus drivers or inspectors ask for the ID, but those are the rules.
Residential buses will give you limited strip access. The WAX drops at Tropicana and the Centennial Express drops around the Fashion Show mall.

While riding the Deuce or the SDX with just a 24 hour residential pass is not considered technically correct (Only locals with a local ID can do that), Hammie rode 4 times his last trip and was never asked to show his local ID.

There is no gray area around buying a 30 day all access pass. That is good on any bus, any time, and with the senior ID you get one for $30, just what you will pay to ride the Deuce/SDX for 4 days on 24 hour passes.

Neither the 5 day passes, nor the 30 day passes are sold anyplace except the BTC and a bunch of vendors who generally are no where around tourists. However, if you want two at a time or to buy one for a future trip, then you must buy the unactivated passes from a vendor.  If you buy them at the BTC or in a machine at the SSTT, they will be activated at the time of purchase.
Here are the vendor locations

Most tourists I know use the Walgreen's downtown or the Albertson's or Walgreen's near Flamingo and Maryland that can be accessed on the 109 from the airport.

RTC offers disappointing new site

Moving again in a direction of separating tourists from locals, RTC is offering a site that will advise trourists on how to use the bus system without mentioning residential or reduced fare passes at all. In fact, it just ignores that aspect of bus riding except to print a very confusing second set of rates for the WAX buses.