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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 Comments that include websites will not be published.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.

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.

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