Traveling by Taxis, Shuttles, Buses, and Ride-Share
Taxis in Las Vegas are about as common as slot machines – you’ll always be able to find them near the entrances of the hotels, at the airport, and cruising the tourist areas of town. The price for all cab companies is the same: $3.30 to get in (unless you are getting in at McCarran Airport, where there is an additional $2.00 surcharge) and then $2.60 per mile. If the taximeter senses that the cab is moving less than 8-12 mph, an additional pro-rated charge of $30 per hour will be added for wait time. There is also a 25 cent per mile surcharge and 3% tax on all charges and fees tacked on at the end.
Taxis also have fixed fare routes from the airport to The Strip. If you’re going to a hotel on The Strip south of Tropicana Avenue (Mandalay Bay, Luxor, Excalibur, etc.) it’ll cost $19; hotels from Tropicana Avenue to Flamingo Road (Aria, Bellagio, Paris, etc.) will cost $23; and anything north of Flamingo to the Stratosphere (Caesars, Wynn, Sahara, etc.) will cost $27. This is about what you’d pay on a normal trip in a taxi now, which is actually a few bucks more than what you’ll usually pay with Uber or Lyft except when the dreaded surge pricing is in effect (which it often is in Las Vegas). If you pull up the rideshare app and see a surge, consider the flat fare cab instead.
Prices are good for up to 5 people in the cab. Be sure that the prices are posted before you let the cab move!
Just on the off chance you need to call ahead, here are the major companies and their phone numbers.
|Desert Cab Company||702-386-9102|
|Lucky Cab Company||702-477-7555|
|Nellis Cab Company||702-248-1111|
|Western Cab Company||702-736-8000|
Several companies offer shuttles from the airport to all the hotels and back again. You don’t need to make a reservation in advance – just go outside from where you pick up your luggage and you’ll see them cruising the driveway. Most charge anywhere from $10-$25 per person depending on where you’re going. Please note that these prices are per person and change often so make sure the prices are posted clearly on the side of the bus before you get on board.
Many of these companies also offer limousine service. Those must be arranged in advance.
|Executive Las Vegas||702-646-4661|
The city buses in this town are notoriously overcrowded and late. However, if you are on a strict budget and can’t afford taxis, rideshare, or a rental car this is your only true alternative at this point as there are no other mass transit systems.
The primary bus you will be dealing with is called The Deuce, a double-decker that trolls The Strip, or the Strip & Downtown Express. They are nicer than normal buses and they do a better job of keeping up with things than they used to but they still have to sit in the mind numbing traffic on Las Vegas Boulevard and are often very crowded.
The cost is $6 for a 2-hour unlimited on-off pass, $8 for an all-day pass, and $20 for a 3-day pass. There are discounts for seniors, children, and so on.
The easiest way to get passes is using the RTC app. For more information visit the Citizen’s Area Transit website (see below).
Citizens Area Transit (CAT)
702-455-4481 for schedules
As of September 2015, Uber and Lyft are operating in Las Vegas.
In case you’re not familiar with how ride-sharing apps work, the short version is that you need a ride somewhere, someone else has a car, and they are willing to give you a lift for a fee. To use the service, you download the app and create an account with a credit card. When you need to go somewhere, simply log on to the app, tap a couple of things, and presto… a car is on its way to you with a pre-negotiated price (you can add a tip but it isn’t required) that is automatically billed to your credit card. No money changes hands.
The people who pick you up are not licensed taxi drivers – they are just people giving you a ride somewhere – although the ride share services say they have rigorous screenings and background checks of the drivers and require newer model cars with inspections and insurance. At this they are only operating their basic service, for instance Uber X, which is usually a small economy car, is all that is available but they are expected to expand to the XL (larger car), Black, SUV, Lux, and Access fleets at some point.
The services are doing pick-ups and drop-offs at all of the major hotels on The Strip and Downtown plus pretty much everywhere else in the city. They are doing only doing drop-offs at McCarran International Airport for now but are working on a system to add pick-ups there as well.
Base rates are standardized, with Uber at $2.40 to get in and $1.80 per mile plus a $1 safety fee and 30 cents per minute while Lyft is at $2.40, $1.85, and $1.55 respectively. Compare this to standard taxi rates, which are $3.50 to get in and $2.86 per mile.
It is worth noting, however, that Uber and Lyft employ what they call “surge pricing,” which basically means that the busier they are, the higher the prices are. I check on Friday afternoon and Uber was operating at a 2.9x surge price, meaning that a trip from The Mirage to the airport, which would normally cost you around $30, was going for around $90. This will probably calm down as they get more cars on the road.