The $52.5 million underground people mover designed by Elon Musk’s Boring Co. began transporting World of Concrete trade show attendees at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Monday.
After weeks of testing and demonstrations, the system with mile-long twin tunnels beneath the Convention Center began providing rides in a fleet of Teslas to cut the distance that show attendees must walk to reach different convention halls as temperatures hovered around 100 degrees.
The first day of the show Monday was dedicated to educational sessions. When the trade show floor opens Tuesday, more people are expected to use the system because the show is split over the West and North halls.
Show producers have not issued an estimate of how many will attend, but when World of Concrete arrives every January after CES, around 60,000 people show up. Fewer people are expected at this show because many concrete and masonry workers are working construction jobs.
A spokeswoman for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority said Monday that system riders would have to show their convention badges at the stations in order to ride. Only convention attendees and Las Vegas Convention Center support staff will be allowed to ride.
The arrival of the World of Concrete show this week is a significant event because it is the first major trade show anywhere in the country since the COVID-19 pandemic closed convention centers nationwide in March 2020 to try to slow the spread of the virus.
Gov. Steve Sisolak, Clark County Commission Chairwoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick, LVCVA board Chairman John Marz — a Henderson city councilman — LVCVA President and CEO Steve Hill and Charlie McCurdy, CEO of World of Concrete producer Informa Markets, on Tuesday will speak at a ribbon-cutting event to open the show as well as mark the first use of the $1 billion West Hall expansion of the Convention Center.
Immediately after the ribbon-cutting, LVCVA board members will convene for their monthly board meeting where Hill is expected to report on the successful Convention Center Loop capacity test. Hill tweeted on May 28 that the system exceeded the goal of transporting 4,440 passengers per hour in a test.
Skeptics continue to post on social media that the Boring Co. still hasn’t delivered what it originally promised, including a high-capacity vehicle capable of carrying up to 16 passengers per ride through the tunnels and vehicles operating in an autonomous mode instead of with a driver.
Drivers paid for by the LVCVA are operating the Tesla fleet during World of Concrete.
Among the Convention Center Loop skeptics is Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman, a board member who has consistently voted against measures involving the Boring Co. project.