The Las Vegas Monorail expects steady ridership gains through the balance of the decade that would sharply reverse the shrinking counts of the recent past.
As part of its push to win approval for its Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization case, the monorail projects passenger numbers would hit 6.7 million in 2019, 35 percent more than the 5.1 million expected this year. Even if the prediction is correct, the count would fall well short of the 10.3 million riders the monorail had in 2005, its first full year of operation.
Combined with steadily rising average ticket prices, the passenger revenue would run about $33 million in 2019, compared with the $21.6 million expected for this year and the $31.5 million peak recorded in 2007.
The monorail expects to operate at a profit for all but one of the years starting in 2012, but would record net losses due to payments on its debt. The bankruptcy reorganization plan calls for replacing $658.8 million in bonds used to purchase and expand the monorail in 2000 with $44.5 million in new IOUs, but many of them will not require cash repayment.
If the monorail were sold off to the highest bidder, it would net an estimated $6.5 million to $8.5 million for bondholders. Since the monorail is mechanically much different than any other, one analysis concluded, it would not be attractive for spare parts.