Terry Ford of Las Vegas is the rare local who drives on the clogged Strip often — several times a week for up to eight hours at a time.
“It’s funny. I can go up the whole Strip, from one end to the other, at 20 miles an hour faster than some people can go at 40,” said Ford, who drives a mobile billboard for Kre8 Media Outdoor Advertising. “They get stuck in stop-and-go traffic. I can go without stopping sometimes because you learn the traffic patterns; you learn the signals.
Much of the time, Kre8’s drivers go up and down the Strip, “but sometimes we have contracts that take us to high-traffic areas in Henderson or Summerlin,” said Justin Bolt, Kre8’s assistant director of operations.
For safety reasons, the trucks don’t change lanes unless it’s necessary. The drivers don’t do U-turns or back up. They drive with the flow of traffic. If it’s too windy, they’ll either take an alternate route or call it a day.
Last year, wind knocked over two mobile billboards owned by another company.
“We basically try to drive as courteously as possible,” Bolt said. “We let the buses come in, because they’ve got somewhere to go. We’re already where we need to be.”
Aggressive drivers and pedestrians not abiding by the rules of the road bother the drivers the most.
“It’s relaxing,” Ford said. “Driving the Strip can be stressful if you make it that way. You’re not really in a hurry to go anywhere. People who think they have to hurry somewhere let the traffic drive them crazy.”
The drivers take breaks at set locations. The trucks are parked with the billboard facing the street.
Managing partner Jeremie Watkins estimates that Kre8 operates about 70 percent of the mobile billboards in Las Vegas, with 41 trucks, most carrying vinyl signs. The company is building its fifth digital display truck. Signs can be changed on the fly from the office; Clark County and state regulations require that the vehicles be stopped when the sign is changed.
Kre8 also has constructed some mobile billboards with moving elements, including ones for Ka and the High Roller. A recent nine-day campaign for Lucky Dragon Casino featured a truck that was open on both sides with a live drummer playing on it.
“The drivers really enjoy the work and watching the reactions of the people on the street as they see our trucks drive by,” Watkins said. “I think people who come here expect to see something different every time they’re here. That’s why we like it when we have something unusual on our trucks, like the drummer.”
Despite driving up and down the same road all day, Ford said he’s never bored. The Strip puts on a show.
“You see odd vehicles, weird people, the acts, parades and in the summer you see people jumping into the fountains,” he said. “You see a lot of interesting things out on the road, that’s for sure.”
To reach East Valley View reporter F. Andrew Taylor email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 702-380-4532.