The champagne flowed early Tuesday morning at Las Vegas City Hall, where officials feted the official launch of a new free shuttle service, dubbed the Downtown Loop.
Mayor Carolyn Goodman cracked open a bottle of bubbly against the side of a magenta minibus, christening a six-month pilot program.
“Where there’s transportation, there’s economic development,” said M.J. Maynard, the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada’s deputy general manager.
The city of Las Vegas is partnering with the commission and Keolis Transit on the program. The city is paying $275,000 for the first six months, and has an option to extend for another six months at the same cost.
The city’s new endeavor could save visitors and Las Vegans money or spare them a scorching walk when they head across downtown this summer. The two shuttles will hold 19 passengers apiece and halt at seven predetermined downtown stops every 20 minutes.
“It has really been a passion of mine to move people around this community for free,” Goodman said.
The mayor boarded the bus Tuesday at the Las Vegas Premium Outlets stop clutching shopping bags and joining a gaggle of media members and city employees. Tuesday’s ceremonial start to the service followed a “soft opening” over the weekend. The theatrics continued as the bus rolled on Tuesday, stopping to pick up a showgirl and former Mayor Oscar Goodman, signature gin martini in hand, and mobster and Elvis impersonators. Facebook Live stream:
The four dedicated Downtown Loop drivers previously drove RTC routes on the Strip. Goodman would like to see the shuttles become a permanent fixture in downtown, with more stops in the Medical District and Cashman Center.
“My hope is one day we’ll be able to expand the route and have many more Loop vehicles,” Goodman said.
Contact Jamie Munks at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0340. Follow @JamieMunksRJ on Twitter.
Stops: Bonneville Transit Center, Arts District, Pawn Plaza, Fremont East Entertainment District, The Mob Museum, Fremont Street Experience, Las Vegas Premium Outlets.
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 3 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.