The Regional Transportation Commission commemorated the launch of its new ride-sharing service Tuesday with the help of some local celebrities.
Terry Fator and his turtle, Winston, two cast members of Chippendales, a Cirque du Soleil performer and former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, accompanied by two showgirls, poured from a Trip to Strip van to show their support for the new service.
After a soft launch in May, the microtransit service officially debuted June 3. Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority board members — including Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman — were among the stakeholders helping commemorate the pilot program during Tuesday’s event at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
“Just because we’re a government agency, it doesn’t mean we have the luxury of just sitting back and watching technology evolve and not being a part of it,” RTC CEO Tina Quigley said. “I believe it’s our obligation to be testing and piloting projects to find what works for our public.”
To access the service, users download the Trip to Strip smartphone app and enter their pickup location and destination to generate a predetermined price.
They can order a ride within the specified area, which extends from downtown, through the resort corridor and south to the M Resort, with a stop at McCarran International Airport. Pickup stops are located at RTC fixed route bus stops and designated paratransit stops, often near hotel entrances.
Trip to Strip operates with Ford vans that fit up to 11 passengers and feature a limousine-style interior with leather seats, free Wi-Fi access and space for luggage. Two of the vans are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
RTC spokeswoman Monika Bertaki said that unlike ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft, Trip to Strip does not raise its prices during busy times, making it more affordable for tourists. The service has received positive feedback but does not yet have data on its usage because it is so new, she said.
“People are excited that there’s no surge pricing and that it can carry up to 11 people,” Bertaki said. “There’s not really anything else like that out there.”
Quigley said that if the program is moved out of its pilot status by the Federal Transit Administration, the RTC will determine whether the service can be extended beyond the Strip based on areas of popular commute. Quigley said this would give residents a transit option beyond fixed bus routes or driving their own cars, helping to reduce traffic.
“Ultimately we do want to reduce the footprint of vehicles we have on our roadways,” Quigley said. “If we can reduce the number of personal trips — and even Uber and Lyft trips — we can get more capacity out of the roads.”