Bus ridership on the Strip declines as ride-hailing rises

The rising popularity of ride-hailing companies in Las Vegas is cutting into bus ridership and revenue along the Strip, officials with the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada said Thursday.

More than 12.8 million boardings were reported on the Deuce and the Strip & Downtown Express routes during the 2016-17 fiscal year that ended June 30, a 10.3 percent decline from the previous year, RTC Deputy General Manager MJ Maynard said.

“We recognize the fact that with new technologies like Uber and Lyft in the market there will be a dip in public transit ridership numbers, and we’re OK with that,” RTC General Manager Tina Quigley said. “It just means that we need to be adept, be willing to change and adjust our schedules appropriately.”

RTC officials said they have watched bus ridership gradually diminish along the Strip ever since state regulators allowed Uber and Lyft to operate in September 2015.

“We’re thrilled that Vegas tourists and residents alike have the ability to make a choice when it comes to transportation,” Uber spokeswoman Stephanie Sedlak said.

A Lyft spokeswoman declined to comment.

Residential bus ridership increased by a relatively flat 1 percent, Quigley said. Overall, 65.68 million boardings were reported on RTC’s network during the last fiscal year, a 2.6 percent drop from the previous year.

Buses operating along the Strip generated $20.23 million last fiscal year, nearly 12 percent down from the $22.9 million reported during the previous year. Systemwide, the RTC reported $67.38 million in revenue, down 3.58 percent from a year earlier.

Despite the declines, RTC officials said the dual bus lines along the Strip are the most profitable routes in the United States and help to pay for residential service in other areas of the Las Vegas Valley.

“What’s most important is that our visitors and our residents have a choice when it comes to how they’re going to get around,” Quigley said. “We fully expect in the future that different technologies are going to come in and alter the concept of fixed routes and public transit, and we just have to be ready.”

Contact Art Marroquin at amarroquin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0336. Find @AMarroquin_LV on Twitter.

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