The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada’s foray into the ride hailing sector is coming to a halt after a six-month pilot program.
After launching the Trip to Strip program in response to customer feedback, the service will end effective Dec. 30 after transporting over 60,000 passengers during the half-year test period.
The 24-hour service involved 12, 11-person capacity sprinter-like vans picking up passengers after they hailed a ride with the service via a smartphone app. The service traveled to and from McCarran International Airport, the Las Vegas Convention Center, the Resort Corridor and some resorts as far south as The M.
Despite seeing consistent month-over-month growth, the service is ending due to monetary limits at the RTC, according to agency spokesperson Angela Castro.
“The standard for new public transit services is to reach peak ridership within three years,” Castro said. “Unfortunately, due to the financial constraints facing our overall transit system, we currently do not have the luxury of time to allow the new service to reach its full potential and decided to discontinue funding for Trip to Strip at the end of the six-month pilot period.”
The service will leave an almost $2.4 million budget hit for the RTC, as the program cost almost $3 million to operate — from an all-inclusive fee from the contractor Keolis North America that included fuel, maintenance, drivers and vehicles and $90,000 spent on marketing — while $300,000 in revenue was generated during the pilot program.
Despite not making it past the initial six-month pilot period, the service was an important program for the RTC, as it provided useful insight for future transit programs, Castro said.
Some of the key takeaways by the RTC from the Trip to Strip program include:
-Consumers will use an on-demand microtransit service as a viable transit option;
-There is interest from properties and businesses who are farther from the Las Vegas Strip and downtown to partner with RTC on this type of service;
-The on-demand service gave RTC the flexibility to tailor the service area and operating cost to demand, unlike the fixed-route bus service where operational costs cannot be adjusted.
The 63 operations staff members dedicated to Trip to Strip and all employees who worked on the Trip to Strip service will continue to be employed by Keolis North America, returning to their previous work roles.
During the pilot program the top destinations were McCarran International Airport, Bellagio, and the Venetian.
The top origins of trips were the South Point, the Grandview at Las Vegas Resort (next door to South Point) and Circus Circus.
Trip to Strip concluding doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the RTC pursuing a long term ride hailing program, as it will continue to evaluate how this type of service could enhance the transit system in the future, Castro said.
“A new fixed-route transit line costs between $105 and $110 per hour to operate, while Trip to Strip cost the agency approximately $60 per hour to operate and can be adjusted to demand,” she said. “The RTC has determined that microtransit technology is here and it works. It can be used in other areas that may not have access to transit yet.”
The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson. Las Vegas Sands operates The Venetian.