Groups of tourists needing to travel between the Las Vegas airport and the Strip soon will have a new transportation option.
The Regional Transportation Commission is set to launch a microtransit service pilot program this summer. The flexible-route, on-demand service will use minibuses to transport up to a dozen passengers at a time between McCarran International Airport and destinations along the resort corridor.
“Say you arrive at the airport and you’re with a group larger than a typical Uber or Lyft can accommodate, now we have these larger vehicles that can provide point-to-point service,” said David Swallow, senior director of engineering and technology for the commission. “We’re not trying to overtake Uber or Lyft by any means. It’s meant to fill a niche between what they can provide.”
The RTC is in talks with microtransit provider Via for the pilot program, which would last at least six months, Swallow said. Via has programs in Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, D.C.
Six vehicles, likely Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans, would be involved in the program, Swallow said. Plans are to operate on a 24-hour basis, depending on demand.
Diversifying the transportation landscape in Southern Nevada is a key as the area grows, said U.S. Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., who serves as chairwoman of the House subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management.
“I think we have to look at all the options,” she said. “We have to accommodate all kinds of users. I think you look at everything. The key is looking at it from the big-picture approach so it all coordinates, not piece by piece.”
As the pilot program progresses, RTC officials will determine where it fits in the valley’s transportation spectrum and consider other possible routes and expansion, Swallow said.
“This is a pilot program: If there’s a positive reception, we could scale it up,” he said.