Monorail ridership climbs in 2007

The Las Vegas Monorail Co. saw more than 7.9 million riders walk through its turnstiles in 2007, up about 900,000 from the previous year, according to figures released Friday.

Yet, even with the increase in ridership, the monorail did not generate enough money to break even.

In the past three months, the monorail has brought in nearly $77,000 a day in farebox revenue and seen an average of nearly 22,000 riders daily, both down from the previous quarter. Ridership dropped more than 250,000 from the third quarter to the fourth quarter of 2007, from about 2.23 million to 1.98 million.

With an average fare of $3.57 collected per passenger, the monorail would need a daily average of about 34,454 riders to generate the $123,000 in daily revenue required to balance the monorail’s budget, according to a 2006 estimate by Fitch Ratings, a New York City-based credit ratings firm.

Since opening to the public on July 15, 2004, the $650-million, four-mile line with seven stops on the east side of the Strip has failed to turn a profit.

The monorail has yet to match its 2005 performance, which saw 10.2 million riders pass through its turnstiles.

November was the ninth straight month the monorail topped a daily average of 20,000 riders. In December, it dipped to a 19,157 daily average.

Ingrid Reisman, vice president of corporate communications for the company, said, “The Las Vegas Monorail Company experienced an increase in year-over-year ridership for the fourth quarter of 2007 of more than 21 percent. We will continue to work hard to promote the Las Vegas Monorail, which will become increasingly critical to mobility in our busy resort corridor.”

The monorail is trying to obtain financing to build a half-billion dollar extension to McCarran International Airport, which officials hope will increase ridership and turn a profit for the company.

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