In an attempt to reach a larger share of potential customers, the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada launched a new microtransit service for those traveling between the resort corridor and the Las Vegas airport.
The Trip to Strip on-demand transit service pilot program kicked off with a soft opening last week, offering rides within a limited range.
The service area includes McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas Boulevard between Sahara Avenue to the north and Robindale Road to the south, the Las Vegas Convention Center area and a couple of outlier areas, including portions of Paradise and Flamingo roads.
The 24-hour service is operated on an app-based system that works similarly to Uber and Lyft. A customer hails a ride via their smartphone app, adds their destination and a predetermined price is displayed before the user confirms the ride.
Riders are transported in Ford Sprinter vans that fit up to 11 passengers at a time, featuring luxury, limousine-like seating and space for luggage. The program includes 12 vehicles, with two that are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The addition of the on-demand service comes after years of customer-satisfaction surveys suggesting the RTC incorporate a system similar to that of Uber and Lyft, said MJ Maynard, RTC deputy CEO.
“We’ve heard in the last couple of years they (customers) would be willing to utilize an on-demand service in the resort corridor,” Maynard said. “So, after a couple of years of hearing that, we took it as an opportunity to design the Trip to Strip as an extension of our current service.”
RTC hopes to distance itself from Uber and Lyft by using a set price and not including surge pricing, which can increase rates from Uber and Lyft to several times the normal rate when a special event is occurring.
The fair structure is mileage-based and the more people included on a ride, the cheaper it will be.
A price comparison at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday showed the RTC’s program was the cheapest option for a single occupant ride. A trip from McCarran to the MGM Grand on Trip to Strip cost $8.40, while a standard Lyft ride was $12.74 and $8.85 for the company’s shared option and UberX cost $11.26 and $10.70 using Uber Pool.
Tipping is available on the Trip to Strip app.
Drivers will wait for two minutes after they arrive for the customer to arrive at the designated pick up location. If the rider fails to show up a $5 cancellation fee will be charged to the customer.
Drinks are allowed on the RTC vehicles, including alcoholic drinks, if they’re in a closed container.
The RTC will fully launch the program on June 3 with an expanded service area on Las Vegas Boulevard stretching as far south as the M Resort in Henderson and as far north as the Mob Museum downtown. Other locations could be added as the pilot program progresses.
“What’s great about a pilot (program) it gives you a chance to look at all the data to find out what’s working and what’s not,” Maynard said. “We may look at extending the service to some of the off-Strip properties like the Orleans or the Palms. This is an extension of the services we provide to the resort corridor so, we’re going to stay contained to areas in and around the resort corridor.”