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or, better yet, give him a job."
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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Akit Helps to Make Changes in Las Vegas Transit

It's been a few weeks since my trip to Las Vegas where gambling kicked my butt, but the shows are totally worth the money.

During my time off (thanks furloughs), I decided to try out the Regional Transportation Commission's public transit service in the city so I can go around the Las Vegas Strip and to Downtown without the need for a taxicab... boy was I in a world of hell.

Fast? How fast? Pretty damn slow is a better way to say it.

On the day I arrived, they just added new bus service making limited stops along the strip and cutting through some side streets for a quicker ride to the Strip, but it was an absolute horror. The brand new buses were packed like sardines with very narrow aisle space for standees, minimal air conditioning (some buses had NONE with NO SLIDING WINDOWS!), and infrequent service. I was lucky I was walking around with crutches and was given a seat all the time.

They also run double decker buses along the strip and make every stop about a quarter mile. That was a hell hole too. I thought it would be worse than Muni, and I was right. Ever waited at a bus stop for 45 minutes, at the 35 minute mark, one bus arrives so packed the driver can't even allow others to get aboard, and everyone is forced to wait for the next one that never shows up. Everyone waiting at the stop was hailing cabs and I was asking people if they wanted to share a cab too. I finally gave up after their customer service folks took forever to give some answers and just walked it to the monorail.

Just to insult the paragraph above: Over two dozen buses were going the other direction, and in the same direction I'm waiting at, about six limited stop buses passed by AND NOT FULL!


When I came back to my home here in SF, I decided to write the RTC a nice message about my experiences. I even told them they could save some time if their drivers didn't keep punching the emergency brake and curbing their wheels before opening their doors (Muni doesn't do it).

They finally wrote back to me just a couple days ago and apologized like crazy. They also mentioned that "based on popular demand" the double decker buses will not serve just a short portion of the Strip, but will also restore service to Downtown (PDF document).

I call it a victory for all Las Vegas visitors who suffered. The "Akit effect" spreads beyond the Bay Area!


teehee said...

I live in the East Bay and go to Vegas several times a year, but have never taken their public transport for the reasons you mentioned. Thumbs up to you! Will you be publishing any of the reply they sent you?

Akit said...

Here's what they said:

In response to your complaint regarding the ACE service, I have the following response from our planning department. "Unfortunately the first week of operations we unexpectedly encountered a lot of operator unfamiliarity with the route and the vehicles themselves. This contributed to the majority of the problems we witnesses as we rode the system the first week. We have met with our contractor, Veolia Transportation, and identified ares where there are known issues as well as looking at the internal schedules to better operate the system. Most issues have actually been taken care of since then, including re-extending the Deuce back to downtown. Veolia is currently concentrating on the ends of the line and spacing out vehicles as they were designed to be spaced. Operators also now understand which stops they need to stop at for the ACE Gold line vs. the Deuce.

We are very sorry about the inconvenience experienced during this week and understand that it was very frustrating. We are hopeful that as time goes on we'll continue to see a better operation of both the Deuce and the ACE Gold Line." If you should have any additional questions, please feel free to contact us.

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