From the mailbag

Today’s “Question of the Day” about the future of the Sahara Hotel & Casino‘s monorail stop (and, by extension, the future of the Las Vegas Monorail itself) provoked a long and thoughtful response from an S&G reader. (By the way, don’t forget to take our poll on the Sahara.) The fate of the bankrupt Monorail …

“… also points out an issue with any rail-based form of mass transportation — its enormous inflexibility, especially compared with bus-based options. As population centers and resort destinations change over time, rail-based transportation is unable to adapt to the change in demand for its services.

“Consider this: instead of some (extremely-expensive) pie-in-the-sky high-speed rail system linking a single-point terminus in the SoCal region (central Los Angeles, Anaheim, LAX, Victorville, ???) to a single-point terminus in the Vegas area (Downtown, South Strip, North Strip, McCarran, ???) that would be a decade or more in the future before actually operating at a construction cost of multi billions of dollars, the same number of daily passengers could be moved via high-end hybrid commuter buses for a literal FRACTION of the cost — and start operating later this year.

“Additionally, instead of just one inconvenient (for the majority of potential passengers) terminus location in the massive SoCal region, there could be at least 5-10 locations throughout the area, ranging from Thousand Oaks through central LA and down to Orange County (and even San Diego).

“Want to add Phoenix? Instead of spending BILLIONS to add a rail leg down to the Valley of the Sun, for the cost of just a few of these hybrid commuter buses service to Phoenix is added — done. With the savings of billions of dollars in construction costs, the operating costs of these buses could be subsidized (if needed) from just a fraction of that savings.

“Imagine this:  you live in Thousand Oaks (on the northern edge of the SoCal region), or Anaheim, or San Diego, or even Phoenix. For a subsidized cost of $20 each way, from a convenient location close to your house you can be driven in comfort to Vegas in a brand-new high-end vehicle and be dropped off at multiple locations along the Strip (and even Downtown). That service could be up and running later this year — with just a small sliver of the federal dollars being thrown at the ‘high-speed’ rail option (which is more and more looking like it might not be that ‘high-speed’ after all — even after costing billions).

“As a driver to Vegas when visiting, I for one would seriously consider such an option (especially at that low of cost). And getting 50 or so passengers per hybrid-bus out of their cars and into single vehicles would HAVE to help with the congestion that everyone complains about getting into and out-of Vegas on the weekends, as well as with helping the environment.

“And linking back to the Question of the Day:  so what if an old resort closes, or a popular new resort opens, or a new population center pops up in SoCal — these pick-up and drop-off locations can be easily modified as needed by market-force demands.

“Ah, forget it, this plan is really more of a ‘Shelbyville‘ sort of plan.. :-)”

Just make those bus drivers take sobriety tests — that’s all I ask.
Elsewhere … the re-themed, semi-refurbished Tropicana Las Vegas gets a thumbs-up from About.com. Out east, readers of American Casino Guide (bookmark that site!) have their say on Cannery Casino Resorts‘ sister property in Pennsylvania, the racino known as The Meadows. Their verdict? A resounding “meh” — 2.5 out of a possible five stars.
This entry was posted in Alex Yemenidjian, Arizona, California, Cannery Casino Resorts, Current, Downtown, Pennsylvania, Racinos, Sahara, The Strip, Tourism, Transportation. Bookmark the permalink.