What’s up faithful readers?!?
Sorry we’ve been so quiet around here, but we’ve been busy. Working, vacationing, living life. Being an adult is hard y’all and while we can’t wait to become one, we worry about that day since we’ll probably have even less time than we have now to write pithy little blogs about our dear old Translink.
Myself, I’ve been keeping busy by researching the Transit systems of other cities. It’s a tough job, but I’ll do it for our faithful readers. And if you want to contribute to my go-out-and-discover-new-transit-system fund I’d be very appreciative.
This past week I took a brief trip to Las Vegas and used their system to get to very important places. Namely outlet malls and Freemont Street (home of the old school casinos). From the get-go it all seemed very confusing. We hit up the concierge at our hotel (Ballys: nice rooms but bad waitresses f0r the casino service) who made it all seem so hard. I longed for my dear, comfortable Tranlink. We were told we’d need to take two buses, there would be a transfer in the middle of the desert and then we’d arrive at the outlets about an hour after we left. Fun!
We arrived at the stop and found that it was a lot less complicated. Yay! They had handy maps at the stop that told us we’d only need to take one bus and it was an express. Sadly, it didn’t stop at the stop we were at, so we technically did need to take a first bus and transfer at the next stop (Vegas means very sore feet, we could have walked but taking the bus was a preventative measure).
The first bus that stopped had a very rude driver, but having ridden Translink for so long I can’t say it was too out of the ordinary for me. He kept yelling at us to pay for our tickets at the stop instead of on the bus, even though the passengers before us were paying on board and the concierge also told us to have exact change for on board payment (which left me utterly confused since I couldn’t fathom exact change with actual paper money… I can pay with paper? WTF?). So we got off the bus to pay at the machine and he left without us. Maybe they wanted me to feel at home?
Eventually we got the bus that would take us to the stop that would lead us to the express that would get us to the shops. Overall, I’d say the bus system is pretty easy to understand. Sure, it caused some confusion, but so would Translink to those who aren’t accustomed to taking it. Generally the drivers were helpful to those getting on, maybe more so than what I’ve seen on Translink. I chalked that up to the fact that they’re dealing with so many tourists in a day and used to being asked a million times a day if they were the ones to take them to discount deals.
The buses are clean, with no free newspapers littering the seats. Air conditioned, a must in the hot desert air (between 24-29 degrees the 4 days I was there). Buses are new and pretty streamlined, plenty of seats and standing room. And they run a lot like the b-lines, boarding from all doors and occasional checks by a guy who boards the bus infrequently to check. The driver on the express sits behind a partition and has no contact with the passengers.
Overall, I’d say the Las Vegas bus experience was a good one. I was impressed by the looks and the comfort of the system but a little put off by it’s initial confusion. I really liked that bus tickets could be purchased by machine at the stops, so if you’re not one to carry around correct change you could use credit card or debit to buy your ticket. Not to mention the price… $7 for a day pass. Meaning 24 hours of use anywhere in the city, none of this zone business, for a mere $7. I think for a pass for 2 hours it was $3, which was a little more than what is offered for a one zone pass here, but again the $3 covers the whole city. We opted for the day pass and used them to take us shopping and later at night to Freemont. If we had woken up earlier the next day we would have used it to get us to other hotels further down the strip, but that never happened.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you their transit system is better than what we have with Translink. I understand that a few mere trips in a day does not make a valuable opinion, rather it’s a good experience on a foreign system. I’m sure if left to ride their bus system everyday I’d be just as jaded and writing a blog and tweeting about how the tourists annoyed me and that it wasn’t arriving fast enough.
Overall, I’d recommend the public transit system though. It’s cheaper than cabs or shuttles and just as convenient when trying to get around, particularly to popular destinations.
Any stories to share about the Las Vegas transit system or getting around in Vegas in general? How about the traffic…. brutal eh? Don’t even get me started on their obnoxiously long traffic lights.