Changing Las Vegas’ Transportation

By Theresa Schill 

There are many Las Vegas locals who do not own cars and are forced to travel by bus, on foot, or by riding a bicycle. I am one of them and have experienced first-hand the transportation of Las Vegas. The transit system has many problems I can name off the top of my head including: inconsistency with bus arrivals, differing weekend and weekday schedules, only two spots for bikes, and a lack of benches at bus stops. Due to the numerous inadequacies of the system, I will focus only on the bus stops and the improvements that should be made. While many of my readers may have cars, there is the off chance that they will one day ride the bus, and I am sure everyone would prefer to be as comfortable as possible while waiting for the next bus to arrive. 

During the month of February, there was a “fixed route monthly ridership” of over 4.8 million people, and the bus stops are a major concern for them. There are several different types of bus stops around the Las Vegas valley, and all provide different comfort levels during the wait for the bus arrival. The waiting time can last anywhere from 5-40 minutes, depending on the time a person arrives at the stop. The quality of wait time is contingent on weather conditions, and the structure of the bus stop can help alleviate many of the inconveniences the weather causes.

Currently, there are three different types of bus stops:

  1. There is a sign announcing a bus stop.
  2. There is a sign with a bench next to it.
  3. There is a sign, a bench, a cover over the bench, and many include a trash can.

The picture on the right represents the third type–the best type of bus stop in Las Vegas. While waiting, a person may sit in a shaded area so the sun is not shining directly on him or her. These bus stops allow for optimal comfort while waiting for the bus to arrive. All bus stops should have the pieces listed above (bench, cover, and trash can), but they are currently inconsistent in design.

Providing benches is important for everyone. It allows the handicapped and the elderly to sit while waiting. A bench is a place for young children to sit while their parents stand nearby. Having a place to sit near a bus stop sign is also a clear indication that this is indeed a bus stop.

A bench may seem like enough, but this is Las Vegas where summer temperatures reach over 100˚F. Waiting in the blistering sun could cause sunburns, hyperthermia, and heat stroke. I know when I use the bus, I’d prefer to wait in the shade of a tree, but this luxury does not exist at every stop. Providing a means to deal with Las Vegas weather is an excellent way to provide the maximum comfort level to those taking the bus on a daily basis.

Trash cans are important as well. The bus has a policy stating that eating and drinking on the bus is prohibited. Not providing a trash can mean that there isn’t a receptacle to throw away any food or drink that cannot be brought on the bus. This either causes littering or the bus driver will allow patrons to bring food on the bus, trusting they will not eat until they exit.

Adding a bench, a cover, and a trash can at each bus stop will improve the quality of wait time between each bus arrival. Now, the question is: how can we make sure this is carried out? The first step is making the city and state officials aware of the problem by writing letters or emailing. There is also a place on the RTC transit website for comments. The two websites allow bus users to contact state officials and the RTC transit system:

An example of a possible letter could be as follows:

 To Whom It May Concern:

 I am a resident of Las Vegas, NV where traveling by bus is common. It has come to my attention that many of the bus stops provided by the RTC transit system do not provide a place for handicapped and elderly to rest, plus there isn’t enough shelter from the range of weather conditions we see year-round. I propose adding benches and covers at every bus stop to give relief to the daily bus travelers.

Once officials have been made aware of the problem, it falls into the their hands to raise awareness and possibly contact businesses to help fund the changes. They could establish a program like Adopt-a-Highway where businesses, such as Zappos, provide the funds to add the pieces necessary for ideal bus stops.

With the addition of the amenities above, the idea of taking a bus might be attractive to Las Vegas residents. Changing the bus stops may produce a domino effect. By drawing more people onto the bus, Las Vegas would benefit from fewer cars on the road, translating to cleaner air. Let’s try to make the bus as appealing as a Ferrari.

Las Vegas does not have major traffic (compared to Los Angeles or Chicago) and yet we have a public transportation system that’s lagging behind. This city deserves better public transportation. We’re one of the hottest spots in the United States. Let’s make sure Las Vegas is truly fabulous!


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