Uber and Lyft have a new competitor — the Regional Transportation Commission.
The RTC has launched an on-demand ride-share service called “Trip to Strip,” which shuttles passengers to various locations within the tourist corridor. Last week, the transportation agency released a video promoting the new service that featured comedian and Impressionist Terry Fator, Las Vegas Aces players, and former Mayor of Las Vegas Oscar Goodman.
Passengers can book a trip via the RTC’s app and be picked up and dropped off at fixed-route bus stops and designated paratransit stops. The service area reaches as far north as downtown Las Vegas and as far south as M Resort. Each vehicle carries up to 11 passengers and features complimentary Wi-Fi, USB charging ports and luggage space. Wheelchair-accessible vehicles are available as well.
RTC officials, however, said the biggest selling point “Trip to Strip” has to offer may be its price: The average fare is $6, and there is no surge pricing.
“Just because we’re a government agency doesn’t give us the luxury of sitting back and watching this technology evolve,” RTC’s chief executive officer, Tina Quigley, said during a news conference last week. “We owe it to our community to engage it, test it, pilot it and figure out how it should all come together.”
Quigley hopes to combine the ease and convenience of ride-sharing with transporting larger groups of people. She believes the service will also help improve air quality and cut down on road congestion.
“Innovation is important in this city, and having access to and around the city is important,” said Steve Hill, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority’s chief executive officer. “We have to be able to provide opportunities for our visitors to travel and make sure they are treated with respect.”
The relationship between Nevada and the ride-sharing business has not always been so welcoming. A judge in Washoe County initially blocked ride-sharing companies from operating in Nevada in 2014. After months of contentious debate, lawmakers passed measures during the 2015 session that paved the way for Uber and Lyft to launch that September.
“In the last year, we’ve seen dramatic change in how people move around Vegas,” Hill said. “The RTC has to stay competitive. Uber and Lyft have impacted public transportation. We have suffered for it. Today we’re excited to change with the on-demand world.”
Later during the event, many of the people featured in the launch video appeared on stage with RTC staff and Mayor Carolyn Goodman.
“This is such an exciting day for us,” Goodman said. “This is a way to cut back on all the smog that we all hate and a great way to travel in the city. This will help to those traveling to a hotel, restaurant or the Fremont Street Experience. Thank you for including me today, have a nice ride, and take a drink on us.”