Taxis To Test Flat Rate Fare Between McCarran Airport, Las Vegas Strip Hotels
Posted on: October 22, 2019, 11:47h.
Last updated on: October 23, 2019, 05:23h.
Taxi passengers traveling between McCarran International Airport and hotels on the Las Vegas Strip will soon pay a flat rate based on zones during a six-month 2020 test period, as ride share services like Uber grow in popularity.
Starting on January 1, fares will be paid by the ride. Currently, fares are based on meter readings, including time spent in the cab and distance driven. That can lead to drivers lengthening the rides and fares by driving on longer, congested roads.
Instituting flat fare zones between the airport and the Las Vegas Strip resort corridor provides the riding public with certainty and transparency in the fare they pay, helps eliminate the scourge of long hauling and levels the playing field between drivers and between taxi companies,” Teri Williams, a spokeswoman for the Nevada Taxicab Authority, told Casino.org.
The authority recently approved three zone-based fares for the drive between the airport and the hotels. They range from $19 to $27.
In contrast, the Los Angeles Times reports traveling between New York-New York Hotel & Casino and the airport on a weekday afternoon would cost $14.41 for UberX service, and $10 to $12 for Lyft personal service. Fares can increase based on the hour driven and the number of passengers, the Times adds.
Such services are popular for rides between the airport and hotels on the Strip. For instance, in September, 58 percent of passengers landing at McCarran airport used Uber or Lyft.
Of the over 580,000 passenger pickups last month, some 85 percent went to hotels on the Strip, the Times said. “Certainly, if they’re putting a flat fare on the meter, they’re interested in expediting that passenger to their location as quickly as possible,” Williams speculated about taxi drivers’ motivations, in a statement to the Times.
Earlier this year, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that services, like Uber, gained in popularity among Las Vegas visitors and permanent residents. As a result, fewer people use taxis.
The Nevada legislature could address the issue and level the competition between taxis and the app-based options, the report said.
“It’s clearly not a level playing field now. It’s been well-documented that we’ve been fighting for the last two legislative sessions to try and make it a level playing field,” Brent Bell, CEO of Whittlesea-Bell Transportation, told the newspaper.
McCarran data further shows that pickup counts for ride-hailing companies increased from 1.03 million in 2016 to 2.78 million in 2018, the report said. In contrast, taxi pickups dropped from 3.82 million in 2016 to 3.23 million in 2018.
Las Vegas region taxi companies add that there is insufficient regulation for ride-share companies and their drivers, while the taxicab sector is heavily regulated. “Uber and Lyft can’t be trusted to oversee their drivers,” Johnathan Schwartz, director of Newcab, told the Review-Journal.
Looking ahead, it is possible taxi rides to downtown Las Vegas could be changed from meters to flat rate systems. “At the meeting in September, the board mentioned the downtown area as a possible addition to the zone-based pricing model in the future,” Williams said.
Various Fees Distress Hotel, Casino Guests
The test fares come as some guests at certain Strip resort casinos are getting increasingly frustrated at various extra fees charged by the venues. One fee that differs among Las Vegas venues is for parking.
Once-available free parking has been eliminated at some casinos, such as MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment properties. Wynn Resorts had followed suit.
But Wynn officials had a change of heart. They restored free self-parking in April.
As of now, self-parking is free to guests at The Venetian and The Palazzo, too. Both are owned and operated by Las Vegas Sands.
Congress May Act
In September, legislation was introduced in Congress that said US hotels must include all fees in the advertised price of a room. Aside from government taxes, the rate would need to be inclusive of all mandatory add-on charges like resort fees if passed and approved.