LVCVA to Buy Las Vegas Monorail, Bankruptcy in the Mix

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) is buying the beleaguered Las Vegas Monorail for $24.26 million.

Although, we’re thinking that purchase price could be rounded down given the national coin shortage.

Anyhoo, the acquisition of the monorail by the LVCVA marks the latest twist in a long, bumpy ride for the long-ailing transit system handcuffed by the fact it doesn’t go to the airport or downtown Las Vegas.

Las Vegas Monorail
The Las Vegas Monorail runs 3.9 miles, which sound exhausting.

The monorail has been shut down since March 18, 2020 due to the pandemic.

The Las Vegas Monorail has been in operation since July 15, 2004. Except for a short period during which various monorail parts fell off.

The LVCVA purchase will be accompanied by the Las Vegas Monorail filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The “pre-packaged” bankruptcy would put the monorail up for auction, but trust us, nobody else is buying but the LVCVA.

Technically, the Las Vegas Monorail is a not-for-profit corporation, and it has certainly lived up to that designation.

The Las Vegas Monorail previously filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2010.

Las Vegas monorail
The Las Vegas Monorail uses the same trains as Disneyland. The only difference is Las Vegas Monorail tickets don’t require taking out a second mortgage.

A key element of the LVCVA’s purchase of the monorail is it opens up some interesting possibilities related to a noncompete agreement that says outside companies can’t build alternative transit systems on The Strip. With this sale, that noncompete is done.

One alternative system, an underground people-mover from Elon Musk’s Boring Co., is nearing completion at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The tunnel system is already approved to expand to Wynn Las Vegas and Resorts World.

It’s worth noting we did not make a “nearing completion” joke. It’s called maturity.

As part of the LVCVA’s purchase agreement, it would have to pay to dismantle the monorail should it fail. Sorry, fail more. That’s expected to cost about $11 million.

The LVCVA says the monorail won’t operate longer than eight or 10 years tops, even under the best conditions, as nobody’s making the system’s Bombardier Mark VI monorail trains anymore. Replacing them would cost about $200 million.

While the monorail has taken some hits, and ridership has never met expectations, it’s beloved by many, and our grandmother really enjoyed her ride that one time in 2004.

Monorail grandma
Miss you, Gram, and thanks for the Blazing Sevens mojo from wherever you are.

The issue of transportation in Las Vegas is complex, which does not meet our mandate of keeping things superficial, so please explore the subject at your nearest library.

Because, come to think of it, libraries are like monorails. They’re great in theory, we know we should use them, but at some point, there needs to be a reality check.

Update (9/7/20): As anticipated, the Las Vegas Monorail filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Sep. 7, 2020.