Getting Around on the Las Vegas Strip: Trolley and Bus Transportation
The Deuce is Wild! By SJ Johnson
Copyright: SJ Johnson
As a native New Yorker, I'm used to great public transportation. I love New York. However, there is only one other place I love almost as much as NYC...that's Las Vegas. Just like New York, there is practically no reason to take a taxi. Why spend the money on a taxi when public transportation is so readily available? I visited Las Vegas for the fourth time this past May. I just cannot get enough of that place.
Every time I visit Vegas, I discover something new and exciting. This time it was The Deuce double-decker bus service. The Deuce is a miracle. I did not want to plan ahead for my recent trip to Vegas. I decided to fly by the seat of my pants. This could have been a disaster in any other city, but in Las Vegas, this plan works just fine. However, there was one glitch in my plan. I used the Strip Trolley during my previous visits, but it was out of service in May 2008. I was devastated. I never rent a car when I travel to Vegas, so how was I going to get around? Well...in walks serendipity! I discovered The Deuce.
Comparison to the Strip Trolley
The Strip Trolley is a great service, and I encourage everyone to try it. However, The Deuce can hold more people, comes more frequently, and costs less. Plus, it stops right on the strip--which is perfect. You don't have to wait in back of a hotel or on a side street. If you're tired of walking and the sun is beating down on you, just wobble over to a bus stop, wait a few minutes, and hop on. Make sure to sit on the upper deck. The view is much better there. If you can get the upper deck front window seat, even better!
Have a Game Plan
Know where you want to go. For $8, you get an unlimited pass that is good for 24 hours from the time of purchase or $6 will get you a 2-hour pass. I recommend the 24-hr pass. It gives you the most freedom and is very cost-effective. Make sure you cram the most out-of-the-way places into your 24-hr period. You can always walk to the nearby places.
I wanted to visit the Las Vegas Outlet Center and Fremont Street, which are in two opposite directions so I decided on the 24-hr pass. This way I could get off and on as much as I want and see everything. It stops at virtually every hotel and casino on the strip. Start out early in the day. If you can, eat breakfast at one of the All-You-Can-Eat Buffets (such as at the Excalibur--which in my opinion is one of the best buffets) early in the morning. Then, board the Deuce before 11 am. Head to the Las Vegas Outlet Center (or the Las Vegas Premium Outlet Center). As a special treat, look for the "Welcome To Las Vegas" sign on your way to the Las Vegas Outlet Center. Be prepared to stay there for at least three hours to fully enjoy your shopping experience. You can really find great bargains! There is a food court if you need a snack, but after eating at the buffet, you should still be full.
If your shopping excursion is a success, you may want to head back to your hotel with your newly acquired goodies. You should still have plenty of time on your 24-hr pass to make this pit stop. When you are ready to head out again, board the bus at your hotel's nearest stop. Now, you can stay on the bus for as long as you want. It is a perfect way to get acquainted with the strip because all of the attractions are announced at each stop. I recommend taking the bus down to the furthest attraction you want to visit and get off there. Then if you like, you can grab some dinner before proceeding further.
There is really only one thing you must do during you 24-hr time frame...take this bus to the Fremont Street Experience. The Fremont Street Experience is a light show that starts at dusk. It's terrific. I boarded the bus at around 7 pm from MGM Grand. It took over an hour to get there, but it was worth the trip. Allow yourself enough time to visit the Golden Nugget Casino, Four Queens Hotel and Casino, and the souvenir shops in this area. This is also the location of that famous neon, winking cowboy that you see on all the shows about Las Vegas.
Your trip to Fremont Street will take you past all of the places most visitors to Vegas never see--such as a string of small wedding chapels. I must admit, traveling through some of these areas made me a little uncomfortable because it was dark and deserted. I was grateful to have a bus full of other people, some of them tourists, some residents. At one point, a drunken resident boarded the bus and provided some off-color entertainment. However, he was harmless. Besides, he added character and flavor to a town that is sometimes like Disneyland for adults.
I also recommend taking the Deuce back from Fremont Street to the Bellagio. It's nice to get off at the Bellagio to see the fountain water show at night. From there you can stroll back to your hotel. The weather is nice at night, and the evening air has a slight breeze.
There is one important thing to remember...allow plenty of time. The Deuce makes what feels like hundreds of stops and has long lines of people waiting to get on-board. It takes a while to board everyone. This is not a fast mode of transportation. However, for the price and ease of use, these inconveniences can be easily overlooked. I recommend starting your day off early because it gets crowded as the day progresses. Also, try to get on at one of the first stops, which is near MGM Grand on one end of the strip and Stratosphere on the other end.
One last tip...Remember to have fun! After all, it is Vegas, baby!