Transit woes worse than Ottawa ?

Metropolis Magazine has a short article about how badly Las Vegas botched its monorail system. Burried in the article the careful listener might hear some warning sounds about the joys of un-amalgamated cities or urban planning districts that fail to include major sectors (who knew the Las Vegas strip is not part of Las Vegas City and is in fact unincorporated?).

The double-decker buses on the strip are a success though. I last rode them a few years ago, and there were crowds of people at every stop. Most of them had never ridden a bus in their adult lives, and fumbled the fare cards, etc. Frquently overheard comments were “hadn’t been on a bus since 7th grade” or “seats aren’t as nice as my Lincoln”. The buses are similar the one that Ottawa is test driving on the 94 route. Perhaps because of the novelty, the strip bus is a big success; the off-strip monorail (refurbished Disney older-generation trains, I think) is not.

Metropolis concludes that Vegas is now looking  for “ a ride from the Strip to downtown via a “train-emulation system.” While this sounds even more 21st century than a monorail, it’s more commonly known as “bus rapid transit,” planningspeak for a bus with a dedicated lane and sophisticated stops that work like transit stations.”

Keep in mind that the Strip is crowded with people who by and large are visitors, and thus millions do not have their own cars with them. All urban planning lessons from Vegas come with huge caveats because of its unusual economics. What works in Vegas stays in Vegas.