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Bus from Downtown to Strip with Luggage

Discussion in 'Getting There & Getting Around' started by johnvic, Mar 23, 2014.

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  1. johnvic

    johnvic VIP Whale

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    There are a couple of threads about the WAX from McCarran to downtown. I'm almost ready to do that for $2. On my next next trip I start at the Downtown Grand and then move to Bellagio after a few days.

    The SDX and Deuce get pretty crowded mid-day. Do I have a realistic bus option for downtown to Bellagio?
     
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  2. jimboguy

    jimboguy Blubbery Whale

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    If you have just a carry-on, the SDX may be feasible, especially if you're thinking of traveling mid-day on a weekday. Otherwise, it'd be tough to do luggage on the SDX. The SDX is really the only viable bus option from downtown to Bellagio.
     
  3. dewey089

    dewey089 Guru of Value

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    I have large luggage, so I prefer the Deuce. It is a longer ride, but usually not so crowded at the times when you would be checking out of downtown, and it is probably not crowded when you catch it. Also, the Deuce in late morning is uncrowded going South until it gets beyond Circus Circus.
    I try to make my way to the center seats facing the exit door. This gives me room for my luggage, sometimes even a space between those seats and a bus wall where my luggage can be slipped away. If I can't get a seat there, I stand there and usually a seat will open up along the journey. What this does is eliminate the hardest part of luggage on the Deuce, getting the suitcase down the aisle to the exit door. If I position myself early in the journey when the bus is less crowded, then exiting is very simple.
    But the real advantage over the SDX is that when I exit, everyone is exiting at a dedicated EXIT door. I may slow up the line a bit, but on the SDX I am exiting with luggage and facing a crowd of people entering using the same door; it is like swimming upstream against a salmon spawn.

    Now if I were going to the Bellagio, I'd take the WAX to Tropicana, cross over the strip and walk go to Monte Carlo, go inside and then take that free tram from Monte Carlo to Bellagio. I have not done that, but I think you could do it with luggage. When I call, they seem puzzled, but they don't say no. I think they don't see much luggage on that free tram.

    Also, after the WAX you could just take the Deuce from in front of MGM to Paris. There was construction there last time so I had to walk a bit North to find the stop. Again, I'd take the Deuce. I had one hell of a time exiting at Paris from the SDX with luggage.

    It might seem silly to go farther South on the WAX and then backtrack, but the goal in easy bus riding in Vegas is to avoid as much strip riding as possible. And the WAX is fully set up to accept luggage.
    Now, I don't know what passes you are using. You can try boarding the Deuce with a 24 hour residential pass that you buy on the WAX, but that technically as a tourist you can't use. If they ask for a local ID, play dumb and tell them you are just going as far as Bellagio. You have less chance being asked on the SDX because it is unlikely you will see an inspector between MGM and Paris.
    So, then the residential 24 hour pass for $5 would probably work. Even if they put you off the bus to get the right strip pass, they would do it at Paris. On the other hand, if the bus is just to get you from downtown to Bellagio, then $2one way on the WAX, and $5 two hour on the Deuce is not much money. Or for $8 from the machines in front of Binions you could buy a 24 hour strip pass good for your trip and for any other trips within a 24 hour period.
    Often when the bus is compared to shuttles or cabs, folks forget that added into any 24 hour pass are opportunities to travel all that day and perhaps part of the next for no added expense. So the value of the bus often increases if you intend to see something away from your base hotel.

    If you do choose the SDX, be sure to validate the pass before you get on the bus or you'll be dropped off to validate and that is not a great task with luggage. On the Deuce or WAX you validate when you pass the driver.
    When you come home post your experience and let us know how it went. I'd especially like to know how going WAX to tram to Bellagio worked.
     
  4. johnvic

    johnvic VIP Whale

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    Thanks!

    During my stay downtown I'll be going to the Convention center for at least 4 of the days and I'll be taking the SDX. So I'll get a multi-day pass for the SDX anyway. I'm assuming that a 30 day strip and all access pass is the way to go. Even if I just use it for the airport to downtown and all my convention center trips then I'm doing good.
     
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  5. DonnyC

    DonnyC VIP Whale

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    Rode the Duece with brother from Golden Nugget to Flamingo last year - each had a carry on and a large piece of luggage...no problem!

    Are the different stops for the Duece and the WAX?

    We just walked to Las vegas blvd and got on the first bus.
     
  6. johnvic

    johnvic VIP Whale

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    The WAX seems to go from the airport to Tropicana & the strip and then on to the North Premium Outlets via the freeway and then to downtown. It makes few stops. The Deuce mostly rides along Las Vegas Blvd and stops at a lot of casinos.

    I'm sure that's a simple answer but mostly accurate.
     
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  7. dewey089

    dewey089 Guru of Value

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    A 15 day pass will cost you $37, but it is not available everywhere. The intent is to make it easy for locals and hard for tourists. However, since you are downtown you are lucky. Walgreen's has them. however, you won't be able to get one to go on the WAX from the airport. You'll have to use cash for that.
    List you itinerary and what you need to ride to where. Then I can better advise you.
    An all access and easily available pass for 3 days is $20 and you can get that in any of the machines at the SDX stops like the one at Binions or Paris. For $8 you can get a 24 hour pass. I can't quite add up how many days you need the bus, but from what you wrote, I think the 15 day may be more than you need to bother with. Four days would not justify $34.
    Now if you are over 60, let me know and I'll amend my advice.
    You certainly don't want a 30 day pass at $65.
     
  8. dewey089

    dewey089 Guru of Value

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    Those of you wondering about bus stops and routes and such along the strip should study this map

    http://www.rtcsnv.com/wp-content/uploads/routes/2013/SDX(07-07-13).pdf

    The SDX is faster but has fewer stops, so plan accordingly. The Deuce is 24/7 and the SDX is not. The stop for the Deuce downtown is next to Neonopolis, but the SDX stop is next to Binions.

    The Transit section of the RTC webpage will give you tons of material on all bus routes including times.

    http://www.rtcsouthernnevada.com/transit/
    The little box with two white boxes allows you to enter two places and it will map out the bus route for you.
     
  9. johnvic

    johnvic VIP Whale

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    Dewey, I arrive on Saturday, the 5th of April, and go to the Downtown Grand. I'll probably just stay downtown on the 5th. On the 6th through the 9th I will go to the Convention Center every day. I may also go to the strip for drinks, etc. On the 10th I go to Bellagio. At that point I'll pretty much stay on the strip except for a trip to the Hoover Dam. I'll be hanging out with a friend at that point and I know he won't take a bus to the airport back so we'll split a cab.
     
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  10. dewey089

    dewey089 Guru of Value

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    So, you pay $2 at the airport when you take the WAX downtown.

    The Walgreen's 15 day pass will cost $34
    6-7-8-9- to Convention Center
    10 - to Bellagio (perhaps two buses)
    And then perhaps some bus riding up and down the strip.

    I'm figuring that buying individual all access passes in the machines would cost as much or more than the 15 day pass, and the pass allows you the flexibility to take an evening bus ride from downtown if you want to or up and down the strip. I'd get the pass at Walgreen's downtown.
    Splitting a cab back to the airport from the strip is a nice convenience.
    However, on my last day anywhere near Flamingo on the strip, I check out, go on the 202 down Flamingo and roll my luggage into the Silver Sevens for some food and then take the 108 closer to the time of my flight.

    Bus options from downtown include:
    *going out Boulder Highway (although the Sam's Town free shuttle is now 15 minutes quicker than the bus to Sam's) to Arizona Charlie's, Boulder Highway, Sam's Town Eastside Cannery, Sunset Station or even Fiesta Henderson.
    *going out to Fiesta Rancho and Texas Station
    *The CX will get you to the University campus. Nice cactus gardens there and a good museum but it is a big campus with lots of walking.
    *If you don't want to search around for stops out of downtown on routes that are new or unfamiliar, remember that EVERY bus that stops at Binions has a stop coming at the BTC where most of these routes can be easily found. Sometimes it makes the bus ride longer, but I've been frustrated chasing changing bus routes, especially the BHX, so sometimes I just go up there. Also in hot weather, you can duck in the AC at the BTC between buses.
    * Heading back to the strip. Avoid strip buses when you can. The SDX is quicker when it is running. The Deuce is often packed at night and it is worth walking to get to an SDX stop when coming back to Downtown. The Centennial Express will get you to the strip far North at Spring Mt Road. The WAX will get you to the strip at Tropicana. Both avoid traffic.

    * On the strip remember the free trams from Bellagio to Aria and Monte Carlo and again from Excalibur to Luxor to Mandalay Bay. These are generally more efficient than the city bus.
    Other free shuttles are here:
    http://www.lasvegasadvisor.com/referenceguide-transportation.cfm?type=Free%20Shuttles

    The Boyd shuttle currently stops way, way back of Bally's so it is a walk to the strip, but it is very near Ellis Island.
    Watch traveling late night and having to be at bus stops out and away from the strip on say Flamingo or Tropicana. That being said, the 202 stops right at Gold Coast, Silver Sevens, Tuscany, and dead ends at the Eastside Cannery where the driver takes a break. That is a safe and easy stop to use going back to the strip late at night. Sometimes Eastside Cannery has some interesting late night lounge entertainment including my favorite Latin music event, Claudia Castro on Monday 10-2.



    Okay, that is about all I know.
     
  11. johnvic

    johnvic VIP Whale

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    Thanks! You da man! :nworthy:
     
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  12. Turtleman

    Turtleman VIP Whale

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    Good advice. Normally, if going from the airport to Orleans, I take the WAX to NYNY and transfer to the 201.

    But since I often arrive right after the WAX departs, I've been toying with taking the first 109N or 108 that comes along, getting off at Tropicana, and waiting for the next 201. I would never do that at night, especially with luggage, but am wondering if it might be taking too much of a chance at those isolated spots even during the day. Likewise, I notice that the WAX sometimes stops at MGM before crossing over LV Blvd. Maybe that would be a better place to catch the 201 and beat the crowd at NYNY. What do you think?
     
  13. dewey089

    dewey089 Guru of Value

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    I like the Flamingo stops East of the Blvd more than the Tropicana stops. They seem too far out there. One is right next to a huge empty field that is surrounded by a chain link fence. I did not like that one. That Tropicana WAX stop is a really easy place to feel safe with luggage. And I rather like looking at Excalibur and relaxing until the 201 shows up.
    Koval and Trop would be fine. I have not really seen the 201 that crowded, but it would give you an earlier boarding. I don't think there is any place to sit there, however.
    I'd want to be certain that the 201 will stop at Koval. I can't seem to find that on the maps.
    If you try it, let me know how it all goes.
     
  14. Turtleman

    Turtleman VIP Whale

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    Thanks Dewey. Your take on the bus stops sounds the same as mine, although I'm still not sure if I'd be taking an unnecessary risk waiting for the 201 where the 108 or 109 drops off. It looks pretty isolated. I guess it boils down to waiting as long as an hour with a $10 airport beer or gambling! Of course, after a few airport beers I probably wouldn't care, but by then I could catch the WAX to NYNY. For that matter, I could take a cab and come out cheaper than airport beers!

    Let's hear from someone who's actually waited there and lived to tell the tale!
     
  15. dewey089

    dewey089 Guru of Value

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    What happens to me is that I leave upstate NY usually when the weather is cold and arrive at that ground zero WAX stop in balmy weather. I bring a book. I sit on the bench and just relax, feeling fine to be comfortable reading my book outside.
    I have not waited a long while for the WAX in August or I might feel differently. But then in August I don't want to be out waiting for the 201 either.

    Say, Keno bought a 15 day reduced pass at the Walgreen's just one stop West from Orleans. Seems like a great resource for those who start their trips at the Orleans.
     
  16. joshrocker

    joshrocker VIP Whale

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    Why do they want to make it hard on tourists? Wouldn't they want it to be eaiser for them so they're more likely to take the bus versus whatever else?
     
  17. dewey089

    dewey089 Guru of Value

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    I don't really understand the politics of those decisions.
    But the reality is that they strategically isolate tourists whenever they can into paying more for the common strip buses or for long lengths of bus travel.
    It is rare for me to visit a city or even another country where locals get preferences in rates. However, understanding that this is the intent in many of the changes in rates helps us understand why it is inconvenient to get the absolute best deals.
    Also, it is not like the fares are so large that the buses on the strip are not used. Often they are overcrowded. So I guess they charge what the tourists will pay.
    And even $8 for 24 hours of hopping on and off buses is good value. So, perhaps it is not a great injustice.
    The bus rates for seniors who are staying a few weeks are really amazing. So something has to balance that out.
     
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