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The bus isn't that bad!

Discussion in 'Getting There & Getting Around' started by sweetcanadian, Apr 28, 2014.

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  1. sweetcanadian

    sweetcanadian High-Roller

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    I posted about the bus in my trip report but thought it warranted it's own section. The bus gets a bad rap on this board so i thought i would write about my experience with it. I know it is not for everyone, but not everyone wants to waste $500 in cabs either.

    For a lot of folks on this board time is money. For myself & my husband our time is really not that precious because in most cases it would just save us a few minutes.

    If you are not going to be moving around a lot or are there just a short while then i am sure taxis suit most people fine.

    We were there for 8 nights/9 days and taxis would have been really expensive for all the plans we had. We switched hotels twice and used a taxi each time and a taxi back to the airport but *gasp* we took the bus from the airport to our hotel.

    Many say they do not want to stay at MB because it is so far from everything. I actually found that not to be the case and i loved MB. I packed tight for the way there to minimize our luggage. We had a backpack, a medium size suitcase and a large suitcase and my carry case for my sleep apnea machine.

    We took the shuttle from T3 to T1 and walked across the lane to the bus stop. Bus is there every 20 minutes. Waited about 5 minutes, paid the $2 each and shortly were at SSTT. We wanted to go here to get the 15 day pass but if you want the 30 day or 3 day i believe you can get those at the airport. If you want the 15 day pass you have to go back by the washrooms to purchase it. If you are not from america or don't have an american bank account you have to pay in cash.

    Once you have that you go to the platform and it is the sdx that comes. It makes less stops than the deuce so it is fine. We had no issue with our luggage. A transit officer got on with everyone and made them prove they had a pass which was fine. If you ONLY use the sdx it is never validated so it can be used on more than one trip. I was very upset the first time i got on the deuce and it said my pass was not valid. I told the guy that i had just bought it a day ago. He validated it for me and my heart went back to normal lol.

    I loved staying south strip and using the bus to get everywhere. The longest trip we had and the only time i found a problem was going to the venetian friday afternoon at 4. Only the deuce stops there, we should have taken sdx and got off stop before and hopped on the deuce. Taking a taxi wouldn't have been faster and would have been much more expensive. Traffic was horrid at that time of day.

    Having the bus pass gave me freedom, if we were only going 1 stop but were tired it gave us a 5 minute break. We took the sdx downtown and deuce back as it was late. I found the ride back to be just fine, not as much traffic at 2 am.

    We also stayed off strip at Gold Coast and while they do have a shuttle we had to come up to Ballys at 6am one morning and shuttle goes from like 9 am-10:30. We were also coming back later than that so it did not work for us.

    I think it gets a bad rap here but if you do as much as we did in our time it is/was well worth it. We both agreed it was a great investment for us. Of course it is not for everyone but much more economical. The money saved for us was better spent elsewhere.

    Not once did we get asked for ID. They say the 15 is for locals but as Dewey has said they are just trying to get more money out of the tourists. Dewey is a hotbed of info for the bus as well. I went to him more than once in my planning. I found the bus system super easy to navigate. I did not know where to get on from downtown back to the strip but i just asked a security guard at GG and he showed me where to go.

    Other than friday late afternoon going to the venetian and downtown we never spent more than 10 minutes on the bus going anywhere. It wasn't even an inconvenience to go from the airport with our luggage. Ya it may have taken about 30-40 minutes total getting to the hotel but that also gave me time to process we were now in vegas and help me get more excited.

    We even took the bus one stop to the whole foods with one of our suitcases to get beer/water.
     
  2. dewey089

    dewey089 Guru of Value

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    Well, glad that worked for you and thanks for all the detail of your bus adventures and your kind words my way as well.
    I'd like more details on the Wholefood trip. What bus was that, where did you go, and how was the experience?
    Thanks too for putting this in a separate post. I don't read all the trip reports, so I must miss some bus bits. This is just great!


    I'll just add a few comments perhaps helpful for other readers:

    VALIDATION: You are expected to validate the passes before you ride the SDX and if an inspector sees no validation, he will ask you to validate. One poster said that validation was done right on the bus now in a machine there. Another told about being asked to leave the bus to validate and then catch the next bus. This might be a bit disconcerting in some neighborhoods. So saving invalidated bus passes from trip to trip is really not an option.

    ASKED FOR ID: The only pass with any real local advantage is the 24 hour residential pass which requires an local ID. We have not heard of a bus driver actually asking for that ID, but that is the rule. The 15 day pass requires no local ID. It is intended for locals and so they don't sell it many places near tourists, buy once you buy it, you are free to ride any bus, any time. I'm reading that you used cash at the SSTT for the 15 day pass and the 30 was not on the menu. Interesting. Keno on his last trip got stuck at the SSTT because his RTC card would not bring up a senior menu. So, for those readers who are seniors with RTC ID and looking for a 15/30 day pass at the SSTT, be careful. I wish they would put live people back at the SSTT.

    AIRPORT: The airport machine may offer the 3 day strip pass for $20. (see next posters doubt) No 30 day is available in the machine by the WAX. When boarding the WAX you can get a $3 pass good for 2 hours, and Pebbles has reported it is good on the strip buses, so it ranks as the cheapest way to get to a strip hotel on the bus. Coming back would be harder. It would be $5 for 2 hours when you board and you would have to time it so you could board the WAX before the 2 hours were up. Since the WAX can come as little as just one an hour, this might be hard. Going from the airport, you would do any amount of waiting BEFORE buying the bus pass and it just a few minutes to get to NYNY and so easily access a strip bus before the time was up. Your use of SSTT to access Mandalay Bay was great, especially since you wanted a 15 day pass. Thanks for the hint that those without US credit cards must use cash. From the SSTT it is not far to Mandalay Bay. However if you were staying North of Tropicana, you would want to take the WAX to the strip and then the Deuce or SDX North to your hotel.

    DEUCE OVERCROWDING: Yep. It can be terrible just as you describe it. That is the source of many of the complaints about the bus in Vegas. Folks who just ride the Deuce in busy times find it uncomfortable and hate the buses. I would too. All the other rides seem generally to be less crowded. I plan as much as I can using residential routes. Those always are uncrowded. And then I walk.

    SSTT strip bus: Only one bus will serve the SSTT station. The SDX will go in the daytime until about 12:30 AM when the Deuce will take over until about 9 AM. Most of us don't visit the SSTT during Deuce hours.

    LUGGAGE: All buses will take luggage unless they are overcrowded and then the driver will ask you to take the next bus. Of the two strip buses I better like the Deuce. I position myself in the seats facing the exit door and it is a breeze getting out. The SDX is fine, but you are fighting incoming riders as you are trying to exit. With luggage this can be a real hassle. So you can go from hotel to hotel with luggage as long as you can carry it. No help.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2014
  3. Sklem211

    Sklem211 High-Roller

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    I could of sworn that both times when I recently took the bus from the airport to the SSTT or WAX to Trop/LV Blvd. the machine that they have there only sold the 2 hour or 1 day pass but not the 3 day pass. The machine was one of the very basic ones with only the 2 buttons (A or B) that was right at the bus stop at T1. Is there one of the more advanced machines like they have at the Southbound Bellagio stop or most of the other strip stops somewhere else at T1? Or maybe I'm just technologically challenged.
     
  4. dewey089

    dewey089 Guru of Value

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    Thanks for that correction. I rechecked my notes and I don't have any firm sense that there is a 3 day strip pass offered, or any note of anyone getting one, so you may well be absolutely correct. I wanted to be certain that no one thought 30 day passes could be bought there.
    Were you buying residential passes from that machine? I do know that action was taken to install a machine because the RTC wanted people to buy at strip prices and not use residential passes on the WAX. RTC told me that. Did they cost $8 and $5?
    Most of the riders I talk with regularly are seniors who do not pay full fare or buy strip passes and not use a machine because they are using the WAX for a dollar to get one way to downtown, or like Turtleman using it for $2 to get to the Orleans. Some are buying 24 residential hour passes from the bus driver for $2.50 from the driver and taking a chance that they won't be asked for local ID on the strip buses or perhaps just riding residential for one day until they have the time to get the 15 day all access pass. Personally, I always get a 15/30 day pass at Walgreen's, so I've dropped just a buck, but next trip I'm dropping $1.50, going WAX to 201 to Orleans and thanks to tip from Keno, then walking to the Tropican Walgreen's west of the Orleans for the 30 day all access pass. That is where Keno ended up getting his 15 day pass at senior rate when the SSTT machine failed him. One poster tried to use that machine but it was broken. Since things change all the time, that machine might have changed as well. Perhaps someone going soon can check it and report back.
     
  5. The Stig

    The Stig VIP Whale

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    I use the bus a lot to get up and down the Strip and to Downtown as well, I always enjoy getting the Deuce from Downtown at about 1am as you certainly get a mixture of people on there.
     
  6. sco5123

    sco5123 VIP Whale

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    Awesome post! To add to this lovely post, the great people-watching on the bus is under recognized!
     
  7. sweetcanadian

    sweetcanadian High-Roller

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    We talked to a few different people on the bus, was awesome. ON the residential ones there were a couple sketchy people but you get that anywhere.

    Sorry maybe the airport one only sells the 3 hour or 1 day. To get to the SSTT it is very easy though and barely any time at all.

    Dewey we took the SDX outside MB one stop down to town square to whole foods then crossed the street and took it back again as well. Honestly it was very easy. I do believe the deuce ends at MB (except when going to sstt late at night).

    Coming back from downtown at 1 am saturday night, the bus was there when we got to the stop and there were not any seats left. I did not want to stand the whole way back so i told my husband to go sit down and i would be first in line for next bus. It filled up so much the driver could not raise his bus, he had a really hard time there were so many people. To me that is a hazard but........

    So they said it would be 15 minutes before next bus, i never ever found that with the deuce, always seemed one right after another. 5 minutes later the bus was there and i would not let anyone cut in front of me even though they tried (i was first one waiting ha ha) and got the top seats right at the front. That was pretty cool, seeing the strip from up there at night.

    Other than that one time at 4pm on the friday i never really felt it took long or was too crowded. It was great as a hop on & off. Really good and cheap for someone who staying a while like we were.
     
  8. dewey089

    dewey089 Guru of Value

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    Nice and thanks again. I may well make Whole Food a place to buy a healthy supper. Did you see a place to eat there? I am hoping that MyVegas puts me up at Monte Carlo or NYNY or somewhere in the area. I have little experience eating around that part of the strip, except the Aria buffet (which I like) and a rather strict diet.

    Good. While I could not find Whole Foods in the search, I did find Town Square and it looks simple, just 21 minutes from Monte Carlo.
    Was this also pretty close to the famous Vegas sign and a good place to get off to see that and take photos?


    http://mytownsquarelasvegas.com/


    http://www.vegas.com/shopping/town-square-las-vegas/

    Thanks for that idea. I found them and called and they do have a place to sit and eat.
    https://www.facebook.com/WholeFoodsLVB
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2014
  9. robert m.

    robert m. High-Roller

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    I also enjoy riding the buses, and plan to do so on my July trip.

    I have concern validating a ticket.

    During prior trips, I purchased a 3 day pass at the TVM next to Binion's. Then I would catch the CX or SDX to get to the strip & back.

    I never "validated" it anywhere. A couple of times the monitor checked my ticket & she never said anything.

    Would somebody please explain validating a ticket that you just purchased from the TVM.

    Thanks!
     
  10. C0usineddie

    C0usineddie VIP Whale

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    I used to be a bus hater but last summer decided to give it a try. mainly thanks to deweys guidance and I really liked it.

    I am going in july and not only will ride the bus once there but am taking the bus to get to vegas as well from so cal.

    Its great to be able to nap the whole way there and back. very refreshing, especially the ride home.

    The only trouble I had at all was a bit of a wait in front of venetian and it was really hot but thats not the busses fault.
     
  11. sweetcanadian

    sweetcanadian High-Roller

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    Sorry i haven't been here much since i am not going again for a long time. Yes they do have an area. I would also say the sign is 1/2 between MB and here i do believe. The only way is by car or walking so i would just get off at MB then walk to the sign then onto the store.

    Do you still have the ticket?? it should be able to be used still. It can only be validated on the duece. While someone said you have to validate it i never once heard them as for that nor did they ask us to validate it but we took the duece a lot.

    that is a real busy spot. July will be so hot, but long as you have water and a hat u be good.

    I imagine cali is close to the same weather wise anyways right? Have fun on your bus journey. I loved greyhound when i took it, even the smell.
     
  12. Morpheus7272

    Morpheus7272 Low-Roller

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    When you buy your ticket at the machine, there's a separate slot you insert the ticket in to validate it, which in effect "starts the clock" on your 3 day/15 day pass. I was the one who explained about validating right on the SDX bus, since the validation part of the TVM next to Binion's was not working. There's a ticket validator near the middle door of the SDX, which is what I used.

    As far as security not checking the validity of your pass, that's likely not normal. When we have been asked to show our passes, the security officer has asked that the date/time side be visible to them. Many people get to ride the SDX for free when the monitors are not aboard, just hopping off when they see one coming on at a stop. We don't bother trying, since the expense for buying the 15 day pass is about the cost of one decent-length cab ride ($34). If you are staying more than 4 days, the 15-day pass often is the better deal.

    Dave
     
  13. robert m.

    robert m. High-Roller

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    Morpheus...

    Thanks!

    Now I understand.

    Much appreciated!
     
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