The hottest ticket in Vegas isn’t for what you’d expect
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Las Vegas is back, and you’ll need luck on your side to score a ride around town.
No, the hottest ticket isn’t a new nightclub, show or day club. Rather, it’s something you might not even consider until you’re stuck waiting around for what feels like an eternity: getting around.
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That’s right, calling an Uber, Lyft and — dare I say it — a taxi has become one of the most challenging parts of taking a trip to The Strip.
Work has taken me to Vegas twice since mid-May, and I struggled to get a car at multiple locations on both trips.
It starts at the airport, where wait times often exceed 20 minutes for a ride-share. Though there’s usually a long line of taxis waiting at the stand, it could still take some time to make your way to the front of the queue.
My new hack? If you didn’t check bags, request an Uber just as you’re pulling into the gate to ensure the car’s waiting in the garage by the time you make it there. Otherwise, you could end up baking in the summer heat as you wait.
The same story was true once I made it to The Strip. Despite calling multiple Ubers and Lyfts, wait times often exceeded ten minutes. I even tried queuing in the taxi stand, but it moved just as slowly.
In fact, the lack of readily available ground transportation almost caused me to miss my 7 a.m. flight back to New York. After my two-night stay at the brand-new Resorts World mega-resort, it was time to head home.
The first Uber I called couldn’t find the hotel’s entrance and then canceled. The next closest one was 13 minutes away. Fortunately, it showed up, but the driver was quick to point out that “this was hard to find.”
Meanwhile, the quoted wait for a taxi: 30 minutes to an hour, despite being just number three in the queue.
It appears that the issue at play is demand outstripping supply. With leisure travel quickly rebounding to pre-pandemic levels, there aren’t enough cars on the road to support the faster-than-expected recovery.
Many likely stopped driving during the height of the pandemic, and now they aren’t incentivized to hit the road again thanks to steady unemployment checks from the government and other factors. Some might’ve opted to exclusively deliver food via Uber Eats, and stop ferrying around drunk tourists.
(This isn’t just limited to ground transportation in Vegas — it applies nationwide, and includes airlines, hotels and restaurants that are struggling to ramp up staffing as well.)
When demand outstrips supply, the laws of economics say that prices rise. In Uber terms, that’s called “surge pricing” — which I’ve paid on every single ride I’ve taken in Vegas since the pandemic started.
Going forward, I might consider renting a car in Vegas, despite some of the hassles associated with the experience, like finding parking, taking the shuttle to and from the airport and filling up with gas before returning.
Other considerations that I’d recommend include having your hotel pre-arrange a car. It will cost you dearly, but less than missing your flight.
And of course, it’s more important than ever to leave lots of extra time. Nobody wants to cut a vacation short but with long lines at airports, the last thing you can risk is waiting 30 minutes for a ride.
Next time, I’ll just try my luck at the casino and hope I win big. If I do, I’ll hire a limo to shuttle me around.
Featured photo by Westend61 / Getty Images
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