thecarnut.typepad.com > SEMA SHOW 2006 #2

IT'S THE VEGAS MONORAIL, BABY!

IT'S THE VEGAS MONORAIL, BABY!

The much-heralded Las Vegas Monorail is a bit of a bust, especially if you want to use it to go ANYWHERE immediately outside the few famous blocks of Las Vegas Boulevard known as "The Strip". The smooth, fast, driver-less trains (which have a large amount of security TV cameras not only in the stations, but more than one in every car ... and we saw a cop or two at each station!) seem relatively safe and efficient. But rides are expensive. A one-day pass is $15 ... Or it's $5 every time you get on the train which rides on a single track using rubber wheels. Las Vegas officials must have taken their cues in planning from the folks who planned the Green Line train route in Los Angeles. That train is a wonderful piece of technology which goes from downtown Los Angeles all the way to Los Angeles Airport (LAX). Just one problem: It drops passengers (and their bags) a mile from LAX! Surprise! Likewise, the Vegas Monorail does not go anywhere near McCarran Airport (keeping cab drivers busy and happy) nor the fun downtown area, where the food is good and inexpensive and the gambling definitely has better odds (you can look it up, as they say). A fellow who works for the Monorail told us that 'eventually' it will go to the Airport (in fact they're supposedly planning that section right now) and possibly to downtown, too. Driving (or being driven) under the clean and unobtrusive single monrail track which runs along some of the main roads and in-and-out of parking lots of the big hotels, it's obvious what a great mode of transport monorails could be. If only we all had listened to none other than Walt Disney, who offered in the 1950s to build a monorail line throughout the City of Los Angeles for FREE. But it's a typical piece of American puffery you'd expect to find in Las Vegas --- A real train to nowhere!

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