By Steve Beauregard
It may surprise you to learn how much the Las Vegas Strip Monorail costs: just $5 for one ride.
There are actually four monorails on the Las Vegas Strip: three free trams on the west side, and the long, main one on the east side, which we are discussing here.
(Go here to read more about the three free monorails that are part of the Las Vegas tram system).
This main one, running the length of the east side of the Strip is officially called the Las Vegas Monorail.
The Las Vegas Monorail is very affordable
It runs 3.9 miles, beginning at the MGM Grand on the south end, going all the way north to the SLS Las Vegas on Sahara Avenue. It has stops at the Paris Hotel and Casino, the Flamingo Hotel and Casino Las Vegas, and Harrah’s, among others.
The Las Vegas Monorail was has its origins going back to 1993, when it consisted of a one-mile stretch of track that ran trains from the MGM Grand to Bally’s. The full strip-long Las Vegas Monorail opened on July 15, 2004.
As a not-for-profit entity, the system was built entirely with private money. A main contractor on the project, Bombardier, helped develop the smooth-running monorail system at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
In addition to being the only private public transportation system in the US, the Las Vegas Monorail is the first public monorail system in the world that does not have drivers. Like the Strip itself, the monorail is not actually in the city of Las Vegas’ city limits.
A map of the Las Vegas Monorail Route
The entire run from MGM Grand to the SLS Station takes 15 minutes, and the trains are air-conditioned to help fight those notorious Las Vegas summers. The number of trains running varies, but generally, a train will arrive between every 5 to 10 minutes (more like every five minutes during busy times). The trains can reach speeds up to 50 miles per hour. Try reaching those speeds on the Strip in a Taxi.
Las Vegas Monorail Ticket Prices
Single ride ticket: $5
24 hour pass: $12.
2-Day Pass: $22
3-Day pass: $28.
4-Day pass: $36
5-Day pass: $43.00
7-Day pass: $56.00
Keep in mind that a 24 hour pass is exactly that: meaning it expires exactly 24 hours from the time when you enter through a fare gate. Your ticket will no longer allow you through the metal gates one minute after your 24 hours is up. The same applies for the other passes, as they are based on the exact time when you insert your pass to get through the gate for the first time.
Also, children 5 and under are free. You can purchase tickets at each of the seven monorail stops, or online at the system’s website. The little kiosks at each stop can accept cash and your debit or credit card. Sorry, but don’t take the leftover chips you found in your pocket from the previous night’s blackjack session.
The monorail’s official website boasts that during popular conventions, it transports around 70,000 people to and from the Las Vegas Convention Center. Overall, however, the system has been a disappointment in terms of expectations. Developers had originally envisioned a much more popular and busier passenger count. The Las Vegas Monorail’s failure to attract more riders has prevented further expansion to the north. In fact, in 2013, the system’s operating company came out of an organized bankruptcy.
Yet while it has its share of detractors, I am not among them. The Strip Monorail is great, especially if you happen to be staying at a distant, east strip side hotel and are attending a convention. My wife and I stayed at the MGM Grand, and our trips to the Las Vegas Convention Center were very quick and convenient, with little walking involved.
Yes, you would save money by heading out to the strip and taking the Deuce, which is the Las Vegas transit authority’s bus system, but the monorail saves you a lot of time, and walking, while letting you beat those Las Vegas days when the thermometer hits 107.
The main drawback to the monorail is its lack of convenience to west side casinos. What I mean by that is, that the actual stops themselves are on the far eastern side of the east side hotels, meaning you would have about a block-long walk to get from the station to the Strip. From there you have to cross the Strip and have the long walk into the entrance of the east side casinos, (Bellagio, Caesars Palace, etc.) In many cases, it’s simply easier to use the Strip sidewalks than the Monorail.
These are the kiosks where you can purchase your monorail ticket
However it’s almost never faster to take a Strip Taxi or Uber/Lyft. So while it hasn’t been as popular as organizers imagined, the system still gets its share of riders while helping reduce car and bus pollution. Recently the Las Vegas Monorail announced it had also just celebrated it’s 74th millionth passenger.
Phone: (866) 466-6672
Las Vegas Monorail Hours of Operation
Trains run as follows, 365 days a year:
Monday: 7 AM to Midnight
Tuesdays – Thursdays: 7 AM to 2 AM
Friday – Sunday: 7 AM to 3 AM
There are seven different stops on the route. Here they are, beginning at the south and going north:
MGM Grand Station
Bally’s / Paris Las Vegas
Flamingo / Caesars Palace
Harrah’s / The Linq
Las Vegas Convention Center Station
SLS Las Vegas
While earlier plans way back in 2004 called for an extension of the monorail to Fremont Street, or old downtown Las Vegas, more recent focus has been directed towards extending the line south to McCarran International Airport. Plans have been developed, but funding as not been secured for this extension, as monorail management is relying on federal transportation monies. As you might imagine, taxi companies are fighting these efforts tooth and nail.
In addition, the Las Vegas Monorail group has announced plans to extend the line south past MGM Grand to Mandalay Bay. Maps of the proposed extension show it going east to Koval Lane, then west to the Strip and Mandalay Bay. The approval and financing issues are currently in progress although construction has yet to begin.
(Photos courtesy of Jon Konrath and Michael Dorausch via Flickr.)