By Steve Beauregard
(UPDATE: The Rio All Suites Hotel and Casino ended their free shuttle service on November 5th, 2017. Guests can still get to the Strip for free by walking next door and taking the Gold Coast Hotel and Casino Shuttle to the Las Vegas Strip. Below is the original article about the Rio’s free shuttle service.
Although the distance from the Rio Las Vegas to the Strip is almost exactly mile, it’s a long mile. The walk is noisy and follows a fast-moving, heavily-trafficked street.
Combine that with Sin City’s 100 degree-plus days, and you may find yourself in something resembling a death march more than a casual stroll to the Strip.
Fortunately, the Rio All Suites Casino Hotel makes it easy for guests to get to the action on the Strip by providing free round-trip shuttle service to and from Las Vegas Boulevard.
It’s called the “Rio Express” and it takes passengers from the Rio to both Harrah’s Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, and Bally’s, (and back).
Both of these resorts are right on the Strip. This complimentary service is available to everyone; you do not have to be a registered guest at the Rio, Bally’s or Harrah’s.
Even better, both drop off points are casinos with Las Vegas Monorail Stations, making it easier for you to traverse up and down the Strip without ever having to take an Uber/Lyft or taxi.
Between Rio hotel guests wanting to check out the Strip, to guests on the Strip wanting to visit the Carnival Buffet or a show at the Rio, the shuttle is a popular feature. Even more so from late May to early July, when the Rio is home to the annual World Series of Poker. Despite its popularity though, I haven’t seen the shuttle packed to the point where they have to turn away guests.
Free Shuttle from the Rio Hotel and Casino to Bally’s and Harrah’s on the Strip
Because the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino, Bally’s and Harrah’s are all owned by the same company (Caesars Entertainment), the Rio doesn’t mind taking guests (and their money) off their property and dropping them off at their sister resorts.
The shuttle pick-up location at the Rio is on the far west side of the resort, near the entrance to the Carnival World Buffet.
Here are the locations for the shuttle stops:
The drop-off/pick-up area is a valet area on the north side of the resort, across from the Cromwell parking lot, and facing E. Flamingo Road.
When you’re near the Bally’s hotel registration desk, you’ll walk out at the Flamingo Road Entrance. You should see the sign pointing to the free Rio Shuttle, however if not, it will be on your right. It’s a covered little bus stop area, not even 100 feet away from the doors.
At Harrah’s Hotel & Casino, the Rio Express drops and picks-up passengers in first level of the resort’s parking garage, next to the valet area behind the hotel.
It’s easy to find, once you’re in the Harrah’s valet area. The walkway to the shuttle pick-up will be on your left, and you’ll see a sign similar to the one photographed here above.
Rio Las Vegas Shuttle Hours and Times
The free shuttle service from the Rio to these Las Vegas Strip properties starts at 10:00 a.m. and goes until 1 a.m. seven days a week.
There is not a set schedule published, so I cannot provide you with exact pick-up or drop-off times. All Rio will say is that the shuttles run approximately every 30 minutes.
The same schedule and 30 minute departure times apply when you are at Harrah’s, or Bally’s, wanting to get back to the Rio.
Other Notes about the Rio Express Shuttle
** The shuttle goes directly from the Rio to Harrah’s and back, and directly from the Rio to Bally’s and back. In other words, you cannot take the shuttle from Harrah’s to Bally’s.
** Luggage is not permitted
** No food or drinks are allowed onboard, with the exception of water bottles. This seems to be enforced, as guests are often asked to finish their beer or drink before boarding.
** Again, the ride is free, but tipping the driver is customary. After all, you’ve just saved yourself Uber/Lyft/Taxi fare money and/or a potentially brutal walk.
Rio Las Vegas Hotel Shuttle to Airport
Unfortunately, there are no complimentary shuttles to or from the Rio to McCarran International Airport.
There are paid shuttles, or course, however many of these are not direct, and I don’t really recommend them, despite their reasonable cost.
The main reason is the wasted time. If buying a seat on one of these buses or shuttles when leaving the airport, you often spend a very long time in the shuttle as it makes stops along the Strip, dropping off passengers who are staying at hotels closer to the airport than the Rio.
(Top photo courtesy of Andrew Choy via Flickr.)