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July 6, 2009

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AROUND THE INDUSTRY

In Las Vegas, Deuce Is a Gamble That Paid Off
By ALLISON BLANKENSHIP, Public Information Supervisor, Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, Las Vegas, NV

In Las Vegas, the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC) has doubled down on its efforts to improve the rider experience.

The RTC launched the Deuce—double-deck bus service that operates along the world-famous Las Vegas Strip—in 2005. Today, the service provides an average of 35,000 rides each day on vehicles that boast both a great view and air conditioners that can cope with southern Nevada’s 100-degree summer days.

“The Deuce has become an attraction in and of itself,” explained RTC General Manager Jacob Snow. “It’s comfortable and an excellent way to see the sights. A number of our residents utilize it to get to work on Las Vegas Boulevard.”

To complement the popularity of the Deuce, the RTC began an ambassador program in March of 2008 by hiring 15 part-time employees specially trained to provide excellent customer service to the line’s riders along the Strip. The majority of the RTC’s Deuce Ambassadors are students who were recruited for their gregarious personalities and willingness to provide service with a smile.

"This program is exciting because it essentially provides our riders with a concierge-type service,” said Snow. “It’s one more way we can improve the rider experience and it’s been extremely well received.”

The next “card” RTC plans to deal to its riders is Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). “The ACE Gold Line will be the first in a series of ACE rapid transit lines that will provide mobility and connectivity to the valley,” said Snow. “It’s scheduled to launch in January 2010, and it will provide an enhanced transit link between downtown Las Vegas and the Strip.”

ACE will use BRT technology to operate with sleek, train-like vehicles, limited-stop service, and a dedicated transit lane for portions of the route. All of these features add up to provide an important benefit for both the RTC and its riders: speed.

Another RTC project slated for completion in January 2010—ACExpress, the agency’s first express commuter service—also is expected to provide that key ingredient. ACExpress will transport riders from two new park-and-ride locations in the northwest section of the valley to the downtown employment core, operating in a carpool/bus-only lane along one of southern Nevada’s major freeways, U.S. 95.

“ACExpress will provide residents with a viable alternative to their automobiles,” said Snow. “Drivers will be able to leave their cars behind at the park-and-ride and then get to work faster using transit. That’s something that we haven’t been able to offer in the past, and that speed is something our riders value.”

RTC’s goal is to provide value, convenience, and mobility; and, as the agency moves forward, transit riders in Southern Nevada will continue to reap the benefits.

“We’re a world-class city and we’re committed to providing our riders with a world-class experience,” said Snow.

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