Crazy is on the Bus: Done Good

I’ve been riding RTC buses around Las Vegas for nearly two months now. There are things about the bus system that I don’t like, and I’ve written about them in past installments of this blog: the massive holes in the coverage map; the lack of real-time arrival and departure times at the stops or online; and the difficulty in busing from one end of the Strip to the other in less than 45 minutes with most of your brains in solid form. And you probably know all this stuff, anyhow. These are perhaps the reasons why you don’t take the bus in the first place.

So I’m going to play nice this week. I’ve noted several positive things about RTC these past few weeks, above and beyond their terrific pricing. ($7 for 24 hours of unlimited rides, $65 for a month of a month of unlimited rides: That’s crazy cheap, no matter how you slice it.) These are things that RTC is doing right—things that demonstrate that the agency is committed to doing right by us, even if they’re underfunded and a little behind the eight ball.

● Two weeks ago I complained about the ugly state of two bus stops: Charleston Boulevard at Maryland Parkway, northwest corner (dirty sidewalks in need of a pressure wash), and Maryland Parkway and Franklin Avenue, east side of the street (missing trash can, with trash strewn everywhere). I posted photos of the stops to RTC’s My Vegas Bus Stop app. And I was surprised and pleased when, just one week later, both bus stops were cleaned up. It made me feel great that RTC had not only listened to me, but had taken timely action.

● Last week, as I hopped off the 206 in the Arts District, a recorded voice said, “Have a nice day!” I don’t know if all the buses are supposed to do that, but they should.

● Nearly all RTC drivers say “thank you” when you scan your pass correctly. It’s like getting a gold star.

● My connecting bus arrived too late to catch the Strip-Downtown Express at the Bonneville Transit Center—it happens sometimes, but on this particular day I was late for an appointment. I asked one of the guards if he knew of any buses headed downtown immediately. He pointed me to the Boulder Highway Express, which stops right behind Neonopolis—and I made my appointment with minutes to spare.

There are still many, many problems with the RTC’s bus service, and there always will be. A city’s bus system is made of literally thousands of moving parts, any one of which can fail at any time and throw off the works. But RTC seems genuinely willing to fix those parts when needed, to add more parts when they can afford it—and to continually strive towards achieving clockwork efficiency. For everyone’s sake, I hope they get there.