Believe it or not, some visitors to Las Vegas (and a whole bunch of locals) actually do stuff like exercise and breathe fresh air when they visit.
These folks undoubtedly were stoked last month at the news of the city’s new bike share initiative. The program, which kicked off in early October, currently is confined to downtown, where 180 bicycles are spread across 21 different stations.
Most of the stations are within a few miles of Las Vegas Boulevard, spanning downtown and the city’s burgeoning arts district. They range as far west as the World Market Center and as far east as Maryland Parkway. The southernmost station is at the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Sahara, in front of the Walgreens across Sahara from SLS Las Vegas.
The program is run by the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada and formally is called RTC Bike Share.
As with most bike share efforts, users of the Vegas program can check out bikes at one station and return them to another station closer to their final destinations. Bikes are available 24 hours a day. They cost $4 each for 30-minute single rides, but the program launched with a promotion for half-off single-ride passes through the end of this calendar year.
Riders also can purchase 24-hour passes for $8 and 30-day memberships for $20 online. (For the sake of comparison, RTC bus fares run $6 for two hours, $8 for 24 hours, and $20 for three days.)
The bikes themselves are from BCycle, a company with more than 1,250 stations and 10,200 bikes on the ground in 42 cities in North and South America. In Vegas, the bikes have white frames and periwinkle mudflaps on the rear wheels.
Tina Quigley, general manager of the RTC, told AFAR that the system logged more than 2,600 individual trips in its first month.
“The first month of RTC Bike Share has shown us one thing—it’s wildly popular among our downtown Las Vegas residents and visitors,” she wrote in an email. “Downtown Las Vegas is the perfect microcosm for a bike share program connecting our tourists, employees, residents, and transit riders from one destination to the next.”
Although there’s no way to tell how many riders are tourists, downtown hotels have been promoting the bikes to their customers, and visitors have been seen using the system as a transportation alternative to taxis, Uber, and other forms of public transit.
RTC Bike Share is funded by a $1 million Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality improvement grant from the Federal Highway Administration, which subsidizes state and local projects.
Matt Villano is a freelance writer and editor based in Healdsburg, California. In nearly 20 years as a full-time freelancer, he has covered travel for publications including TIME, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Sunset, Backpacker, Entrepreneur, and more. He contributes to the Expedia Viewfinder blog and writes a monthly food column for Islands magazine. Villano also serves on the board of the Family Travel Association and blogs about family travel at Wandering Pod. Learn more about him at Whalehead.com.