UBER VEGAS: A GAME CHANGER
Vegas lovers – listen in.
The transportation game in Las Vegas has just had an overhaul.
Uber has finally arrived.
Prevalent in almost all most major cities, it’s taken a long time for Uber to hit Las Vegas. But with its launch in September 2015, Uber is ready to shake up the taxi scene in Vegas.
Let us start by explaining that almost any Vegas trip will involve many taxi rides, perhaps several per day. Those who know Vegas will know that the strip is actually a lot longer than it appears. While that hotel further down the Strip may appear to be within walking distance, often this walking distance turns out to be miles away. Not to mention it could be well over 90 degrees outside. You’re much better off jumping in a cab and saving yourself time and effort, and this is where Uber comes in.
What does Uber’s arrival mean for Vegas tourists? We put Uber Las Vegas to the test to find out.
Uber Car Options
Uber Las Vegas currently has two car options. UberX is the standard vehicle option and Uber XL offers bigger vehicles – ideal if you need to transport a large party.
In terms of UberX cars, Uber Las Vegas seems to operate a loose policy in regards to vehicle make. By this, we mean that we experienced rides in all kinds of vehicles, ranging from a Ford 500 to a Mercedes GLK with plenty of cars in between. It’s luck of the draw as to what car you’ll receive, but there are certainly some boss rides available.
Pricing & Availability
The main advantage of Uber Las Vegas is that the pricing is significantly cheaper than using a regular taxi.
A regular taxi ride from one hotel to another generally seems to run about USD $13 plus tips, a total of $16-17. Similar rides on Uber were coming in at around $11 including tip. So there’s significant savings to be had – especially if you’re moving around Vegas a bit.
Availability was excellent. Wherever we were on the strip, there were always several cars available and rarely a wait of more than 2-3 minutes. Customer service and driver attitude/courtesy was also very good.
We envisage Uber will come in handy at peak times. It’s not uncommon to walk out of your hotel at 10pm on a Saturday night and see a line of 100 people waiting for a taxi. Having Uber cars on the road should offset this congestion.
The app is well designed and includes a specific interface for Las Vegas. It allows you to choose your pickup hotel and even select which entrance you wish to be picked up from.
We did however note a couple of teething problems.
First, some hotels are not exactly welcoming to Uber drivers and will not let the drivers use the main taxi rank, instead using a side lot or side entrance. This can create issues if you wish to be picked up or dropped off directly outside a hotel.
Secondly, as it stands, Uber drivers are not meant to pickup or dropoff from the airport. They will occasionally, however, indulge in the latter.
We put this to the test by simply entering McCarran Airport as our destination and were picked up within 2 minutes and dropped off at the airport with no problem whatsoever.
We enquired with drivers about the airport dropoff policy and were told that while pickup and dropoff are technically still prohibited by fine, many drivers will take the chance and drop passengers off and if fined, Uber will cover the cost. While we expect passenger pickup to remain legally off-limits, we expect the state/county to relax the restrictions on dropoff as Uber settles into the city.
We recommend taking a ride to the airport on your return journey and seeing what happens. There are no guarantees but you could easily find a driver willing to take the job.
Given that Uber Las Vegas has been operating for less than a month, we’re confident that these teething issues will be sorted in the near future.
Overall, we were very impressed with Uber Las Vegas. Availability, rates and customer service were all excellent and getting from one hotel to another is now much easier than it used to be.