Vegas Monorail Sees an Upturn

The troubled monorail in Las Vegas has seen its ups (in 2007) and downs (every year since). Could 2014 be the year it sees a turnaround?

Ridership up in 2013, but fare revenues down

Ridership on the Las Vegas Monorail was up in 2013, but only by 1 percent. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, 4.19 million passengers rode on the monorail last year.

Even a minimal gain is good news for the attraction, which drew almost 8 million people in 2007, but saw ridership drop by 50 percent the following year, after the recession kicked in. Eventually, the nonprofit monorail corporation filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

CEO Curtis Myles III say the monorail has recently benefited from more marketing and advertising. Its 2007 budget of $3.4 million, cut to just $110,000 in 2009, has been raised to $550,000 this year. The corporation plans to boost its social media outreach and sell bulk tickets at a discount to conventions and travel booking websites.

“In the dark period, we had enough marketing dollars to put out some rack cards at concierge desks and that was it,” Myles said. “We are trying to get a bigger presence now, but that’s difficult in Las Vegas where you are inundated with marketing messages.”

Despite more riders, fare revenues were down 1.5 percent in 2013 to $18.4 million, due to the wholesaling strategy.

“We will be ramping up during the next six to 12 months,” said Myles. “You have to spend money to make money.”