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April 19, 2018

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RTC of Southern Nevada

How to take a bus in the valley: Tips, tricks and routes to travel based on your itinerary

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Las Vegas is often considered a car’s city, and for most people who live here, driving is the main mode of transportation. While driving may be in our comfort zone, taking public transportation offers substantial benefits.

It can save money, reduce your carbon footprint and increase mobility for anyone who doesn’t drive. Commuting via public transportation also is associated with personal health — the American Heart Association reports that people who use mass transit have a lower risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity.

Even in a city where cars reign supreme, learning how to use the bus system gives you one more travel option and new ways to explore Las Vegas.

Taking the bus 101

Plan ahead

There are 39 public bus routes in Clark County, so once you know where you’re going, you’ll need to find the best route to get you there. The routes and travel schedules are listed on the Regional Transportation Commission’s website (rtcsnv.com), or on the free app rideRTC.

There’s a bus route along most major roads in the city, though some destinations may require you to transfer buses. Remember to account for transfer time when determining your travel time.

Get your passes

Once you’ve found your route, you can purchase passes on the rideRTC app, at ticket vending machines or on the bus. If you’re using the app, remember to activate the pass before boarding, and if you’re using the ticket vending machines or paying on board, be sure to have exact change.

Ride

It’s best to arrive at the bus stop a few minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive. You also can use the rideRTC app to track the location of your bus. Once it arrives, scan your electronic pass from your phone or present/buy your paper pass when boarding. Choose your seat and settle in.

All buses have free Wi-Fi, so you can use the time to catch up on work, surf the web or stream a show. Just don’t forget to keep an eye out for your stop.

How much does it cost?

Residential routes

• Two-hour pass is $3

• 24-hour pass is $5

• Seven-day pass is $20

• 15-day pass is $34

• 30-day pass is $65

Strip and downtown routes

• Two-hour pass is $6

• 24-hour pass is $8

• 3-day pass is $20

Note: Locals can use Strip and downtown buses for the same rate as residential routes with a valid Nevada ID. Reduced fares are offered to veterans, youths (6-17 years), students (K-12), seniors, persons with disabilities and Medicare-eligible persons. Kids 5 and under ride free.

Must-ride routes

If you’re curious about exploring Southern Nevada via bus, consider these possible itineraries:

If you want a uniquely Las Vegas experience...

Take the Maryland Parkway (109) route.

Start at the Pinball Hall of Fame on Tropicana, take a stroll down Trop until you get to Maryland Parkway, then explore UNLV’s campus (be sure to check the Rebels’ schedule if you want to catch a game).

From there, continue north, where you can stop at two of the city’s most beloved dive bars: Huntridge Tavern or Atomic Liquors, which is a short walk along Fremont. Go ahead and have a drink at both — after all, you’re not driving.

If you want to eat...

Take the Fort Apache/Rampart (120) route.

Start at the farmers market at Tivoli Village (9 a.m. every Saturday), then grab brunch at Boca Park and finish with an Instagram-able dessert at Rolled Ice Cream on Flamingo.

Pro tip for foodies: The Spring Mountain/Desert Inn/Lamb (203) route cuts straight through the heart of Chinatown. If you’re craving dumplings, ramen, Korean BBQ or any other mouthwatering Asian food, hop on this bus.

If you want to go shopping

Take the Strip & Downtown Express (SDX).

You can start at the Premium Outlets South, hightail it up to Town Square, hit Fashion Show Mall and then do some antiquing in the Arts District. If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, you can take it all the way to the Premium Outlets North.