Thursday, Jan. 6, 2011 | 1 p.m.
2011 International CES
Massive crowds arriving for the International Consumer Electronics Show helped set a record Wednesday for the number of taxis loaded at McCarran International Airport.
Airport officials said 14,495 taxis were loaded at the airport’s two terminals Wednesday. The airport uses a radio-based system to track taxis, limousines and other commercial vehicles.
The new record is 4 percent more cabs loaded than the previous 24-hour record of 13,927, which was set on Jan. 4, 2006, also a day that coincided with CES.
The number of taxis picking up passengers at the airport varies day-to-day, but airport spokesman Chris Jones said the airport loaded nearly 3 million taxis in all of 2010, making the average about 8,000 per day.
Wednesday’s total could have been even higher, Jones said, but in an effort to speed things up, officials redirected about 800 people from the taxi lines to lines for about 50 shuttles.
Even so, an average of 724 taxis were loaded each hour during McCarran’s 20 primary operating hours Wednesday.
During the peak hour, from 10 to 11 p.m., 929 cabs were loaded at the airport.
The taxi companies expected the increase in passengers and got approval last month from the Nevada Taxicab Authority to put extra cabs on the road this week, an additional 13 to 15 cabs per company were permitted.
CES is expected to bring 126,000 people to the Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas Hilton and the Venetian from Thursday to Sunday. In addition, about 30,000 are expected to visit the Adult Entertainment Expo, also in town this week.
The crowds have pushed up room rates on the Las Vegas Strip, and in addition to the extra taxis, local transit officials have increased the number of public buses and monorail trains serving the convention.