Note : Updates, including details on surge pricing, are at the end of this article.
A few weeks ago we told you that UBER would return to Las Vegas and that it would be better than the first time. UBER’s (for now, uberX) return to Las Vegas is indeed better and it will continue to get even better. Unlike their first go-around in Las Vegas you’ll be able to have a car pick you up at a casino. Each hotel will have a different pickup area since UBER cars don’t have to wait in a taxi line. You’ll want to check where you should wait in the taxi pickup area. This is similar to the procedure at other busy UBER pick-up locations, such as at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut.
The return of UBER will improve even more when the ride sharing service is approved to pick passengers up at McCarran International Airport (LAS). As previously reported the Clark County Commission will discuss new areas of operation at a meeting on the 20th of October. Ride sharing companies are expected to receive approval for airport pickup shortly after.
UBER starting operation in Las Vegas this week comes as a surprise to many. Ride sharing companies, including Lyft, were approved for operation by the state of Nevada on Monday but were not given the go ahead to begin operations in Las Vegas. They were supposed to be waiting on Clark County to create a legal framework to issue business licenses for ride sharing companies to operate in Las Vegas. UBER and Lyft shunned the waiting period and began operations Tuesday afternoon.
There is a lot of excitement about UBER operating in Las Vegas based on how it operates in other cities. However, the version of UBER (uberX) that we’ll see in Las Vegas won’t be exactly the same as you’ll find elsewhere. The current base rate is $2.40 per mile. A traditional taxi charges $3.45 for the initial charge and $2.68 a mile. UBER offers a less expensive rate than current Las Vegas taxi fares but the rates are still more expensive than it is in other cities.
Sure you’ll save a few bucks using UBER as opposed to traditional taxis but the real difference is in the convenience. One of the biggest inconveniences in Las Vegas is waiting on a taxi line after a show lets out or on a weekend. The lines can take an hour at some of the larger hotels. If you have the UBER app you can see how long it will take for a car to pick you up instead of standing in the long line. Even if the wait for UBER is as long as the taxi line might be, you can grab a drink at a bar and wait instead of standing in a line.
UBER uses “surge pricing” during periods of high demand. This can increase your ride price, sometimes substantially. Some ideas of how to avoid spending money on “surge pricing,” can be found in this informative article Uber Roulette.
Las Vegas taxis charge a $3 service fee if you want to pay with are credit or debit card. If you’re going from one end of the Vegas Strip to the other this might be 20% or 30% of your bill. When you ride with UBER you just pay for everything, including tip, on your app. If you use an American Express card for your account you can earn 2x Membership Rewards points with each ride. (only applicable to USA based AMEX Membership Rewards) If you’re bouncing around town for a weekend that definitely adds up.
[baccarat_guy note : ] Remember that the UBER model is no-tipping expected or required. You just get to your destination and “hop out” of the car. While I love to tip in Vegas; I strongly suggest people do not tip UBER drivers under normal circumstances. (Of course, if you need a driver to do something above and beyond, that is a different scenario.) The no-tipping, automatic payment is one of the biggest advantages of service such as UBER, in my opinion.
If you have not signed up for UBER, we strongly suggest that you sign-up prior to use, so you are ready to “roll” should you require a ride. Also, be sure to sign-up with a promotional code ( our code is : uberTravelZork ) to receive a first ride promotional credit. I’m expecting that my first UBER ride will be in a couple of weeks during the Global Gaming Expo. Sometimes things happen at large conventions like this and driving home isn’t an option.
UPDATE 21 September 2015 :
Las Vegas Review Journal cites some examples of UBER Surge pricing from its first weekend operating in Las Vegas:
“Customer emailed these examples: A ride from Sahara Avenue and Arville Street to the SLS Las Vegas, a distance of about 2.7 miles, cost $26; a trip from the Embassy Suites Convention Center on Paradise Road to the Palms, a distance of about 3.8 miles, cost $44; and, a trip from Southern Highlands to the Hard Rock Hotel, a distance of about 11.5 miles, cost $101.”
Those prices are about $10 per mile and approximately twice what you’d pay in a taxi while sitting in traffic. You can find the full article here.
In addition, according to this article, UBER is also not allowed to operate to and from the airport rental car facility.
“The citations came after the District Attorney’s Office last week sent a warning letter to lawyers for the ride-hailing services. The letter emphasized Clark County’s position and asked Uber and Lyft refrain from operating at airport property, which includes the McCarran Rent-A-Car Center and the Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Henderson, Jean and Overton airports.”
UPDATE 23 September 2015 :
uberXL arrives in Vegas : “We’re pumped to announce the arrival of uberXL, an affordable high-capacity vehicle option! With room for up to six passengers, uberXL is spacious, convenient, and low-cost. You can expect pickups from Toyota Highlanders, Acura MDXs, and Honda Pilots, among others.”
UPDATE 21 October 2015 :
UBER pick-up and drop off from LAS (Las Vegas McCarran International Airport) is approved.
UPDATE 9 December 2015 2015 :
Uber begins operations at LAS (McCarran International Airport).
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