Transportation options abound in Vegas By Amy Baratta / December 31, 1998 Share 1 -- LAS VEGAS -- Compared with other tourist meccas, taxi fare here is not astronomically expensive, and there are transportation alternatives for getting around this city. For example, a taxi ride from McCarran Airport to a property on the Strip will run about $10 without tip. However, depending on the time of day and the day of the week clients wish to travel, traffic -- especially on the Strip -- can be very heavy, pushing the fare up quite a bit.Some properties feature free monorail or tram service to other properties, a quick, efficient way for visitors to change their scenery. This option is especially attractive when the weather is warm and a jaunt between properties -- word of warning, they are farther apart than they appear -- seems more like a 10-mile hike.Another option, depending on where clients want to go, is a shuttle bus or trolley. Some are scheduled to stop at several properties along the Strip, allowing you to get the lay of the land for practically nothing, while others feature point-to-point service.One thing you should keep in mind, though, is that with this mode of transportation, in terms of time, it might not be as convenient as walking out the front door of a hotel and hailing a waiting cab. Most shuttles only pick up and drop off at specific times, so there could be some waiting involved.The following are alternative methods of transportation for getting around the city. Those interested in shuttle bus or trolley service would be best advised to call about scheduled pickup and drop-off times as well as any route changes:Monorails and trams are fast becoming the preferred modes of transportation between casino properties.Tram service is available between the newly opened Bellagio resort and the Monte Carlo Hotel Casino just south on the Strip as well as between Treasure Island and the Mirage.The MGM Grand, meanwhile, is connected to Bally's Las Vegas via a monorail system that also will include a stop at the Paris-Las Vegas Casino Resort property when it opens next fall.Monorail service has been planned to link the Excalibur, the Luxor Hotel and the new Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, which is scheduled to debut in early March, according to Mike Mecca, Mandalay Bay's vice president and general manager. When it is completed, Mecca said, the monorail system will offer guests the choice of an express trip between the Excalibur and Mandalay Bay or a stop at the Luxor, which is sandwiched in between.Currently, the Excalibur and the Luxor are connected by a system of moving walkways. For more information, contact Bellagio at (702) 693-7111; Monte Carlo, (702) 730-7777; Treasure Island, (702) 894-7111; the Mirage, (702) 791-7111, or the Luxor, (702) 262-4000.Clients who want to get away from the Strip for a while can choose from two different shuttle bus operations.The first, which began operating in June, takes passengers from the Strip to the Golden Nugget Resort Casino on Fremont Street in the city's downtown. The area also is home to one of the city's most spectacular moving light displays, the Fremont Street Experience. There is no cost for the shuttle. Visitors cannot initiate a trip from the Golden Nugget to the Strip.Instead, they first catch the shuttle on the west side of the Strip -- the office is located just north of the Holiday Inn Boardwalk Casino -- and have their boarding ticket validated at the Golden Nugget's main casino cage for the return trip to the Strip. The bus leaves from the Strip every hour beginning at noon until 11 p.m.; it operates its return from the Golden Nugget every hour beginning at 1:30 p.m. until 12:30 a.m. For more information, call (702) 795-7407.Another shuttle departing from the Rio Visitors Center on the east side of the Strip takes passengers to the Rio Suite Hotel & Casino, which is west of Las Vegas Boulevard on West Flamingo Road. There is no cost for the bus ride, which departs every 20 to 30 minutes from the visitors center located just south of Bally's and the Paris-Las Vegas site and drops off passengers at the Masquerade Village garage.Shuttle service begins at 9 a.m., with the last shuttle leaving the Strip at 1:30 a.m. Going from the Rio to the Strip, the shuttle service is a little more infrequent. The bus leaves from the west casino entrance next to the Carnival World Buffet every two hours beginning at 9 a.m.; the last shuttle departs from the Rio at 1 a.m. For more information, contact the visitors center at (702) 733-7573 or the Rio at (702) 252-7777.Free trolley service is available between Polo Towers, a nongaming property located on the east side of the Strip, and the Stratosphere, situated on the north end of the Strip.The trolley departs from Polo Towers every hour on the hour from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.; service from the Stratosphere is every hour on the half hour from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. For more information, call Polo Towers at (702) 261-1000 or Stratosphere at (702) 380-7777.Visitors can get a scenic ride aboard the Las Vegas Strip Trolley, which picks up and drops off passengers every 15 to 20 minutes at stops located at major properties along the Strip. The service operates from 9:30 a.m. to 2 a.m., and the fare is $1.40, regardless of where passengers get on or off.Until September, the company also ran trolley service from the Stratosphere to the city's downtown area, including Fremont Street, according to a company employee.The service was suspended because that route wasn't getting enough passengers, he said. However, he added, the company is looking at ways to bolster business for the route so it can be reinstituted. For more information, contact the Las Vegas Strip Trolley at (702) 382-1404.