Trade show helped drive Las Vegas Monorail ridership

Trade show helped drive Las Vegas Monorail ridership :The Las Vegas Monorail had its highest ridership since before the recession on the opening day of the Specialty Equipment Market Association trade show last week.

The 10-year-old, 3.9-mile transportation system east of the Strip continues to perform better than it did last year, but saw a ridership and revenue dip in the third quarter.

Officials with the company that operates the system said ridership during the SEMA show was 18 percent higher than during the same period a year ago. During the week, the company said more than 162,000 people used the system. It did not say how many rode the first day.

The four-day SEMA show opened at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Nov. 4. Geared toward the automobile aftermarket industry, the show drew an estimated 140,000 attendees, making it the second-largest trade show by attendance in Southern Nevada this year behind the Consumer Electronics Show.

Because many of the show exhibits involved vehicles — show officials estimated that 1,500 of them were used — and some of them required a track to operate, convention center parking was limited. That resulted in large numbers of attendees needing to find alternative transportation to and from the convention center.

“2014 has been a positive growth year for the Las Vegas Monorail, but during large citywide shows like SEMA we generally don’t see large increases simply because peak travel times are already at capacity,” said Monorail Vice President Ingrid Reisman.

The monorail is continuing to operate with a ridership and farebox revenue strategy that is different than what was used prior to its 2010 bankruptcy filing, adjusting rates and ticketing distribution outlets and developing partnerships with trade-show operators.

Ridership also fell in 2012 when the Sahara closed its doors. While the system’s northernmost station was open from the street level, the hotel’s closure resulted in a big drop in passengers.

The reopening of the property as the SLS Las Vegas in August was expected to boost numbers to pre-2012 levels, but so far, gains have been moderate.

After three successive quarters of increases, ridership numbers and farebox revenue declined in the third quarter.

Ridership and farebox revenue declined from 2013 levels in July, but there were slight increases in ridership in August and September and revenue in August.

Ridership was down 3.1 percent to 372,454 in July and revenue was off 6.4 percent to $1.54 million. In August, there was a 2 percent increase in passengers to 354,897 and a 1.2 percent revenue increase to $1.49 million. In September, ridership was up less than 1 percent to 364,247 and revenue was down 3.2 percent to $1.53 million.

After nine months in 2014, monorail ridership is up 7.5 percent to 3.38 million passengers and revenue is up 6.1 percent to $14.6 million.

Trade show helped drive Las Vegas Monorail ridership

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