Thursday, September 25, 2008


Each time I go to Vegas I try to explore a different CAT route just to see and to try to avoid the crowds on the Deuce. For so many people the Deuce is the only Vegas bus experience, and they are so turned off by the overcrowding, they don't bother with any other.

If I do take the Deuce it is at the end of my gambling, say 2 AM and I try to be down at the Riviera when I board to head downtown as by then, there will usually be seats.

But most times I take the local routes. These are less crowded because there are fewer tourists, and the fare is less, but have correct change:

Carry quarters. The buses do not give change. You need quarters for the 24 hour pass (only $2.50 when it is purchased on routes other than the Deuce) and to add to that pass for each Deuce ride(50 cents additional). It will be cheaper to buy the $2.50 pass going out on a non deuce route even if you use the Deuce later. You would have to ride the Deuce more than 3 times to get the price up to the Deuce 24 hour pass price of $5.

With any address in Vegas you can chart a route and print it out detail for detail by using this Trip Planner at the CAT site. Sometimes you can just put in a casino name and it will change it to the right terminology and then search your routes.

From downtown using the DTC you can find most of the routes. There also, for a quarter you can buy the latest book of bus routes and schedules. However, I find it a better bet to plan a few itineraries from the transit planner page above, and print them out before you go and only use the CAT book as a backup.


Go to ground level zero by taking the elevator near where that bridge goes to the place folks might pick you up in a private car.
Turn to the right and go all the way down.
There is a bus stop and the 108 or 109 will get you downtown from there in about 45 minutes.
Some of the 109 buses are going in a less efficient direction so ask the driver.
The least crowded day on the 109 is Sunday.
You can be dropped off downtown a couple blocks from El Cortez on the 109 or the 108 or ride to the DTC.
California is right across the street from the DTC. Main Street Station is close too.
The 108 will drop you right downtown near the Fitzgerald's Casino. This is probably a bit more in the center of things than getting dropped from the 109.


The two most common CAT routes from downtown to the strip used to avoid the Deuce are the 108 and the 116 (which was once the 105)

The 108 will take you to Terribles if you don't mind a walk down Flamingo to the strip. You can stop at Tuscany, or at Ellis to use up matchplays or grab some lunch (cheap steak and garlic beans)
Staying on the 108 beyond Flamingo will take you to the Hard Rock. I often go there, use up matchplays, check out all the guitars, and then walk the short distance back to Terribles for a cheap breakfast.
You can also take the 202 Flamingo bus to the strip or stay on to the Palms or the Gold Coast or Rio.
Sometimes I go on the 202 Flamingo bus from Terribles to the Gold Coast and then hop the free Coast shuttle ( sometimes you need a room key--usually not) to the Orleans and from there take the 201 Tropicana bus back to the strip at NYNY. Remember, once you buy the day pass you can ride as much as you want. It is fun to visit each place for a bit and then move on. While much of the good gambling is gone from the Orleans, I think the gift shop still sells great playing cards for 50 cents and dice for a quarter and of course a visit to McMullan's for a pint of Smithwick's and some of those homemade potato chips is always a treat. This route probably does not save anytime over the Deuce. I use it to see the other places along the way.

If you are on the 201 going itowards the stip from the Orleans and stay on for a while longer, you can get to the Pinball Hall of Fame.

But remember now, don't use up all your quarters. Keep a couple bus quarters in your pocket.


The 116 in its winding route will also drop you at Fashion Mall which is on the strip across from the Wynn. I used it to go play poker at the Wynn and it is very convenient. Remember that this links to the Palms by free shuttle. Planning itineraries that link to free shuttles is a great way to get easy transportation around Vegas. See here for information on free shuttle

Note by the way that the Gold Coast turns out to be a really fine spot for positioning you for central shuttle and bus travel. The Coast shuttle, the Palms shuttles, the Rio Shuttles and the 202 CAT give you some really great access to so many areas. YOu can even go out to the Boulder strip.

The 116 coming from Downtown will also drop you right at Ellis Island for one of those steak specials and a much easier walk to the strip than from Terribles.

Because of the one way streets, if you decide to ride the 108 or the 116 back to downtown from an area around the strip, you have to pick them up in places different from where they dropped you off. It can get confusing, so check the routes in the book. Also just asking the driver on your way out, can orient you better for finding the same route on your way back.

Most people do not like being dropped off at DTC after dark. It is better to get off near the downtown area which you can do on either of those routes but you need to watch and not go by the drop off spots.

I find that I usually come back to Downtown using the Deuce but then I usually return after midnight and I don't find the Deuce very crowded then. So I take it. However, I generally plan to be as close as possible to downtown on the strip before catching the bus. If it is very crowded, walking to the Riviera will generally allow you to get a ride. Most folks are done by that stop and seats are freed up.

Another easy thing would be just to duck into the California casino after dark and navigate to Freemont from there. Or get on the 108 at the DTC and just ride one block to the area between the Plaza and Main Street Station.

In December of 2007 I used the 108 to see Cowboy Christmas. It took me right there. I walked across the street and saw all the vendors and exhibits. I pretended to be a cowboy for an afternoon. Then hopped back on the 108 and continued to Ellis for a dinner.

It will also take you to the Sahara Casino so you have access to that large souvenir shop and the Stratosphere. Or if you like the monorail, you can get off the 108 and board it with less walking than you will have once you get off the monorail somewhere in the back of some casino and want to get up to the front.


I just read this week that one poster would not even think of these casinos from downtown because they were too far to go.

I think 106 is a fine and easy route that goes out to Texas Station or Fiesta Rancho. On the way back it also has stops right downtown, so you don't have to wait for the DTC end of the road drop off.

I have used it with some light baggage just to take advantage of a free night at Fiesta Rancho leaving my main luggage in a free room somewhere else downtown.

Also, remember that the 24 hour pass is good for the full 24 hours.
This will happen to me:
Day one - head to the strip at 5 PM and return.
Day two - Head to the strip at 4PM on the same pass.
play poker until early in the morning.Day three(2 AM) - Buy a second pass to return to downtown.
Use it again that day, and if I return to downtown earlier than 2AM on Day Four, I have managed to buy 2 passes and done three days of travel.

I did a similar thing traveling to the strip to play poker when I stayed at Terribles last August.
Walked down to the Tuscany so see if any poker was happening. Nothing. Too bad.
Walked down to Ellis Island to play matchplays and have a microbrew. Pete let me use a matchplay so I played a little 9/6JOB.
Walked to O'Shea's and spent the night there.

Caught the 202 coming back. It actually may wait at the stop on Flamingo for a couple minutes. I bought my 24 hour pass at 2 AM
I used the pass the next day to get to the strip and come home before 2 AM.

Also, at Terribles is the only place you can take a shuttle to Laughlin other than those one day almost free trips. River City Shuttle is the name of the company. I wrote of details in this post:

The 111 is the Pecos bus. One of the buses goes out as far as Green Valley Ranch, if you can believe it. It estimates it takes an hour to get there from Bill's with one transfer. I have ridden the bus to get to the Pinball Hall of Fame when I was already on Flamingo. Pecos cuts into Tropicana right at the plaza that has that fun place. There are also some great barbers there. In the same plaza is a barber who has collected a Western museum around where he cuts hair. He used to cut hair for movie stars, but the haircuts are cheap. $15 for a cut and beard trim he quoted me. You can beat the price for just a haircut kitty corner across both Trop and Pecos. $8 there.

I can't tell you how many interesting discussions I have had with people on the bus. But you do have to be tolerant of all sorts of folks. Poor folks ride these buses, so if you think cabbing is a step down from your limo, you may feel uncomfortable.

For low rollers, the CAT opens ups Vegas. Even with the coming rise in fares, the bus remains a really great deal.

Beginning on January 11, 2009, the new fare structure is as follows:
Fare Type Regular 1Reduced: Seniors/Students
Residential One-Way Fare: $1.75 $0.75
Strip One-Way Fare: $3.00 $1.50
One-Trip Ridecard (same as Red. One-Way Fare): $1.75 $0.75
Residential 1-Day Pass: $4.001 $2.001
Strip 1-Day Pass: $7.00 $7.00
Strip 3-Day Pass: $20.00 $10.00
30-Day Pass: $55.00 $25.00

1 To use this pass on the DEUCE, you must pay an additional 1 dollar EACH TIME you board.

Then, beginning on January 10, 2010, the new fare structure will be as follows:
Fare Type Regular 1Reduced: Seniors/Students
Residential One-Way Fare: $2.00 $1.00
Strip One-Way Fare: $3.00 $1.50
One-Trip Ridecard (same as Red. One-Way Fare): $2.00 $1.00
Residential 1-Day Pass: $5.001 $2.001
Strip 1-Day Pass: $7.00 $7.00
Strip 3-Day Pass: $20.00 $10.00
30-Day Pass: $65.00 $30.00

1 To use this pass on the DEUCE, you must pay an additional $1.50 EACH TIME you board.