Monday, March 19, 2012

Bus tips if staying at the Stratosphere

Updated in June 2012

This was my answer to tourists who wanted to know about bus passes while staying about 4 days at the Stratosphere.

You save a dollar by buying a 3 day pass on the strip that will cover most of your days. A lot depends on your patterns and when you will be away from the Stratosphere. I would buy the 24 hour pass until I saw when I needed bus travel.

Also, in some cases two 24 hour passes can stretch to cover 3 days.
Let's suppose you are going to play at the Strat and then go downtown after 5 PM for the light show and gambling. You buy a 24 hour pass on the bus and ride down there on Day 1 and back that night.

On Day 2 you decide to spend all day and much of the night on the strip. You leave before 5PM using Day 1 pass, using it to get to where you are going and expecting to walk around while you are there. it expires while you are on the strip, but you don't care because you are walking or playing ten hours of live poker at the Flamingo.

You buy a new pass to return from somewhere on the strip at 2AM to your room at the Strat.

On Day 3 you can use the Day 2 pass up until 2 Am the next day. Three days of bus riding for $14.

The key is that in your planning there is a time where the end of the time on one pass got you to a place where you would stay for a long while before you bought the second pass.
Never buy a 24 hour pass just because the one you have is about to expire. Sometimes the bus driver will even give you a bit of grace period if you are just over time.
If you can use the expired pass time at your destination, you will extend the value of the next pass you buy.

Passes are not purchased in the hotel. They can be purchased in the machines at every SDX stop. If you leave the Strat and are going downtown, the machines are by Denny's. If you are going South, they are somewhere near the Stratosphere at the stop on Main.I cannot mentally visualize that one.
See this map to see where they are located.
You need to buy the ticket before you board the SDX bus as no one sells them on the bus, they just check them.
I can't remember if the Deuce driver still sells them. It is just better to get them at one of these machines. Take the SDX when you can. It is much faster.

The ticket is validated when you buy it, so don't buy one and then spend 6 hours in the Stratosphere before you board the bus. Buy it just before you board the bus.
The $5 2 hour ticket for strip buses is just not worth it unless you actually know you are only going one way, once, in the next 24 hours. It sounds like that is not what you are doing but if you were say going to meet a buddy who just rented a car but doesn't want to pick you up, well, one way is enough.

If you want to take a bus from the airport, you can take the 108 and get a single ride for $2 from the driver at the airport (zero floor) . That is a residential bus route and cheaper, but the residential pass is technically not good for the Strip buses. However, it is great for the Strat because it will drop you at the Denny's stop across from the Stratosphere. Sometimes we just want to spend some time in our home casino and get settled and relax and eat and swim before we take any bus rides elsewhere. So that gives us more hours on the all access $7 24 hour pass we buy later.

The ride is about 25 minutes.They expect that you will have luggage on this route.

Here is updated and detailed information on the bus stops around the Stratosphere.