Two words will guide CES visitors’ success at maneuvering Las Vegas’ largest annual trade show: mass transportation.
And the easiest — and cheapest — mass transportation available is provided free by the operators of CES.
The Consumer Technology Association, which produces the trade show, charters dozens of buses to shuttle attendees from resort hotels to venues, as well as to move traffic between venues. More than 170,000 people are expected to attend the tech trade show that officially runs Tuesday through Friday, though programming starts Sunday.
Complimentary transportation will be offered Jan. 6-10. Ten routes between hotels and show venues will run every 20 minutes Tuesday through Friday. They will run inbound to the venues from 7:30-10:30 a.m. and outbound to the hotels from 4-6:30 p.m. (or 2-4:30 p.m. on Friday).
Three of the 10 routes will have additional service every 30 minutes Tuesday through Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. (or until 2 p.m. on Friday) and on Monday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
In addition to those resort routes, the CTA will have intervenue routes for delegates to move with relative ease between the Las Vegas Convention Center, the Sands Expo and Convention Center and Aria. The link between the Las Vegas Convention Center and Sands will run every 10 minutes Monday from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Shuttle buses won’t be the only mass transit available. The Las Vegas Monorail is well positioned to move showgoers to and from the Las Vegas Convention Center. Monorail trains generally run every four to eight minutes, and fares are $5 one way. But the Las Vegas Monorail Co. offers discounts for two-, three-, four-, five- and seven-day passes purchased online.
For those who prefer to drive their own vehicles to the show, parking could be an issue: CES is so massive that every Las Vegas Convention Center parking lot is leased to the CTA for exhibits and displays presented outdoors or in temporary facilities.
A number of businesses in the vicinity of the convention center offer their parking spaces at various price points, generally ranging from $20 to $50 a day. With parking costs reaching the “Ouch!” stage for some CES attendees, many are looking at different strategies to get to events. Here are some of them:
■ Park at one of the resorts offering free shuttle rides to and from CES. That list includes 26 Strip, off-Strip and downtown resorts. The resorts may not be happy with your presence because it crowds out other customers, but most understand that CES is an unusual circumstance. Some are owned and operated by companies that charge for parking, but paying $18 for a day at Bellagio is much more tolerable than $50 near the convention center.
■ Park at a resort along the monorail route. Many of those resorts are owned by MGM Resorts International or Caesars Entertainment Corp., which charge $15 to $18 a day. Add $10 for a round trip on the monorail, and it’s still cheaper than parking near the convention center.
The Las Vegas Monorail Co. has no special tie-ins with CES this year, but customers can buy passes at discounts of more than 10 percent. A three-day pass, for example, sells for $25 online, offering plenty of rides at one cost.
■ Ride-hailing companies and taxis provide the advantage of point-to-point service without having to rent a car or park, and most of the pickup and drop-off points are convenient to convention center entrances. CES is partnering with Lyft, which is experimenting with self-driven vehicles through Aptiva in Las Vegas, for the 2020 show. Those using Lyft for the first time can get $20 in credits by using the code CESLV20 when downloading the app.
■ Some resorts are within walking distance of some CES venues, and some of those are designated as such by the CTA. Some properties know guests will pay a premium for the convenience of being within walking distance, so let the buyer beware. The CTA’s list of “walking distance” hotels — those without shuttle service — includes Westgate, Renaissance, Sahara, The Venetian and Palazzo.
The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson.