The Boring Co.’s Convention Center Loop has been in operation for five months and has gone from an idea that many doubted as an efficient mode of transportation to a reality that is catching on with convention attendees.
The underground system relies on Tesla model vehicles to transport conventiongoers between three stations at the recently expanded Las Vegas Convention Center. The vehicles each seat a maximum of four people and the system’s goal is to transport 4,400 people per hour.
However, technology news media website TechCrunch reviewed trip reports from the first six weeks of operation and discovered the highest hourly passenger rate hit thus far is 1,355 passengers per hour. During that month and a half, the underground system provided over 30,000 rides and ferried 75,000 passengers.
TechCrunch also found the average trip on the 0.8-mile track took about four minutes, twice as long as the two-minute goal noted several times in recent years by Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority President and CEO Steve Hill.
But LVCVA spokeswoman Lori Nelson-Kraft said TechCrunch didn’t factor in one important aspect.
“The ride itself does in fact take two minutes,” Nelson-Kraft said. “What wasn’t taken into account are other factors of the Loop experience, like passengers load in and load out time. As another example, because it is a new attraction here in Vegas at the convention center, we’re getting a sightseeing aspect of the new attraction. So the time that is attached to it includes factors like that.”
Nelson-Kraft said LVCVA officials are pleased that conventiongoers are excited about the Loop and are treating it like an attraction and hope that continues, even if it adds to the overall ride time.
She also said the LVCVA carried out a stress test in the summer and met the 4,440 ride per hour capacity.
Bottom line, Nelson-Kraft said, the system has been adequately meeting the demand seen thus far.
The LVCVA has been surveying show attendees and the loop is proving to be the most popular part of the convention center experience.
“We’re thrilled about people wanting to check it out,” Nelson-Kraft said. “What we’ve said publicly is the ride itself will take two minutes and the ride itself has done that. Our goal moving forward and more important to us isn’t to keep proving capacity levels, but to focus now on the customer experience… The loop experience from a convenience and an entertainment standpoint has ranked as their most favorite part of the convention center experience. We consider that a really big win.”
Hill told the Review-Journal in 2019 that if the 4,400 threshold could not be met, Boring could be paid back the $52.5 million it paid to construct the system. Nelson-Kraft said that is not in play since the system can meet the threshold.
The initial performance data comes weeks after Clark County approved the design and franchise agreement for the proposed Vegas Loop, an extended underground system that will run from downtown Las Vegas, through the Resort Corridor and to UNLV. Plans call for 51 stations, including stops at Allegiant Stadium and a few off-Strip properties.
Boring President Steve Davis said at an October Clark County Commission meeting that hourly capacity on that system would be 57,000 passengers.
“There aren’t traffic lights, there are no stop signs, there are no stations you have to stop at along the way,” Davis said of the point-to-point system.
Hill said he hoped work on the Vegas Loop could begin within the next year, noting it would likely open in phases.
Nelson-Kraft said she expects the subterranean shuttle to become a vital part of the transportation system in the resort corridor and to be able to meet the maximum capacity when needed.
“It’s going to be operational demand at any one time,” Nelson-Kraft said. “When there is a UFC fight on one corner, a concert at another and a hockey game going on at once, that guests are coming and going at the same time, that’s a situation where you’re looking at a lot of people at one given time.”