Tourism agency in talks to buy, operate Las Vegas Monorail

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is considering purchasing the Las Vegas Monorail and running its operations, the authority's CEO said.

Authority President Steve Hill said Tuesday during a board of directors meeting that talks on taking over the monorail are in the early stages and could pick up in the next few weeks.

“We think that the monorail is an important transportation option when the destination is at full strength,” Hill said. “It moves nearly 5 million per year, and a lot of those people are attendees here at the (Las Vegas) Convention Center."

The elevated train runs a 4-mile (6-kilometer) route along the Las Vegas Strip, but operations have been suspended since March because of the coronavirus. The rail line is currently owned and operated by the private Las Vegas Monorail Company.

“Like many other businesses, the system closed March 18 due to the pandemic’s impacts and remains closed, and we are forced to deal with this economic reality,” the Las Vegas Monorail Company said in a statement. “As a result, we are exploring ways to be able to open the system at the appropriate time and aid in the recovery of the tourism economy, while ensuring the future viability of the system.”

The monorail does not use public funding for operations and is billed as the only privately owned public transportation system in the U.S., according to the company website.

There is no timeline for a deal and Hill declined to answer questions from the Las Vegas Sun about the ongoing talks after the Tuesday meeting.