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Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Logistics of River Taxis


This weekend I traveled to Laughlin Nevada for the Laughlin River Run.  It is one of the oldest biker rallies in the country and I was there to cover the event and some of the concerts for a different site.

IMG_2010I was struck however by the efficiency of the water taxi service offered by the casinos.  Casinos of course have every motivation to insure that their guests are getting to and fro as fast and efficiently as possible.  If people have to walk to far or ride to slow in a car that means they have less time to potentially drop money on the tables or in the slot machines.  Time is money for almost all organizations from contractors to fast food to insurance agents trying to write up an life insurance quote.  Casinos definitely internalize this perspective possibly better than anyone outside of Wal-Mart.

The challenge in Laughlin is that the population explodes for this event over a 4 day period and traffic can slow to a crawl on the strip.  That's not good for business.  One of the primary bottle necks is the bridge that crosses the Colorado River giving people access to Laughlin. 

It also happens to be the primary route used by truck drivers detoured away from the Hoover Damn since 911.

For the potential gamblers, and casino employees the Riverside Hotel and Casino offers a river taxi system (for free).  Its a collection of pontoon boats with seating for about 15-20 people that goes back and forth from a parking lot on one side of the river to the Casino doors on the other.

The boats are timed to pick people up immediately after the previous boat leaves, getting people to the Casino as efficiently and quickly as possible and decreasing the strain on the bridge for those that don't have the option of taking the boat and everyone in general.