It’s pretty easy to avoid getting longhauled from McCarron airport. (Just tell your driver ‘shortest distance’ – and to really emphasize it, “DON’T take the tunnel.”) But I was asked the other day:
“How do you keep from getting longhauled on the Vegas strip?”
It’s basically all about incentives. I’m incented to get there in the shortest time, with the least amount of cash. The cabbie is incented 1st & foremost to get the best tip, but not knowing that, to secure the largest fare possible.
SOLUTION: THE SLIDING TIP
So it’s simple: Incent the cabbie with a sliding tip before you start moving. This is what I say:
“I’ve got $10 for this fare. Anything left over is the tip, got it?”
You’re not only letting your cabbie know that you’ll tip him/her, but that their tip is directly proportional to how much the cab fare is. Bigger fare? Less tip. Simple as that.
With this incentive, I assure you that this will be the fastest, shortest, & possibly wildest cab ride you’ll take in Las Vegas. You’ll be beating lights, cutting through parking lots, taking shortcuts through dark alleyways you didn’t know existed. In many cases, you’ll find that the meter “suddenly & curiously” gets shut off as you’re driving into the destination property.
Now, the trick to this is preparation. You need to know what is a REASONABLE estimate to throw at the cabbie.
PREDICTING A REASONABLE FARE
This is the guide I go by from Mandalay Bay & a pointer to the map I use to make estimates from. Some of these are a little liberal but this is to take into consideration traffic during conventions & such.
- Mandalay Bay
- $8 to Luxor, Excalibur, Trop, Hooters
- $10 to Monte Carlo, New York, MGM Grand, Aria, Vdara, Mandarin
- $12 to Cosmopolitan, Bellagio, Planet Hollywood, Paris, Bally’s
- $15 to Caesar’s, Mirage, Venetian/Palazzo, TI, Imperial Palace, Harrah’s, Casino Royale, Wynn/Encore, Fashion Show Mall, Rio
- $18 to LVCC, Riviera, Circus Circus, Stratosphere, Palms
- $18 to McCarron International Airport
- $30 to Downtown anywhere
Note that the cabbie will probably take Frank Sinatra Drive for properties on the westside of the strip or Koval Dr for properties on the eastside of the strip. This is normal.
A BETTER ALTERNATIVE: A TRUSTED CABBIE
I’ve assumed that you aren’t going to call a cabbie that you have a personal relationship with. I actually do have a good relationship with two cabbies whom I “incent” well and they’ll be at my hotel doorstep in 15 min if I call. This overrides these rules above & you usually don’t have to go through this if you have a trusted driver that you know’s not going to longhaul you. I recommend everyone get the phone number of a cabbie that they like & start calling them directly for rides. Why?
- LINE CUTTING: Cabbies that are called don’t have to wait in the cab line at hotels. This allows them to cut the line at your hotel, thus making fares faster. Additionally, you don’t have to wait in the cab line either since the cab is specifically for you.
- CONSISTENT TIPS: Cabbies want tips. (Or “tickets”) If you tip, they’ll prefer a sure thing over someone that might stiff them. Plain and simple.
- GOOD FARES: Cabbies want decent fares. Don’t call a cab if the fare is $4.50. Example: Wynn-to-Mirage * Venetian-to-Caesar’s are not decent fares. Remember that the cabbie waited probably 15-30 min in a line of taxis for you to load up. The only time you pull this is if you have a girl with heels on. And then you ought to compensate with a good tip.