If you’re like many visitors to Las Vegas, your mode of transportation will be a taxi. Like everything else in the city, however, the rules for cabs are a bit different than they are in the rest of the world. Here are a few hints to help you navigate the waters and protect your wallet.
Helpful Hint: Not all cabs take credit cards. If you need one that does, ask ahead of time.
Your taxi journey will most likely begin at McCarran Airport (LAS). There’s something you want to do before you even get in the cab: check out the line. The LAS cab team is one of the most efficient in the business but, if you’re arriving at a busy time, there could still be up to an hour wait.
Helpful Hint: Find a porter by the baggage claim. There will be plenty of them. I don’t care if you have one small backpack. Ask them to carry it for you. The porters will take you to the front of the cab line. Tip $10. He knows the game.
Alternative: Use Uber. Figuring out where to meet can be a pain, but you’ll save that cab line. Uber doesn’t officially start at LAS until the end of October, but it looks like they’ll break a few rules until then.
Avoid “long-hauling.” The driver may suggest taking the freeway (or may just do so on their own). Unless you are staying downtown, at the Rio/Palms/one of the other West Flamingo hotels or the very north end of the strip, the freeway will extend your journey by several miles and add $10+ to the fare. For the vast majority of strip hotels, the driver should be taking Paradise, Swenson or one of the other local roads. If the driver doesn’t ask and takes the freeway anyway, tell them you will call the taxi commission, or let the bellman at your hotel help out. They can always tell you which way the cab should have gone. If you were long-hauled, you should not be charged.
Helpful Hint: There are signs at the airport telling you approximately how much your ride should be.
- You cannot hail a taxi on the street. You must do it from a hotel. Don’t bother standing at the entrance and trying.
- If you ask the cab driver (or bellman at the hotel, for that matter) for a bar, club, etc., be prepared to go to their favorite, which is anyone giving them a kickback.
- Tipping is standard. Tip what you would tip elsewhere for a taxi.
The Bottom Line
Las Vegas cab drivers are generally friendly and talkative, but competition is fierce and many companies are putting pressure on their drivers to run up the fares. Be aware of how much your ride should cost and you should be off to a great vacation!