When tens of thousands of visitors arrive in Las Vegas for June’s Electric Daisy Carnival, the taxi industry should be ready.
The Nevada Taxicab Authority on Tuesday authorized each of Clark County’s 16 cab companies to add 10 extra vehicles in staggered shifts June 8-10. In a unanimous vote free of controversy, board members added cabs that also should accommodate fans attending the June 9 Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley boxing match at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
The Taxicab Authority staff, representatives of the 16 companies and one of two unions agreed to the need for additional cabs to serve the estimated 100,000 people expected to attend the event at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway each of the three nights. The only question that remained was how many cabs would be allocated and at what time they would be allowed to operate.
Only the Industrial Technical Professional Union recommended against any allocation, arguing that a permanent addition of cabs last August was enough to accommodate people attending the music and cultural festival coming to Las Vegas for a second year after an event that most deemed a major success in 2011.
In a rare split among unions representing cab drivers, representatives of the United Steelworkers concurred with the allocation.
The board voted for overlapping allocations, with each company allowed five cabs for any 12-hour span between noon and 2 a.m., and five for any 12 hours between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m. Under those parameters, each cab company would be allowed to have as many as 10 extra vehicles on the street during the busiest times of the festival, which will run between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.
Recent allocation votes have included heated exchanges between drivers and company owners. Generally, drivers oppose allocations because it means more people are splitting fares generated.
Will Hanzel, operations coordinator for the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, said the Electric Daisy Carnival crowd comes and goes like a Las Vegas nightclub crowd and that several attendees will arrive at the speedway for specific entertainer performances. To coordinate ingress and egress at the track, Hanzel said traffic will flow into the area from Interstate 15 and Las Vegas Boulevard, but after 2 a.m., I-15 would be the main route in and Las Vegas Boulevard would be the way out.
Insomniac Events, the sponsor of the Electric Daisy Carnival, is selling tickets online for $275 for a three-day pass and $500 for a three-day VIP pass. Single-day tickets aren’t available on the website. The site also offers a three-day shuttle pass for $70.
Hanzel said sales would be capped at 115,000 a day and organizers are anticipating 100,000 to be sold, which would make the event larger than the NASCAR race the speedway hosts every year. Last year, attendance ranged from 75,000 to 85,000 a night.
Cab drivers say the trip from the city to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway ranges from $50 to $60 one way, depending on the distance of the point or origin.
While some board members were concerned that extra cabs approved wouldn’t be used to transport people attending the carnival, company owners said they would encourage drivers to do that. Some pointed out that several attending the event follow their favorite entertainers to hotel venues and don’t spend all their time at the speedway.
And, there’s also the need for more cabs for the Pacquiao-Bradley fight.
“The people who go there (to the Electric Daisy Carnival) are the same ones who go to nightclubs,” said Desert Cab owner George Balaban. “I’m as concerned about what goes on on the Strip as I am about what happens at this show.”
A-Cab owner Jay Nady said the three days of last year’s Electric Daisy Carnival were the most successful three days of his company’s history.