More cabs OK’d for SEMA auto parts show
With one of the city’s five biggest conventions of the year on the horizon, the Nevada Taxicab Authority didn’t want to take any chances on poor cab service. It voted Tuesday to allocate additional cabs for next week’s Specialty Equipment Marketing Association show.
Authority board members voted unanimously to allow three additional cabs over five shifts from Oct. 30 through Nov. 1, in essence allowing a maximum of 96 additional vehicles on the street in overlapping shifts during SEMA.
SEMA is a major automotive parts and equipment show expected to draw 130,000 people to the Las Vegas Convention Center and the Sands Exposition Center.
Even the unions, which traditionally vehemently oppose additional cab allocations, offered only token opposition to the plan, knowing the taxi industry took a black eye during SEMA last year when the wait for cabs reached two hours during peak periods.
“We don’t want to miss the boat on this one,” board member Dean Collins said before the vote.
Board members mulled adding no cabs, because there hasn’t been a special allocation for SEMA since 2008. The board, however, has authorized permanent weekend additions to cab fleets since last year’s show, and no one wanted to see a repeat performance of last year.
An additional element factored into the decision: One of the Las Vegas Convention Center’s parking lots will be used as a race course for an event that is part of this year’s SEMA show.
On Oct. 29 and 30, a Global RallyCross Championship race is scheduled in the parking lot on the northwest corner of Paradise Road and Convention Center Drive.
A representative of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority said show attendees would be allowed to park at the lot at the old Wet ‘n Wild water park and will be shuttled to the convention center.
In other business, the board received a report on a plan by the city to nearly double the number of spaces taxis can wait to pick up customers in downtown Las Vegas.
Assistant City Traffic Engineer Mike Janssen told the board that at the direction of Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman, the city has communicated with downtown property operators about using loading zone curb spaces as cab staging areas in the evening.
After completing an inventory of spaces downtown, Janssen said, the city will increase the number of spaces by 97 percent to 69 and mark those areas with new signs.
Most Strip resorts have special cab staging areas, but with parking hard to come by downtown, cab companies and casino operators occasionally have been frustrated by poor service.
Janssen said the city would next look at improving cab staging in the Fremont East area.