Well into race weekend here in Vegas and I started my week on the big race day. They reported about 150,000 people in town for this race, but you wouldn’t know it from the way the cab lines looked.
The Taxi Authority puts out more cabs when we have big events in town. Over the last few years they’ve put less cabs out for these events due to already having too many permanent cabs on the road. But with the last few events, a couple of the bigger companies have fought for more “convention cabs”. Last year’s race I think each company put out 8 extra cabs. This year they are putting out a total of 15. That’s over one hundred cabs put out in a town that already has too many cabs on the road.
I was looking forward to this weekend. I took a 7am-7pm shift instead of my normal early shift so I would be on the road during the main rushes on both ends of the race. I get to work and the taxi lines are over flowing onto the streets. I’m not too worried yet, it’s early. I got a few rides but noticed the lines are still there. They are about half as long but still there. It’s now coming up to the 10 o’clock hour and on Sunday’s that’s primetime. Everyone is checking out and we have a good two hours of non-stop rides. Soon after, the airport picks up with incoming flights and the day never really stops. If you wait for a ride anywhere you normally only wait about 5 mins but we are waiting upwards of 30 mins.
I don’t let this get to me. I find a few good fares and despite not getting a single ride to the track I know I can always get a few back from the race. As the end of the race comes near I start my way toward the track. About 15 mins from the track I hear the race ended and people are lining up. I’m thinking this is going to be good. I’m here toward the beginning of the end so I should get at least 2 trips from here and if I push it, I may get more.
I pull up to gate 5, which is where we have to pick up from, and I’m only 30 cabs back. We are stopped by Highway Patrol while they let busses out. One after another comes out then they stop them. Now they are letting the busses facing us start to turn left on to the base. Good, now they should let us turn left into the racetrack. About 10 mins go by and the track is yelling for cabs saying they don’t have any. Meanwhile the line of 30 cabs has now grown to about 200 and we are still waiting. NHP (Nevada Highway Patrol) then stops the busses turning on the base and start to let the other busses go again. We are now going on about 25 mins and I see the NHP officers laughing at us. Finally about 30 minutes after I show up and the fans have been waiting for well over 30 minutes, we finally get let in. The group I got was pissed and after hearing what happened they gave the NHP Officer directing traffic a ration of shit on the way out. This small event messed up the flow for the rest of the evening and cost me about $80.
Now that I’ve got that off my chest, I’ll take a deep breath and move on. Ok almost (my wife always says I can’t leave well enough alone) why did NHP take over traffic control from Metro Police? Metro has a whole division that does nothing but traffic control. They do all the big events in town, why not this one this year?
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