High fares and long walks to stations have combined to hold down ridership. An extension to the airport is pushed.
By Kimi Yoshino
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
September 14, 2007
LAS VEGAS - -- Can the Las Vegas Monorail double down to avoid going bust?
Three years after beginning operations, the four-mile, $650-million private rail line that stretches from behind the MGM Grand to the Sahara hotel-casino is attracting about 22,285 riders a day -- far below the 54,000 predicted when the project was launched. This summer, Fitch Ratings downgraded the monorail's bond rating, already in junk status, and said financial default appeared probable.
"Things are continuing to deteriorate," said Chad Lewis, an associate director at Fitch Ratings. "Right now, they're running about 50% of the [ridership] forecast, so clearly a significant increase in revenues is needed."
But Monorail officials say what they need to boost ridership and generate profit is a $500-million extension to McCarran International Airport.