The day of an RTC bus starts long before hitting the road. Prior to leaving the yard to start service, there is a strict inspection process in place to ensure the safety and functionality of our more than 400 fixed-route residential and Strip service buses, 286 of these buses using compressed natural gas (CNG). At the yard, the driver logs into the onboard system that connects the bus and driver to a server to recognize who they are, and what route they should be on. The driver then conducts a pre-trip inspection to check for potential safety issues and bus cleanliness. Inside the bus, each driver checks the fare box, cameras, and mobile ticket validator to make sure they are operating properly. If all checks out, the bus departs the yard and heads to the route’s starting point.
The bus normally displays an “Out of Service” message on the header when en route to the starting point or returning to the yard at the end of the driver’s shift. When the bus gets to the starting point, the system automatically recognizes the route information and displays the info to ‘waiting’. The driver stays in contact with the bus operation center throughout the day, keeping them updated on road conditions, traffic movements and customer concerns among other issues. Drivers interact with a multitude of different people on a daily basis ranging from Las Vegas residents going to work or school, to tourists here on vacation.
At the end of the shift, the bus driver either takes the bus back to the yard or is relieved by another driver to continue the route or take the bus to begin service on a different route.
When the bus gets back to the yard at end of the day, the bus is refueled, gets cleaned for about 10 minutes and parked in a designated location ready for the next day service. In addition to the approximately 400 fixed route vehicles, there are also 333 paratransit vehicles.
Fun fact: 40 foot buses take 184 gallons of CNG and 60 foot buses take 210 gallons! Generally, public transit buses are retired when they reach 12 years or accumulate 500,000 miles, whichever comes first.
The RTC contracts the fixed route service to two contractors, MV and Keolis and together, they employ approximately 1,200 highly trained drivers whose responsibility is to courteously and safely get passengers where they need to go.