REVENUE SERVICE on the fully-automated Las Vegas Monorail began at 08.00 on July 15, after a formal opening the previous day and a night of partying at the seven stations.

The 6·4 km line serves the hotels and casinos on the east side of the famed Strip from the Sahara to the MGM Grand. It is worked by a fleet of nine trains, of which seven are needed in traffic. Each train has a crush-load capacity of about 225 people.

The official first train on the morning of June 14 carried Nevada Governor Kenny Guinn and other elected officials, together with LVM executives and prime contractors Bombardier Transportation and Granite Construction. More than 1000 invited guests were able to sample the system following the evening reception beneath the Las Vegas Hilton station.

Operating company Transit Systems Management reported over 30500 passenger journeys on the first day of revenue service. Chairman & CEO Jim Gibson said ’the comments we’re hearing from the public have been overwhelmingly positive.’ The privately-financed, $650m project needs to carry 19 million passengers a year to break even. Additional revenue will come from advertising, and from sponsorship of trains and stations.