LAS VEGAS — Walk outside any hotel in Vegas this week, and it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll see a long line of out-of-towners waiting for a taxi. That’s because more than 150,000 people are in town for the big Consumer Electronics Show.
Ironically, as the newest technology is shown off around town, one of the nation’s fastest-growing tech companies — Uber — was banned from Nevada in November after the state told the on-demand transit service to leave due to legal issues.
Amazing part of CES is all these new tech cos pitching to people who wait in endless lines for taxis, cuz Vegas outlawed the tech solution
— Dan Primack (@danprimack) January 8, 2015
Biggest trend at #CES no uber and no cabs with all these talks of smart things – infrastructure is stupid
— Jared Fink (@JaredFink) January 7, 2015
CES proves time and time again why uber is needed in Vegas
— chetansharma (@chetansharma) January 7, 2015
However, as some have noted on Twitter, having Uber this week in Las Vegas during CES may not be all that great of a solution.
@danprimack Lines wont be significantly shorter with Uber and I can imagine the chaos of Uber cars trying to get to hotels or LVCC
— Angel Jimenez (@angeljimenez) January 8, 2015
Uber decided that this week would be a good time to ask frustrated CES attendees to sign a petition “to make sure that Uber will be in Nevada for the long term.”
— Uber Nevada (@Uber_NV) January 5, 2015
Earlier this week, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick tweeted out an “Ultimate Guide to Hacking CES” that he penned in 2008. Funny enough, Kalanick complained about how slow the taxi service was in the guide — this was a year before he founded Uber in 2009. From the post:
— The average taxi wait line is 20-30 minutes –yes, that’s just the wait time for getting the taxi—Worst case can be an HOUR PLUS.
— If you only take the taxi once a day, maybe this would be tolerable. . . but you’ll be taking up to 8 taxi rides a day ($100/day)—lots of travel between meetings, between convention center and strip, and especially the party circuit.
— The aggravation of waiting for taxis during CES will take years off your lifespan, and cost you thousands of dollars in anger-management therapy.
Kalanick instead recommended CES-goers to rent a car for the week. From the post:
— $20/day (huge savings over taxi costs)
— No taxi lines (massive time savings over taxi line)
— FREEDOM! Go where you want when you need to. . .huge advantage for getting more done while your competitors are restricting their movement due to taxi constipation
— I still don’t understand why more people don’t do this. . . and why this is a novel idea for bus. travel to vegas . . but it is
— Literally park 1 foot away from your Econolodge room.
I tweeted about the taxi lines earlier this week. Kalanick caught wind of it, and tweeted a link to a news story about taxi industry supporters dressing up in ski masks and hounding Uber drivers in response.