Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2023 | 2 a.m.
Allegiant Stadium is not in the most convenient location. It’s quite nice to look at, but getting 65,000 people in and out of the building just west of the Strip on Russell Road for every Raiders game is a chore.
The parking situation is what it is. The roads are packed before and after games. If you’re the type of person who doesn’t want to sit in that kind of traffic, there’s a supercheap alternative that allows you to bypass the gridlock.
The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada offers a slew of shuttles to and from Raiders games, servicing a handful of locations for the reasonable cost of $4 roundtrip. Dubbed the Gameday Express, the RTC buses begin departing three hours before kickoff, and return service starts 30 minutes after the game ends.
The shuttle offers rides from Red Rock, Santa Fe Station, Green Valley Ranch, Sam’s Town, Aliante and M Resort; I rode to the Raiders’ Aug. 13 preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers, leaving from Green Valley Ranch (the 606 line) to test the service.
Here’s how it went down:
11:13 a.m. — Arrive at Green Valley Ranch parking lot. Parking is free at GVR, and getting in and out proves to be easy on a Sunday morning.
11:16 a.m. — Arrive at the bus stop. After parking, it’s a short walk to the shuttle. And it’s easy to find — I just follow the throng of 49ers fans, which is a theme of the day.
11:17 a.m. — Ticket taken. My Las Vegas Sun ID gets me on for free, but a regular ride costs $2 each way. You can pay in cash or get a ticket in advance via the rideRTC app.
11:18 a.m. — Take a seat on the bus. The double-decker bus seats 72. I go up to the top level, where I sit across from Henderson-based diehards Roger and Jamie Harris. They are season-ticket holders since the team moved to Vegas and swear by the Gameday Express. “It’s wonderful,” Roger says. “Couldn’t be better.”
11:22 a.m. — Bus disembarks. We’re on our way! According to Jamie, I’m in for a good time. “It’s clean, it’s on time, everybody’s pleasant,” she says. “It’s a great way to get there and back and a great atmosphere — better on the way home when we win.”
11:54 a.m. — Arrive at Allegiant Stadium. Traffic gets a little congested as we approach Allegiant, but true to Jamie’s word, it is a pleasant experience all around. The bus stops at the southeast corner of the stadium, just outside Gate 11.
11:56 a.m. — Off the bus.
12:02 p.m. — Game ticket scanned. It’s a quick walk across the plaza to the stadium entrance. The line is short. My ticket is taken and I’m “Just in, baby.”
1 p.m. — Kickoff.
3:58 p.m. — Game ends.
4:12 p.m. — I step in line for the 606. Though the Raiders throttled the 49ers, 34-7, the visiting fans are still drowning out the silver-and-black contingent. A loud chant of “That’s your Super Bowl” rings while we wait to board.
4:14 p.m. — First shuttle departs. Service begins earlier than I thought (30 minutes after the game ends), and people are already queued up when I get there, so I just miss the cut. But I’m one of the first to board the next bus, which is already lined up waiting.
4:17 p.m. — Second shuttle begins boarding. Again, I ride for free; it’ll cost you $2 to get home.
4:21 p.m. — Bus leaves Allegiant Stadium. It’s loud and raucous, like a double-decker Black Hole on wheels. I’m too afraid to approach anyone for a quote.
4:41 p.m. — Arrive at Green Valley Ranch. I can see my car from the bus stop.
4:43 p.m. — I’m off the bus.
4:45 p.m. — I’m back in my car, heading home.
In addition to Raiders home games, the Gameday Express also operates from the same locations for Vegas Golden Knights games and UNLV football games.