The City of Mesquite played host to 1.2 million visitors in 2015, the strongest year for the area’s number one industry since 2008. A majority of the city’s population is over the age of 50 with many of them not wanting or able to drive long distances, especially through Las Vegas. There is no daily public transportation system between Mesquite and anywhere else, namely McCarren Airport.
It’s long been a sore point with Mesquite residents and tourists that to get a safe, reliable method of transportation between the city and the airport they have to go out to Beaver Dam, AZ or all the way to St. George, UT to catch the St. George Executive Shuttle that runs morning and night at a reasonable rate – right through Mesquite without stopping.
In the early 2000s there was a reliable, twice-daily bus shuttle between Mesquite and the airport that transported local residents and visitors alike. But that came to a screeching halt along about 2008. Some blamed the economy; some blamed the mayor and city government; some blamed a conspiracy; others blamed monopolies.
You can stop pointing the finger at the City of Mesquite and the economy. Neither are to blame.
To dispel rumors, City Liaison Officer Aaron Baker and Mesquite Mayor Al Litman assured the Mesquite Local News that any delays in getting shuttle service in Mesquite were not a result of anything the city has done or not done. “It’s completely out of our hands at the city level. It’s all done at the state level,” Baker said. “We have no control or say so over the issue.” Litman echoed those comments.
According to Zach Wade, Chief Financial Officer for St. George Executive Shuttle, the service provider has been trying for several years to win State of Nevada approval to make a stop in Mesquite. “We would have been here three years ago but we’ve been held up trying to get Nevada to approve our application. It seems to us that people at the Nevada Transportation Authority (NTA) and the Limousine Operators Authority (LOA) are making it hard for us to win the necessary approvals and licenses,” Wade told the Mesquite Local News.
“We’ve had a lot of people calling us and wanting us to set up a stopping point in Mesquite for the airport shuttle. There is certainly demand for our service in that area. I’ve talked to Mayor Litman and Aaron Baker and they’ve been behind us all the way,” Wade said. But that was an impossibility without in-state approval and licenses. That’s basically why the service was stopped in the mid-2000s.
After several calls to the NTA by Mesquite Local News last week, the dearth of an airport shuttle for Mesquite may be coming to an end.
James Allen Day, Administrative Attorney for the State of Nevada, Department of Business & Industry, Nevada Transportation Authority said in an March 7email to MLN “Thank you for the opportunity to provide information regarding the application of St. George Shuttle for authority to transport passengers within Nevada. This Application was filed with the Nevada Transportation Authority (“Authority”) on August 28, 2014. As of June 2015 the Authority Staff recommended that the Application be dismissed as “abandoned”—the Applicant had long been unresponsive to Authority Staff’s communications and requests for supporting documentation. The Applicant initially indicated an intent to withdraw the Application, but subsequently resumed communications. The Applicant ultimately provided substantial supporting documentation on November 2, 2015.”
Wade told the MLN that after taking over his position with the shuttle company in late 2015 he re-submitted the company’s application twice in three months. He says that was a follow-up to the numerous times his predecessor had submitted the application to the state. “Every time we submitted the paperwork, the State of Nevada would return it to us wanting something different or wanting more information. We just had it returned in February with the State asking us for more information. It just seems like they are trying their best to keep us out. I think it’s mostly because we’re not from Nevada and the competition doesn’t want us in the state.”
Day said in his email that “In recent months, the Applicant’s legal counsel R. Daren Barney has been handling communications with Authority Staff. Mr. Barney has been very responsive and diligent and has worked with the Authority Staff to move the application toward approval. Mr. Barney’s efforts include the filing of a substantively amended application on February 18, 2016. This development allowed the Authority Staff to recommend that no hearing be held in the matter. Accordingly, the Authority Staff intends to present the application to the full Authority with a recommendation for approval at the Authority’s next scheduled general session on March 24, 2016.”
Wade said “Our attorneys think that we might have approval in the next 30 to 40 days. But we’ve thought that before,” he said.
“The Authority is committed to promoting the availability of safe, efficient and affordable transportation options for Nevada residents and visitors. Consistent with this commitment, the Authority Staff has worked diligently to assist St. George Shuttle in obtaining Nevada operating authority,” Day said in conclusion to his email response.
Mesquite Local News will follow the Authority’s general session on March 24 and subsequent actions.