The Las Vegas monorail initially ran between two MGM Casino properties and featured the old Mark IV cars from Disney World. About six years ago they decided to expand the line to include more hotels and build a bunch of new cars. However, they stopped short of making it useful. The stations were generally located way in the back of the casinos, the monorail doesn’t run to downtown or to the airport (to appease the taxi cab owners). So basically, unless you’re heading to one of the casinos on the line, there is no reason to take the monorail. Also it’s very expensive for the distance covered. So it’s no surprise to me that it is now having trouble meeting its debt obligations.
What does this mean for the future of monorail transportation? It means you better have a good idea of where your ridership is going to come from before you pick your route and get your investments lined up. It also means that if someone could find out how to reduce the cost per pylon for monorail tracks, the technology would suddenly become a lot more realistic. That doesn’t mean other monorail projects aren’t ongoing. Check out the Monorail Society for news of other monorail projects.