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A Navya Arma autonomous electric shuttle on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas. Photo: Jason Ogulnik/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Last November, Las Vegas launched an autonomous bus route along a tourist-heavy stretch of Fremont Street, sponsored by AAA and using a Navya AV operated by Keolis Transit.

Why it matters: Cities across America are beginning to test driverless buses — including pilots in Austin and Detroit — but Las Vegas was the first to deploy them on public streets in mixed traffic, and its program is now the largest AV bus pilot in the U.S. Other than a first day snafu, when another truck ran into the AV, the service has run safely and without incident.

The details: The AV shuttle is a free service for Las Vegas visitors and residents that provides transit between the Downtown Container Park and the Fremont Street Experience. Passengers traverse eight city intersections, six traffic lights, and two stop signs — all without a driver, though the bus does host an onboard "attendant" who acts as an ambassador, educating riders on how the AV technology works.

Since launch, the service has transported more than 35,000 passengers, helping to test the acceptance of AVs in public transit. Early signs are positive: It has earned a passenger rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars for its driving, according to Francis Julien at Keolis Transit.

What to watch: The next step in the evolution of the service is to ensure infrastructure can support the evolving operational capabilities of the AVespecially as service expands to more and longer routes — and to make the bus more accessible to people with disabilities.

Paul Comfort is vice president of business development at Trapeze Group and the former CEO of the Maryland Transit Administration in Baltimore.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
5 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Democrats' billionaires tax explained

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

There is now legislative language behind the push to tax American billionaires on unrealized capital gains, as Sen. Ron Wyden last night released his 107-page plan.

Why it matters: This would be a sea change in U.S. tax policy, which has only applied to realized gains (otherwise known as income).

51 mins ago - World

Scoop: Blinken protests Israel settlements approval in "tense" phone call

Benny Gantz (L) and Tony Blinken. Photo: Jacquelyn Martin/Pool/AFP via Getty

Secretary of State Tony Blinken protested the decision to approve 3,000 new housing units in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank during a tense phone call on Tuesday with Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, three Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: This is the first time new construction in the settlements has been approved since President Biden assumed office, and the Biden administration had been privately pressing the Israeli government not to proceed.

The startup that wants to disrupt big internet providers

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

A new startup backed by funding from AOL founder Steve Case and Laurene Powell Jobs wants to break up broadband monopolies across the country.

Why it matters: Internet access has been crucial during the pandemic, but it's not ubiquitous, and it can be both slow and unaffordable in swaths of the country.