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Tusayan, Park Service iron out plans for annual shuttle route | Williams-Grand Canyon News

Tusayan, Arizona — Tusayan town leaders and members of the Grand Canyon National Park Transportation Division met on May 2 to discuss an annual shuttle service from town to the park during peak season.

This year, the shuttle will begin service on May 27th and end service on September 8th. Buses are scheduled to run every 20 minutes, with the first bus leaving IMAX at 8:25am. The last shuttle departs from Grand at 9:30 PM. 9:45 PM from Canyon Visitor Center in the Park and Big E Steakhouse in Tusayan.

An additional shuttle route (purple route) operates to reduce traffic congestion within the park. Visitors can often find more accessible parking at Tusayan’s park-and-ride lot, and a free shuttle system allows them to travel around the park without a car. It also helps local residents who may live or work within one community or within another.

All visitors using the shuttle must present a park pass or receipt of payment for admission. Grand Canyon Recreation Branch Chief Raukishataly said visitors are making good use of the Grand Canyon Plaza Hotel, Imax, West Wind Air he service, and the automated fare calculator located at Red Feather Lodge.

“Automated checkout machines are used frequently,” she said. “They bring in a lot of income.”

But Sharon Kang, general manager of the Grand Canyon division of Paul Revere Transportation, said a new problem had surfaced. ) said it was leaving buses full of tourists in Tusayan.

“Anyone riding the bus must show a park pass or a receipt showing that they have paid,” Kang said. “However, tour operators have told us they can drop people off in Tusayan without a pass and board a shuttle to enter the park.”

Cann said tour bus operators likely simply don’t want to wait in line at the entrance gate. However, visitors are often confused about when and where the bus stops and do not have physical passes or receipts.

“Some people just glanced at this piece of paper from the tour company, but they don’t know what it is,” Kang said.

Tusayan Mayor Clarinda Vail agreed that this was not the service’s intention, and suggested that the town work with the park to identify tour companies that leave guests looking for bus stops.

Extended service

In the past Tusayan has funded the park to extend service for an additional four months, starting in March to cover the spring break rush and ending in October. It was successful, but many problems prevent the program from continuing.

This is something Vail wants to change, and he said the council makes funding the venture a priority each year because it will be so helpful to local residents and business owners.

“We want to start talking about the possibility of extending shuttle hours next year,” Vail told the group.

Since the extra months don’t apply during the peak season from Memorial Day to Labor Day, Vail questioned whether the service could operate less frequently when passenger numbers drop. Transportation planners for NPS said the park should analyze shuttle usage out of town to determine if there are ways to make the service available during certain time slots when passenger numbers are high. .

But Cann focuses on more pressing issues. She has trouble finding drivers for the regularly scheduled park routes. If things continue like this, it will be very difficult to find enough drivers to add root.

“It’s hard to find drivers already for the summer,” she said. “We lost two drivers today alone.”

One reason is that not only people with a commercial driver’s license can show up and drive a passenger bus. Cann said all drivers must have passenger approval, which is becoming increasingly difficult to find.

The extended service will not run this year, but Grand Canyon and Tusayan officials plan to meet again in the future to explore a solution.

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