Free Shuttle Buses Will Make It Easier To Visit The South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park

Free shuttle buses will offer Grand Canyon visitors a chance to leave their vehicles in Tusayan and catch a ride to the South Rim. NPS photo.

Negotiating the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park during the busy summer season can be a nightmare if you're trying to find a parking spot or crossing the road. With hopes of making it a bit easier this year, the National Park Service is offering a free shuttle service from Tusayan to the South Rim.

The buses will start rolling on Monday, June 2, and continue the service through September 1. From Tusayan, where parking is somewhat more available than on the South Rim, the buses will loop to the Canyon View Information Plaza on the South Rim.

This year's service will be used to gauge public support of the shuttles. Depending on its success, the NPS may also run the pilot shuttle bus program during the summer season of 2009.

“We are able to test this program, because of the support and generosity of our Tusayan neighbors,” says Grand Canyon Superintendent Steve Martin. “Several Tusayan businesses have offered to provide parking on their premises to support this project. Through their efforts Grand Canyon visitors will have greater options for visiting and enjoying the park this summer.”

The service will be provided daily from 8:00 a.m. through approximately 9:00 p.m. at 20 minute intervals. Designated shuttle bus stops in Tusayan will include: The National Geographic Visitor Center/IMAX Theater and RP’s Stage Stop (IMAX/RP’s), Best Western Grand Canyon Squire Inn (Squire Inn), Grand Canyon National Park Airport (Airport) and Canyon Flight Trading Company (Canyon Flight). Public parking will be available in the vicinity of each of the designated stops.

Those taking advantage of this voluntary service by parking in Tusayan and riding the shuttle bus into the park's south entrance will have expedited entry into the park and will be able to connect with the park’s free shuttle bus system at Canyon View. This shuttle service will be provided free of charge; however, visitors entering the park via shuttle bus will need to purchase their entrance pass in advance. Entrance passes can be purchased at most of the hotels in Tusayan, including Best Western Grand Canyon Squire Inn, the Grand, Grand Canyon Red Feather Lodge, and the Quality Inn. Entrance passes can also be purchased at IMAX, RP’s Stage Stop, Canyon Flight Trading Company and Grand Canyon National Park Airport Grand Canyon Airlines.

Entrance passes purchased at these locations are valid for private vehicle or shuttle bus entry for seven days and are accepted at any of the park's entrance stations. Those holding a valid America the Beautiful National Park and Federal Recreation Lands Pass or other valid pass will not need to purchase an additional entrance pass.

Informational signs regarding the pilot program and designated parking locations will be posted along highway 64 south of Tusayan, as well as at various locations in Tusayan.

The buses are easily identifiable and fueled with clean-burning compressed natural gas. The buses are all wheelchair accessible and are equipped with bike racks. For additional information regarding buses used in this program, please contact the park at 928-638-7888.

Comments

Excellent!! I am impressed that this idea came to a reality. Disney World had it right years ago, and the park systems are finally catching up. In Walt Disney World, once you arrive and park your car, there is absolutely no need to move it again until you are checking out. Finally, I will have that same advantage for the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Let's face it, parking is a NIGHTMARE on the South Rim, and I all for avoiding that stress especially if the alternative is free.

That's great and reminds me of the buses to Zion. No more fighting for a room in Grand Canyon itself 6 months in advance. However, is there going to be a special bus lane? The line waiting to get in can get pretty jammed during the summer. The only thing worse than waiting in a traffic jam would be waiting in a bus in a traffic jam.

How are they going to monitor the entrance pass? With a private car it takes one pass for everyone in the vehicle. With one free Golden Eagle (or whatever they call the senior pass) everyone in the car gets in. I suppose you just show the pass and tell the driver your group is all together on one pass.

Shuttle buses could be very convenient if they have sufficient buses for the crowds and if they have enough pick up and drop off points within the park. The shuttle bus system in Yosemite is very unpleasant because in the summer, the buses are way overcrowded.