Title

YOSEMITE REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION STRATEGY: CREATING A PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

2000

Subject Area

planning - history, land use - planning, policy - fares, mode - mass transit

Keywords

Yosemite National Park, Yosemite Area Regional Transportation Strategy, Transportation planning, Transit, Tourist trade, Tourism, Public transit, Public private partnerships, Political factors, Political aspects, National parks, Mass transit, Local transit, Level of service, History, Fares

Abstract

In 1992 the Yosemite Area Regional Transportation Strategy (YARTS) group began meeting to discuss access and transportation needs of visitors to the Yosemite region. The group included representatives of the five rural counties surrounding Yosemite National Park, the National Park Service, the state department of transportation, and eventually the U.S. Forest Service and other state and federal agencies. Urgency increased after the park instituted a program of gate closures to address congestion and parking problems within Yosemite Valley. Although the closures lasted only a matter of hours, the impact was felt for months to come as visitors changed their plans in the face of potential closures. Two years later, a flood permanently removed infrastructure within the park, including parking spaces and camping sites, making access from the surrounding communities even more critical. After 8 years of planning, YARTS has implemented the first regional transit service ever focused on the 4 million annual visitors to Yosemite. The 2-year demonstration service plan is not intended to replace automobile access to the park but rather to provide an alternative mode of access. The plan is creating a unique partnership between YARTS and private vendors who will provide the service and assume much of the start-up risk. The plan provides a working outline of the service, including anticipated service levels and fares. All of these plan highlights are discussed, along with a history of the YARTS organization, which describes the technical and political challenges to implementation.