(March 18, 2019) – Following issuance of a special use permit to the Regional Partnering Center (RPC) to operate a shuttle service in the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area, RPC started the transitional shuttle service on March 18.
Although the transitional service will be fully operational, implementation will continue during upcoming months as new features and services are incorporated, culminating in delivery of the new, modern electric shuttle system.
Beginning March 18, the transitional, gasoline-powered shuttles will run on two routes as follows:
For the Upper Sabino Canyon route, shuttles will leave on the half hour every thirty minutes beginning at 9:00 a.m. The last shuttle will leave at 4:00 p.m. Shuttle vehicles will carry up to 21 passengers each. Ticket prices are $10.00 for adults, $5.00 for children aged 3 to 12, and free for children under 3.
For the Bear Canyon route, shuttles will leave on the quarter hour every 30 minutes beginning at 9:15 a.m., with the last shuttle leaving at 4:15 p.m. Shuttle vehicles will carry up to 21 passengers each. Ticket prices are $6.00 for adults, $4.00 for children aged 3 to 12, and free for children under 3.
There will be only 3 vehicles for the first few days of shuttle service on the Upper Sabino Canyon route, due to a windshield being replaced on the fourth vehicle.
Tickets may be purchased with credit cards at the shuttle ticket booth or with cash in the Sabino Canyon Visitor Center.
The transitional service, which will be fully compliant with the Coronado National Forest’s vehicle design requirements, will feature 21-passenger, gasoline-powered shuttles that will remain in operation until a full fleet of electric shuttles can be manufactured, delivered, and put into service on the Sabino Canyon route. Due to water level concerns, gasoline-powered vehicles will primarily service Bear Canyon, with electric shuttles being used as feasible on that route.
RPC has ordered the electric shuttles from Trams International, with Tucson Electric Power helping to finance RPC’s purchase of the new vehicles (As they need recharging; right?). The zero-emission (Not really.... electricity and battery manufacturing emits tons of emissions) electric shuttles, expected later this year, will carry passengers safely, quietly, and efficiently through Sabino Canyon, which attracts approximately one million visitors annually. The 62-passenger electric shuttles will be equipped with an audio narration and interpretive system available in English and Spanish and accessed through the use of audio jacks and headsets. For shuttle operations, RPC has entered into a partnership with Total Transit Enterprises (Total Ride), which operates the Regional Transportation Authority’s Sun Shuttle.