MERCED – The Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS) Board of Directors has lifted restrictions on the capacity of its buses traveling to and from Yosemite National Park. The action occurred at a special meeting of the Board on June 14, 2021, and went into effect on June 15, 2021, when the State of California lifted all social distancing requirements. The buses had been limited to approximately half of their capacity since the inception of the COVID-19 pandemic in order to allow for passengers to distance from each other as well as the driver. The action taken this week allows the service to resume full capacity of up to 49 passengers on each YARTS bus traveling into and out of Yosemite National Park.
The YARTS service runs coach buses to Yosemite National Park from the six surrounding counties of Merced, Mariposa, Mono, Tuolumne, Madera, and Fresno along highways 140, 395, 120 and 41, respectively. Full summer service schedules are currently in effect.
“We are pleased to be offer additional accommodations to travelers into Yosemite National Park during peak travel season,” said Christine Chavez, Transit Manager. “YARTS will be able to more effectively achieve its mission of reducing private vehicles into the Park by welcoming more folks on board our buses.”
Although capacity limits have been lifted, other protocols prompted by the pandemic remain in place, such as the wearing of face masks while riding YARTS. These regulations are required for public transportation systems by the Federal Transit Administration and are expected to remain in place until September. Reservations to ride YARTS are available as are walk-on tickets on a first come first serve basis. Passengers do not need a day-use pass issued by the National Park Service to ride YARTS into the Park.
For more information about YARTS schedules, fares, routes, COVID-19 safety measures, to reserve tickets, or apply for free passes for Merced or Mariposa residents, please visit www.yarts.com or call (877) 989-2787.
YARTS is a California Joint Powers Authority comprised of Merced, Mariposa, Tuolumne, and Mono Counties in partnership with Fresno Council of Governments, Caltrans, Federal Highway Administration, National Park Service, and the United States Forest Service. The Merced County Association of Governments provides administrative services and operational support for YARTS.