A new bus route from Fresno to Yosemite National Park was celebrated Wednesday morning with a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Fresno Amtrak train station.
A two-year pilot program for the Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS) service along Highway 41 begins Saturday. The new route means there is now a YARTS bus line that runs through each of the park’s gateway communities, including those along Highway 120 — both east and west — and Highway 140.
YARTS officials said a round-trip ticket from Fresno to Yosemite will typically be around $30. Information about pickup location and bus schedules is available on the YARTS website.
A number of community leaders and elected officials attended Wednesday’s ceremony that was organized by Fresno Council of Governments. Among those in attendance were representatives from the offices of U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Rep. Devin Nunes, state Sen. Andy Vidak, Assembly Member Henry T. Perea, Assembly Member Jim Patterson, Rep. Jim Costa, Sen. Tom Berryhill and Fresno Council Member Esmeralda Soria. City of San Joaquin Mayor Amarpreet Dhaliwal, policy board chair of Fresno Council of Governments, served as a master of ceremonies.
Following the ribbon cutting, 30 people boarded a YARTS bus to attend a kick-off luncheon in Oakhurst at the River Creek Golf Course in Ahwahnee. On the way to that ribbon cutting, the bus stopped to drop off some people at the Coarsegold Historic Village, where Coarsegold residents insisted on another surprise ribbon cutting.
The opening of the new bus route also coincides with the 125th anniversary of Yosemite National Park.
Brenda Veenendaal, spokeswoman for Fresno Council of Government, said in a news release that Fresno COG, YARTS and the National Park Service, with support from community leaders, “have created a transportation choice that provides the region and the world with safe, reliable and comfortable access to this jewel in the crown of the American wilderness, while reducing the impact of single occupancy vehicles upon Yosemite’s natural beauty and the region’s air quality.”