Muir Woods Route 66 Shuttle Scores Big
Under way just seven weeks ago, the County's new, free, shuttle service up into the popular national park, shows signs of wide acceptance by both locals and out-of-town tourists.
"We are quite satisfied and just a little bit surprised at how quickly it has taken off, " exclaimed county third-district supervisor Charles McGlashen, sponsor of the County's effort to meet the famous Park's heavy visitor traffic, without adding more parking lots. "Eliminating the volume of cars parked inside and outside the park will help preserve this national treasure for posterity, and allow all visitors to have a far more pleasant experience there."
Operating from 9:30 am until 7:00 p.m. on weekends and holidays, when traffic is at its greatest, the shuttle is a Marin County planning demonstration study project for the period May 28 until September 5, designed to answer the question of whether this strategy will effectively and economically serve both the public and the ecology of the Park. The shuttle bus service is provided through a federal grant secured by Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey.
"This is a great example of the citizens, their local government and the federal government working together to find solutions where everyone wins," added county supervisor Steve Kinsey, spokesman for the county's efforts to update its entire transportation system. "Everyone has cooperated in developing this service and in funding it." "Everywhere we go to spread the word and suggest ways of routing tourists onto the shuttle, we are greeted with enthusiasm," added McGlashen. "Hotels, travel agents, visitor centers - everyone wants to take advantage of it."
Starting on a holiday weekend, even before it was well publicized, large numbers of both local and foreign visitors met the 27-passenger shuttle at its start point, the Marin City bus pad, for the twenty minute trip into the mountain sanctuary. Stopping only at Shoreline Highway/Pohano Street and the Manzanita Park and Ride lot under route 101, across from it, the shuttle bus runs every half hour until 3:30 p.m., when service drops to every ninety minutes, until the last bus leaves the Park at 7:05 p.m.
Several bus runs Memorial Day weekend were nearly full, and 250 people were carried, Demand grew over the month of June, and on Independence Day weekend extra buses had to be added late Sunday to return everyone. This last weekend, a second bus was needed again. The weekend/holiday service to date has made over 3,200 passenger trips to Muir Woods and return, accommodating over 1,600 riders, according to Golden Gate Transit and Marin County Public Works staff. Park staff estimates that this could mean as many as 600 cars could have been diverted from the park's parking facilities.
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