YARTS: Giving You the Opportunity to ‘Watch the Scenery, Not the Road’

The YARTS bus drives through a bridge on its way to Yosemite. (Photo courtesy of Charles Phillips)

Have you ever wanted to go Yosemite but not have to worry about the drive or traffic? Then YARTS is here for you.

The Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System has been providing visitors to the Yosemite region with a comfortable, economical, and convenient alternative to driving.

“The reservation system has allowed us to help our passengers make better trip planning decisions before they visit,” YARTS Staff Analyst Cindy Kelly said. “This is significant to us, especially as the visitation to the park keeps increasing along with the traffic congestion problem.”

YARTS has five runs a day starting in Fresno, taking state Route 41 through Coarsegold, Oakhurst and Fish Camp to Wawona and finally Yosemite Valley. Ticket prices are based upon zones. For example, 41 has four zones – Fresno, Coarsegold/Oakhurst, Fish Camp/Wawona, and Yosemite Valley. The ticket prices are based upon what zone you depart from and decrease as you get closer and closer to the park.

Fresno has two options where you can catch the YARTS bus. You can find it at the Fresno Yosemite International Airport or at the Amtrak station in downtown Fresno. From Fresno, tickets are $30 round-trip for adults and that includes entrance into Yosemite. Children 12 and under ride free with each paid adult fare and children 13-16 pay the reduced child fare.

“YARTS is also the thruway provider for Amtrak and Greyhound, and provides many of their passengers with a car-free experience when visiting the Yosemite region,” Kelly said. “In addition, YARTS provides commuter services to park employees and students who need to travel to other communities for employment or education.”

YARTS operates year-round on state Route 140 and seasonally on state Route 120 (Tuolumne and Mono Counties) and state Route 41 (Fresno and Madera counties). It has 16 buses running in the summers and seven in the winters, running on a very robust schedule with runs every 30 minutes to two hours depending on the season.

“In October, YARTS started an online reservations system and to date has received over 8,000 reservations and in this summer alone, YARTS has over 4,000 reservations for trips to Yosemite from all gateways,” Kelly said. “Based on NPS’ calculations of 2.9 riders per vehicle entering the park, we estimate that we’re diverting almost 1,400 cars this summer from going to the Valley. We want visitors to be good stewards of the park and consider alternate modes of transportation when planning their trip.”

You can find the route map as well as any other information about the YARTS service at yarts.com.