At midnight June 30th we will say goodbye to Sabino Canyon Tours, who had been operating since 1985, and say hello to the new operator for the Sabino Canyon Shuttle, Regional Partnering Center.
On March 9th Coronado National Forest officially announced they had chosen a new operator for the Sabino Canyon Shuttle. As Doug Kreutz summarized in the Arizona Daily Star article, the two determining factors in making the final decision were:
- Regional Partnering Center will gradually change the shuttle fleet from diesel and gasoline power to electric vehicles
- Narrated shuttle tours will be within enclosed and air-conditioned passenger cabins — reducing or eliminating the noise of amplified narrations that troubled some canyon walkers.
Groups like the Sierra Club Grand Canyon Chapter are especially thankful for this change since the air will be cleaner and the ambience much quieter.
Coronado National Forest relied on a panel from the National Park Service to evaluate the applications since they had extensive experience in transportation system issues. The evaluation panel provided the Forest Supervisor, Kerwin Dewberry, a written evaluation to review as he made the final selection.
The transition will happen in four phases, phasing out the diesel and gasoline vehicles and gradually introducing electric shuttles until there are full fleets of electric shuttle vehicles in both Sabino and Bear canyons.
Regional Partnering Center has a permit for five years with a potential for extension for five years based on performance.