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Contact: Amy Vanderbilt, 406-888-5838
Contact: Wade Muehlhof, 406-888-7895
WEST GLACIER, MONT. – Glacier National Park’s Going-to-the-Sun Road (Sun Road) shuttle system had an increase in riders during the 2009 season, its third in existence. The shuttle ended operations for the year on Labor Day, September 7, with park officials reporting a significant increase in the number of riders.
Ridership was up more by more than 50,000 compared to 2008, with 156,726 people utilizing the free shuttle to travel the Sun Road. The increase is partly attributed to an extra week of operation compared to 2008, and an 11 percent increase in visitation to the park, year-to-date. The transit system received a total of 105,639 riders in 2008, compared to 132,093 riders in 2007. In 2008, ridership counts were down from 2007 partly because of gas prices near four dollars a gallon, a week less of shuttle operations, and three east side shuttle buses being out of service for several weeks in August 2008 for necessary warranty service.
New in 2009 was the addition of four 16-passenger shuttle vans and simplified routes. “Transit systems typically need a few operational seasons for routes and schedules to be refined,” said Jim Foster, Chief of Facility Management for Glacier. “We are extremely pleased that so many park visitors opt to ride the shuttle system, thereby reducing traffic and congestion from the Sun Road.” The Sun Road shuttle system was designed and implemented by the NPS and Federal Highway Administration to provide an optional mode of park transit throughout the rehabilitation of the historic Sun Road.
The Sun Road shuttle system is made possible through a cooperative agreement among three organizations, including the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT), Flathead County’s Eagle Transit, and Glacier National Park. The cooperative plan includes a provision for shuttle bus use throughout the state in the park’s off-season from September to June. For more information about MDT, please visit the department’s official website at http://www.mdt.mt.gov/ or call 406-444-6200.
Current road status is available at: http://www.nps.gov/applications/glac/roadstatus/roadstatus.cfm.Road conditions for Glacier National Park are available by calling 511, the Montana Department of Transportation Traveler Information System. If a phone does not support 511, call 800-226-7623. Both numbers are toll-free. Select “Glacier Park Tourist Information” (option # 5) from the menu. For other park information, visit Glacier’s Web site at www.nps.gov/glacor call 406-888-7800.
For more information about Eagle Transit, please visit the Flathead County website at http://www.co.flathead.mt.us/Eagle/index.htm or call 406-758-5728.