Electric shuttles roll out in the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area

Release Date: Nov 12, 2019

TUCSON, AZ, November 9, 2019 – Regional Partnering Center today launched the new Sabino Canyon Crawler electric shuttle service in the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area on Coronado National Forest. Each emission-free, open-air vehicle seats up to 60 passengers and will operate on the Sabino Canyon route every hour between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. The fully developed fleet will utilize five electric shuttles.


The electric shuttles are part of an evolving process to reflect the Forest’s commitment to provide recreational services for the area that are aligned with increasing and changing public demands. Design features were incorporated into system requirements to address safety, noise, water quality, wildlife, cultural and historical resource protection, scenery management considerations, accessibility and exhaust emissions (for transitional shuttles and Bear Canyon shuttles).


“The modernized shuttle services will help people better plan for their visits to the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area,” said Cal Joyner, Southwestern Regional Forester for the U.S. Forest Service. Sabino Canyon falls within the Coronado National Forest. “Our visitors have been anxiously waiting for this day to arrive, and I believe they will appreciate the new electric shuttles and more efficient service for a quality customer experience.”


Project partners include Coronado National Forest, which manages the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area; the Regional Partnering Center (RPC), owners of the shuttle service; and Tucson Electric Power Company, major funders of the electric shuttles. Total Transit Enterprises/Total Ride operates the shuttle service with professionally trained drivers.


Transitional service utilizing gasoline-powered shuttles began in March 2019 following a December 2018 permit approval by the Forest Service. During the transition period, RPC added new onsite ticket vending kiosks providing customers opportunities to purchase shuttle passes with a credit or debit card. A professionally narrated audio system installed on the electric shuttles allows passengers to listen through earbuds to learn about the canyon’s natural and cultural history. By delivering the narrated tour through earbuds, the audio feature will further ensure that hikers can better enjoy the natural sounds of the canyon.


A new website, www.SabinoCanyonCrawler.com, is live and allows customers to reserve and pay for shuttle seats in advance of their visit to the canyon. Group tours continue to be offered. An onsite shuttle fee drop box is available as well for exact cash or checks to be deposited.


Gasoline-powered transit shuttles will continue to operate on the Bear Canyon route every half hour running 9:15 a.m. through 4:15 p.m. All vehicles are wheelchair accessible.


Ticket prices for shuttle tours of Sabino Canyon and Bear Canyon are:

Sabino Canyon - $12.00 per adult, $7.00 per child, free for children under 3 years of age, and $7.00 for onboarding (one-way hop on) when space is available.

Bear Canyon - $6.00 per adult, $4.00 per child, free for children under 3 years of age, and $4.00 for onboarding (one-way hop on) when space is available.


Pricing reflects the fully integrated ticketing options, including online purchase, self-serve ticketing kiosks and in-person ticket sales at the Sabino Canyon Visitor Center, in addition to the automated narrated tour on the shuttles. Free earbuds will be provided on the electric shuttles. Ticket pricing for the value-added service was outlined in the special-use permit approved by the U.S. Forest Service in December 2018.


The Sabino Canyon Crawler is open 360 days a year. For more information about the project partners and collaborators, please visit www.SabinoCanyonCrawler.com.