The Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System is making it easier and cheaper for nature lovers to reach Yosemite National Park. Starting summer 2015 YARTS is providing a public transit from Fresno to the Yosemite Region. (Darlene Wendels/The Collegian)

YARTS simplifies travel to Yosemite

Travelers to Yosemite National Park now have an easier way to reach the park.

Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS) began a new route from Fresno to Yosemite National Park in May.

“We contracted this project with the Fresno Council of Government to provide the service on Highway 41,” said Dick Whittington, YARTS  general manager. “It’s been in the works for five years. Funding took some time.”

The transportation system runs year-round picking up and dropping off at five locations in Fresno: Greyhound station in downtown Fresno, Fresno Yosemite International Airport, Amtrak, Fresno State and the corner of Fresno and Howard Street near River Park. Five busses run daily from Fresno.

“The primary function is clear and simple, and that is getting people to and from Yosemite National Park,” Whittington said.

In its first three months the Fresno, service ridership has been growing. May brought a total of 285 riders, June 1,706 and July 2,134.

YARTS was established 15 years ago and is managed by the Merced County Association of Governments.

The transportation system not only stops in Yosemite National Park but stops also in four communities along the way.

Fares for transit to Yosemite not only cover the transportation but it also covers the park entrance fee. Prices range from $15 to $30 roundtrip, depending on the start location.

Tickets can be purchased on the bus. There is also an option to purchase a monthly pass or a 20 or 10-trip pass.

For ticket fares, routes, and schedules visit the YARTS website.