YARTS is just an acronym given to taxpayers - subsidized public bus transit to Yosemite, presently on Highways 140 and 120 East/West. Madera’s opposition had kept it off Highway 41 until Tom Wheeler became supervisor and collaborated with Fresno and the National Park Service to put it on the Highway 41 corridor. Mr. Wheeler still fails to accept or understand what the business community knows - that for every bus rider that might buy something in Oakhurst, many more will drive their private vehicles elsewhere, never visiting North Fork, Coarsegold, Ahwahnee, Bass Lake, or Oakhurst. A huge net loss to local economies.
The underlying issue with public bus transit to Yosemite was the goal of the 1980 Yosemite General Management Plan (GMP) to totally remove all private vehicle day-visitor parking in Yosemite Valley - facilitated by public bus transit. Thanks to the leadership of Oakhurst and Eastern Madera County, the language in the 1980 GMP to force all Valley day visitors onto a bus was eliminated in the new Merced River Plan, meaning the National Park Service no longer has a legal document authorizing the removal of Valley day-visitor parking.
Unfortunately, that is only slowing the Park Service down as the Merced River Plan still calls for a net loss of 293 Valley day-visitor parking spaces and the moving of hundreds of dispersed roadside parking spaces into oversized parking lots which even the River Plan acknowledges will increase crowding and congestion.
As of now, Madera County is the only gateway county fighting for the public’s right to visit Yosemite Valley in their own vehicle and we should be broadcasting that to the public in every way possible.
Lou Aceto, Oakhurst