Zion National Park gets $33 million federal grant for electric shuttles

The new buses will replace the 20-year-old, gas-powered fleet.

(K. Sophie Will | The Spectrum file photo via AP) A shuttle bus is seen in Zion National Park, Utah, on Wednesday, July 1, 2020.

Zion National Park will soon begin replacing its aging shuttle bus fleet with new electric buses.

The park announced in a news release Tuesday that it has received a $33 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to upgrade its shuttle system that transports visitors throughout the park.

The National Park Service, Iron and Washington counties, and the nonprofit Zion National Park Forever Project also contributed funding for the project, which will see Zion’s propane-powered buses replaced by 26 electric shuttles and 27 charging stations.

The first phase of installing electric charging stations has been completed, and the new buses will be delivered periodically over the next several years, according to the news release.

“The existing fleet has served us well for 21 years but has started to deteriorate with age and use,” Park Superintendent Jeff Bradybaugh said in the news release. “The new equipment consists of quiet, zero-emission buses that will help to further improve the visitor experience and demonstrate National Park Service leadership in environmental sustainability.”

The Zion Canyon Transportation System started in July 2000 with a fleet of 30 buses that operate on shuttle loops within the park and the neighboring town of Springdale.