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Glacier Park Modifies Transportation Contract to Retain Red Bus Fleet

from NPS Glacier National Park

Buses at Glacier Park Lodge

Buses at Glacier Park Lodge

WEST GLACIER, MT. – The National Park Service announced today that it was modifying the terms of a prospectus for the concessions operations at Glacier National Park to reinforce the park’s intention to retain the operation of the entire fleet of red buses while providing safe, informative and memorable experiences for Glacier National Park visitors.

These modifications supersede original plans to retire half of the red bus fleet, replacing them with modern equipment.

Acting Glacier National Park Superintendent Kym Hall said, “We love the red buses and our intent has been to retain this iconic symbol of the park.”

Changes to the prospectus clarify how maintenance and rehabilitation of the bus fleet will occur.  The newly selected concessioner will be responsible for the management and upkeep of the red buses. The National Park Service owns all

NPS Photo

NPS Photo

the existing 33 historic red buses in the fleet.  Through the terms of the pending concessions contract, the National Park Service intends to monitor the condition of the red buses and rehabilitate the buses as needed over the course of the 16-year contract.  Hall said that modifications of the prospectus for the new concessions contract are being developed to clarify those requirements. The modifications to the prospectus will be posted on the agency’s commercial services website at in mid-February.

Hall said, “We appreciate the advocacy for the red buses by the Glacier Park Foundation and others, and their dedication to preserving the fleet of 33 iconic and historic buses.”

As the historic buses age, rehabilitation work is required to keep the fleet safe and operational.  The buses have 1930s–era bodies adapted to modern chassis.  It is recognized that the required custom rehabilitation work on the buses will be very expensive.

A complete and custom restoration of the buses was last completed in 2002 with the generous assistance of the Ford Motor Company through the National Park Foundation.   At that time the cost for the rehabilitation of the buses was more than $6 million dollars.

Hall said, “We want to maintain and continue the tradition of the iconic red buses on the road in Glacier National Park.”


TSScover2014Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of paranormal short stories and contemporary fantasy adventure novels, including “The Seeker” and “The Sun Singer,” both of which are set in Glacier National Park.

  1. This makes a lot more sense than their previous plan. I was unable to understand why busses that were completely renovated ten years ago would cost $270,000 each to restore again. Perhaps they used “political math”.

    January 30, 2013
    • The Foundation was trying to clarify that, too. Don’t know what they found out. But they should have been in fairly good shape.

      January 30, 2013

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