A shuttle service launches in Big Sur Saturday, July 1st. It will give visitors a way to access businesses on the south side of the downed Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge, an area locals call “the island”.
This part of Big Sur is boxed in by the downed Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge to the north and landslides on the south. It’s home to businesses like the Big Sur Deli and Taphouse, the Henry Miller Library, the Post Ranch Inn and Nepenthe.
To get there, visitors pick up a shuttle at Andrew Molera State Park. It takes them to Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park where they hike the bridge by-pass trail to the other side of the downed bridge. It’s a steep, roughly half-mile walk that opens up for public access on Saturday.
“They’ll get to feel what it’s like to be a local living on the south side. You know these locals are hiking groceries over and going to school,” says Weston Call with Sur Transportation, which runs the shuttle service.
“It’s really an exciting time to be in that local zone, if you will, because there’s no cars. It’s quiet. You can hear the birds. You can hear the river. You can hear nothing, which is very unusual for being down there,” says Call referring to this normally busy and crowded time of year for tourism in Big Sur.
Once on the so called island, visitors can walk or pick up a shuttle to access some of the businesses.
“I’m hoping that it is really the first critical step in the community’s recovery from road closures,” says Kirk Gafill, owner of Nepenthe.
His restaurant and The Phoenix Shop have been open, primarily for locals. Gafill says they get about 30 customers a day at a time of year when they’d normally see around 1000. He says with this new service, it’s hard to know how many people will show up.
“We’re hopeful it will be bigger. And we are trying to be ready to accommodate what the demand might be,” says Gafill.
The shuttle costs $5.00 round trip per person. It run seven days a week from noon until 8pm. You also have to pay $10.00 to park at Andrew Molera State Park.
Big Sur businesses north of the bridge remain open and accessible. The shuttle will also bring visitors to restaurants and shops on the north side.