"Part of our mission is to provide access to our regional parks for all of our community, so this is a way people who can't make that steep hike can get up to the ridge," Hopkins said. "It is a one-way service."
Those who take the shuttle, scheduled to run May 4, May 15 and June 1, will have three opportunities each of those days. The shuttle will run at 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and noon.
Anne Kassebaum, recreation services manager for the park district, said the van will not use the Foothill Trail.
"What's going to happen is the shuttle is going to pick up folks at the Foothill staging area. They're going to be exiting the park and turning left on Foothill Road -- they'll be going north on Foothill Road. We're going to be driving up an easement road that we have, it's a gated road," Kassebaum said. "The first stop will be the Bay Leaf Trail."
The van will then double back and follow the Ridge Trail, she said.
"It will make a second drop off at the North Ridge Trail and Sinbad Creek, and then the van's going to be continuing the trail down the other side, exiting the park, turning right and heading out to 580 and coming back again," Kassebaum said.
Hopkins said that route will have less impact on people than the Foothill Trail.
"Because it is a pilot it will be limited and we'll be studying how it goes," Hopkins said.
At eight people per trip, that's 24 a day the shuttle can carry, and Hopkins said people have already signed up.
"There does seem to be public interest," she said, adding, "25 or 30 people have registered already."
Passengers will have the option of a 4.66 or 9.22 mile hike back.
Reservations are required for the shuttle; there is a $10 fee for residents of Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, and a $12 fee for non-residents.
"This is for people only, we will not be taking dogs or bicycles on the shuttle," Hopkins said. "When people call for registration, we'll send out information -- people need to understand that they do need to be able to make the hike, they do need to bring water and have suitable footwear."
While it's unlikely to be an issue because of the time of year, Hopkins said the service is weather dependent.
"We do have to be mindful of the condition of the road and the trails," she said.
The Park District discussed the idea of shuttles for more than a year, and if the pilot is successful, it could become a regular feature.
"I believe our board is interested in that," Hopkins said. "We're interested to see how this works out."
People interested in taking one of the trial runs for the shuttle should call (888) 327-2757.
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