While awaiting formal confirmation, the travel coalition comprised of the United Motorcoach Association, International Motorcoach Group, American Bus Association, National Tour Association, Ontario Motor Coach Association, Interel Group, Trailways, and United States Tour Operators Association, has been apprised that David Vela, Deputy Director Exercising the Authority of Director for the National Park Service, has stated the new CUA requirements planned for 2020 will not be implemented.
Vela further apprised there will be changes to the Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) in the future, however, he indicated the CUA permit fees will likely be lower than $300 and group tours will not be subject to the per person entrance fees.
He also indicated future plans for commercial tour operators will likely pay vehicle entrance fees similar to those for automobiles.
Based on the extensive input from the travel coalition group, the National Park Service apparently determined the proposed CUA program and fee structure was neither feasible for the bus and motorcoach charter and tour industry as well as staff members for the many parks.
The NPS further noted that should any changes be implemented in 2020, it will likely be later in the year.
This means bus and motorcoach travel groups should continue current where commercial CUAs are already required for the start of the 2020 season; which of course includes the existing application and fees. We are also advised the planned online application will not be available January 1, 2020 as originally planned.
The news comes just as the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted in favor of the Restore Our Parks Act (S.500) that when fully passed by both houses, will address the maintenance backlog of the National Park Service which the much disparaged expanded use of Commercial Use Authorizations was intended.