For the eighth consecutive year, the City of Tucson is providing a free shuttle service for visitors to the Tucson Gem, Mineral, and Fossil Showcase. The GemRide shuttle system connects to 43 shows from 36 stops on four inter-connected routes. Returning this year is the Downtown Gem Loop, which connects convenient parking in the Downtown area with 17 shows stretching from south of 22nd Street and Interstate 10 to the Tucson Convention Center (TCC) and then to shows near the Tucson Metro Chamber at 465 W. St. Mary’s Road. The Mineral & Fossil Loop connects to 20 shows stretching from Granada Avenue/St. Mary’s Road through the Oracle Road/Drachman Street area to Miracle Mile and Grant Road/I-10. The Mineral & Fossil Loop connects to three shows that are new this year.
Also returning is the Kino Gem Loop, which connects parking with seven shows stretching from the Palo Verde Road/Irvington Road area, to the Kino Sports Complex, and to the Kino Boulevard/Benson Highway area. The Casino del Sol Express connects to three Bead Shows at Casino del Sol. (Some shows are common to multiple routes, hence the route sub-totals adding to more than 43.)
An express shuttle, the Hub Express, will run between the Downtown Mercado Shuttle/Parking Hub at 201 S. Linda Avenue and the Kino Gem Shuttle/Parking Hub at 2901 E. Milber Street, connecting the Downtown-area shuttle routes with the Kino Gem Loop. The Downtown Mercado Shuttle/Parking Hub is the starting point for the Downtown Gem Loop and the Mineral & Fossil Loop, and is located within one block of two Sun Link streetcar stops, on Cushing Street at Linda Avenue, and on Avenida del Convento at Congress Street. The Casino del Sol Express connects the Casino del Sol directly to both the Downtown Mercado and Kino Gem Shuttle/Parking Hubs, and also stops at the TCC.
Limited service begins on the Downtown Gem Loop on Friday, February 1, 2019, with stops at shows along the I-10 frontage roads. Full service begins on the Downtown Gem Loop, Mineral & Fossil Loop, and Kino Gem Loop on Saturday, February 2, 2019. Shuttles will run through Sunday, February 17, 2019, with the exception of the Casino del Sol Express, which runs from February 2 to February 9.
Hours of service vary: Downtown Gem Loop runs from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Mineral & Fossil Loop shuttles run 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Kino Gem Loop and Casino del Sol Express shuttles run from 9:30am to 6:30pm.
The Tucson Department of Transportation’s Park Tucson Division is offering special Gem Show parking at the Downtown Mercado Hub and at the lot on the southeast corner of Congress Street and Avenida del Convento for an all-day, flat rate of $5. RV parking is also available for $10. Two shuttle stops along the Downtown Gem Loop are at locations convenient to other Park Tucson garages. Shuttle stop 10 at Fifth Avenue north of Congress Street is within one block of the Centro, Depot Plaza, and Pennington Street Garages, as well as numerous restaurants, shops, and bars. Shuttle stop 12 on the east side of the City-State Garage at 498 West Congress St. offers direct service to the TCC. Normal parking rates apply ($1.00/hour during weekdays and flat rates of $3 or $5 weeknights and weekends). Visitors can park at metered on-street spaces for $1.00/hour and can pay with the easy GoTucson Parking mobile app.