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After being closed for more than six months during the coronavirus pandemic, the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway will reopen Friday with reduced service, officials announced on Wednesday.

The world’s largest rotating tram car will initially be open Friday through Monday, officials said. The first car will head up each day at 8 a.m., with the last car down at 6 p.m.

The number of guests per car will be reduced from 80 people to 10 or 12 per car, said Greg Purdy, the tram’s vice president of marketing and public affairs. 

“We’re going to start slow and just make sure guest safety is our primary focus,” Purdy said. 

Cars will go up every 20 minutes instead of every 10 minutes in order to facilitate cleanings between every use, Purdy added.

Asked about the timing of the reopening, Purdy said the tramway probably could have opened earlier, but there was the annual maintenance shutdown and a temporary occupancy permit for the mountain station was only issued last week.

The mountain station hadn’t been open to the public due to construction, he said. 

Officials are requiring tram-goers to adhere to a list of new policies aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 in order to ride, including:

  • Reservations are required for all visitors
  • A portion of each car will be set aside for annual passholders
  • Face coverings must be worn inside the valley and mountain stations, and in the tram cars, but not in the state park
  • Guests must submit to temperature screenings

Officials warned potential visitors that because of fire danger only Long Valley will be open for outdoor recreation for the time being.

All annual passholders will see their passes extended due to the shutdown.

On Thursday, the tram’s online ticketing system will be available to the general public. Passholders must call (760) 325-1449, ext. 0 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily to reserve spots.

Since 1963, the tram has carried visitors 2½ miles to the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument, a trip that takes about 10 minutes.

At an elevation of 8,516 feet, Mountain Station offers visitors two restaurants, observation decks, a natural history museum, two documentary theaters and an entry point to more than 50 miles of hiking trails.

Additional information, including whether restaurants will reopen, was not immediately available. 


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Upgrades: Major upgrades coming to Palm Springs Aerial Tramway’s mountain station

City News Service contributed to this report. 

Shane Newell covers breaking news and the western Coachella Valley cities of Palm Springs, Cathedral City and Desert Hot Springs. He can be reached at [email protected], (760) 778-4649 or on Twitter at @journoshane

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