Is it customary to tip shuttle (not tour) bus drivers in Denali?
Well, they would certainly be delighted! :) I still remember back in the early 80's when one shuttle put out a tip cup, as that was not common back then - and he got a lot of flak, but sure liked the tips!
I would say it depends on the service you get. AS stated clearly - the shuttle is not a tour, so your driver is expected to provide transportation - that's all. However, most do give a talk and many have extensive knowledge of the park. I would say like all service, tip accordingly. If you like your driver and felt the person was helpful, then go ahead and tip. No one should ever feel obligated to tip. Hope that helps! :)
If all you get is transportation, no tip is required. If you get a tour (I always have on the dozen or so shuttles I've been on), then a tip is warranted - a couple of dollars, I'd suggest.
Once again, thanks to all who responded. This forum has been such a great resource and I really appreciate each of you sharing your knowledge and experiences!
Our shuttle driver was very good and we tipped her $10 pp.
We took the shuttle last week, and it's much more than just transportation. Our driver was GREAT about stopping for animals (even stopped when one crazy on our bus yelled "STOP! DUCKS!"), and always gave us some little tidbits of information if she had them. We definitely tipped her. The shuttle is a BARGAIN in my opinion. Hope they pay those drivers well! :-)
It never occurred to me that our shuttle bus driver would expect a tip - so I wasn't prepared when we got off the bus and the driver stood at the door and collected them from everybody. BUT she DESERVED a tip and I still feel bad about not being prepared to offer one.
We were with her for 12+ hours, and she had commentary for everything we saw. She combined her knowledge with humor - and we appreciated her entire program. We knew that the shuttle buses were hit-or-miss as far as what the drivers would tell us, so we didn't expect any commentary at all. But she educated all of us about how to act when wildlife was spotted from the bus, she encouraged us to eat on the bus so the wrappings and smell wouldn't somehow drift into the park, she chastised a young couple along the road for hand-feeding the rabbits, and she was very patient when a wandering caribou held up the bus on the way back - even after such a long drive. I even felt confident in her driving when we were on the narrowest cliff roads.
So my advice is TIP TIP TIP the driver!
>>It never occurred to me that our shuttle bus driver would expect a tip - so I wasn't prepared when we got off the bus and the driver stood at the door and collected them from everybody. BUT she DESERVED a tip and I still feel bad about not being prepared to offer one.
Generally I use camper buses for my first ride in and last ride out of the park and shuttle buses in between (usually staying at Wonder Lake campground). I tip the camper bus drivers and generally they seem surprised but very thankful. None of them stand at the door waiting for a tip and few people tip them.
Occasionally I will tip the shuttle bus drivers as well but usually I am hopping off and on those buses fairly often so I don't feel the obligation to tip them like I do the drivers whose buses I am on for a longer time.
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