COTA Shuttle Service for F1 Detailed Pickup Location Info

Alex Gassman

by Alex Gassman

COTA Shuttle bus depot collection at Waterloo Park

If you’re attending the Formula One race at Circuit of the Americas, one way to get to the circuit is on the dedicated COTA shuttle buses.

These operate a ‘park and ride’ service from three different locations in the cities surrounding the circuit, but are not without their challenges. This article provides a guide to using the COTA shuttle service.

Contents

COTA shuttle pickup locations

There are three park and ride locations where the COTA shuttle picks up from in or around Austin:

  • Downtown Austin @ Waterloo Park
  • Southwest Austin @ Barton Creek Square Mall
  • Northeast Austin @ Travis Country Expo Centre

There is no longer a direct shuttle from the airport, if you’re flying in you need to make your own way to the circuit.

Waterloo Park - 3 days

  • Collection: Buses pick people up directly outside the Waterloo Park entrance in Downtown Austin on Trinity St between E13th and E14th. Google maps pin here for collection location. 
  • Parking: Numerous public parking garages between Trinity St and San Jacinto Blvd, usually around $20 / day
  • Drop-off and pick-up at COTA: Drops off directly outside the circuit gates at the Grand Plaza
  • Journey time: 30 minutes no traffic, 1 hour plus on race day
  • Cost: Advance purchases – 3 day weekend pass $130/person round trip, or $45/person/day. Same day purchase – $55/person/day
Waterloo park pickup location for Circuit of the Americas shuttle bus

Barton Creek Square Mall - Saturday & Sunday only

  • Collection: Between Dillard’s and JCPenney at the south end of Barton Creek Square Mall, just off Highway 360
  • Parking: Free parking anywhere in the Mall car park. Park near an exit for easier departure at the end of the day.
  • Drop-off and pick-up at COTA: Mcangus Road shuttle depot, 15 minute walk from the Grand Plaza circuit entrance
  • Journey time: 25 minutes no traffic, 1 hour plus on race day
  • Cost: Advance purchases – 2 day weekend pass $85/person round trip, or $45/person/day. Same day purchase – $55/person/day
JCPenney at Barton Creek Square Mall F1 pickup location Circuit of the Americas

Travis County Expo Centre - 3 days

  • Collection: Expo Centre main entrance
  • Parking: Free parking in Expo Centre parking lot, enter the centre via Gate 1 off Decker Lane. Click here for Google Maps pin. 
  • Drop-off and pick-up at COTA: Mcangus Road shuttle depot, 15 minute walk from the Grand Plaza circuit entrance
  • Journey times: 20 minutes no traffic, 1 hour plus on race day
  • Cost: Advance purchases – 3 day weekend pass $100/person round trip, or $35/person/day. Same day purchase – $45/person/day
JCPenney at Barton Creek Square Mall F1 pickup location Circuit of the Americas

Mcangus road bus depot

The drop off point for the COTA shuttle from Barton Creek Mall and the Travis County Expo centre is the Mcangus Road shuttle bus depot. That’s a 15 minute walk away from the Grand Plaza entrance gates. COTA have said there will be a free tram service between the depot and the entrance, but if past years are anything to go by there’ll be a long wait.

You can walk it, but we warned it’s a narrow two lane road with no street lighting. Hot in the Texas sun and a bit sketchy after dark.

Mcangus road depot for Circuit of the Americas bus drop off

COTA shuttle tickets

The tickets for the COTA Shuttle should be purchased online in advance through the COTA website. More information here.

They have said that there will be some available to purchase at the shuttle pickup location on the day but these aren’t guaranteed.

Still need COTA F1 tickets?

If you still need tickets for the US GP at COTA I’d recommend buying them on StubHub.

There’s a huge number of tickets currently for sale, and there are lots of much more affordable single-day ticket options too. 

I’ve used StubHub for F1 tickets a few times over the last year, including for my visit to the inaugural Grand Prix in Vegas, and have always had a great experience buying through them.

Their FanProtect guarantee is also very robust at protecting your money and tickets, and that gives me a lot of confidence when purchasing. 

COTA shuttle times

The first shuttle buses will leave their collection points in the three locations around 1 hour before the circuit gates open each day. In 2023 the gates opened at 8am on the Sunday, so first buses would depart at around 7am. 

To allow for traffic and queues getting in to the circuit entrances, get there as early as possible. By 7am there will already be a line up for the shuttle collection, so if you can, get there earlier still to try and grab a spot on one of the first buses.

On the Friday and Saturday the last shuttle to the circuit is 6:30pm. On Sunday it’s 2pm.

The last shuttle out of the circuit is one hour after the concerts stop on Friday and Saturday, and supposedly they’ll keep going all evening Sunday until everyone has left.

Other transport options

Read our full guide to COTA parking for more information on driving yourself to the track, but to summarise, I’d recommend going for one of the private unofficial parking lots near the circuit. These are cheaper and normally have quicker exit routes to avoid the traffic, compared to the expensive official COTA lots.

Alternatively, if you’re staying Downtown and fancy burning some calories, you could hire an E-bike and ride, avoid all the traffic and deserve your hamburger and fries. There is a bike path most of the way to the circuit.

Or, for the best way to enjoy the weekend and avoid all of the traffic completely, consider one of the COTA camping options. You can stay a 10 minute walk from the track from Thursday to Monday, eat your own food and drink your own drinks all from the comfort of your own trailer or RV.

US GP - What to Expect

I’ll send you my 6 must-know tips for attending the COTA F1 race so you are fully prepared, know what to expect and get the most out of the event.

Alex Gassman

I‘m Alex. I write F1 and motorsport travel guides based on my experience as racing driver and full-time motorsport nerd. I’ve traveled the world watching F1 and other racing series.

I started oversteer48 with the aim of helping other motorsport fans who are planning on watching some racing themselves.

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