What will you do to help first-time visitors stay safe and respectful of wild spaces?
The free TD Park Express service will make our treasured wilderness spaces accessible to thousands of first-time visitors, which entails a great deal of responsibility to ensure that every first-time visitor behaves in a safe and responsible manner.
Together with AdventureSmart Canada we developed the following process to help educate all visitors in both safety as well as park rules:
- Every free shuttle will be accompanied by a Parkbus representative who will highlight safety hazards specific to each park in person to all riders, and promote Leave No Trace Principles.
- Every registration page will prominently feature, park-specific safety warnings and information in multiple languages.
- Every passenger will receive a pre-departure safety and park rules email in multiple languages, as well as other tips such as Guide to Day Hiking.
- Every passenger will be encouraged to fill out an AdventureSmart trip plan and leave emergency contact information during registration.
Over the last 8 years, Parkbus introduced thousands of people to dozens of national and provincial parks across Canada. Although nobody can guarantee that every visit will be problem-free, our track record shows that bus visitors are less likely to behave in an unsafe or disrespectful manner due to all the pre-departure information that car visitors do not receive, all while visiting the park in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way.
How will the seat reservation process work? What if people book seats “just in case” and do not show up?
While seats will be free, they must be reserved in advance with a valid credit card. As we have done in 2017 with the Canada 150 Rouge Express, a no-show fee will be charged on the credit card for every no-show passenger.
If you need to cancel after booking your seats, we will require a 48-hour cancellation notice, to avoid the no-show fee.
Can you accommodate a larger group for a non-profit or settlement agency?
Part of our mandate is to connect new Canadians to nature, and we work with numerous settlement agencies as part of our NatureLink program. If your non-profit or settlement agency is looking to take a group on board any of our shuttles, and if you have more than 20 people coming, please get in touch by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Will the shuttle come back next year? Are you expecting to add more parks / cities to join the free program?
We will be working to make sure that the program will come back next year, and that more cities in Canada can benefit from a similar service. This will depend on the project’s success this year, and on continued support from the generous partners and sponsors that made this project possible.
What about park fees?
There are no park fees for Rouge National Urban Park in Ontario or Golden Ears Provincial Park in BC.
For Elk Island National Park, a Parks Canada fee of $7.80 per adult (18+) will be collected from passengers.
For Yamaska Park in Quebec, a SEPAQ (park agency) fee of $7.39 will also be charged for passeners over 18 years of age, unless they already possess a SEPAQ park pass.
There will be no charges for kids (18 and under) as neither SEPAQ nor Parks Canada collects child fees.