With more and more city folks choosing to live without a car, the matter of getting away to the wilderness for a week or weekend of camping has become a serious challenge. A nongovernmental organization, the Transportation Options Association of Ontario, has designed and implemented a solution. Called Parkbus, this is a weekend bus service from Toronto and Ottawa to camping and canoeing locations in Algonquin Park, the Bruce Peninsula, and other locations in central Ontario.
GallonDaily commends the Transportation Options Association of Ontario for this very worthwhile initiative. Not only is it a great way for car-less families, and those who prefer not to drive the congested roads to ‘cottage country’, to reach central and northern Ontario camping with the help of a professional driver but it is also an illustration of how non-governmental groups can help expand Canada’s public transit system. We do not have to leave everything transit to our governments.
The initiative does illustrate that one of the challenges for non-government transportation services will be the fare. The round trip fare from Toronto to Algonquin Park on Parkbus is $83.98 for an adult and $41.98 for a child under 12. A family of four will face a fare of just over $250 for the round trip, plus provincial park camping fees and canoe rental if desired. This is not yet opening the wilderness family camping experience to low income people, but with the bus service already in place maybe there is an opportunity for businesses to provide contests and subsidies that will help enable low income families to experience Canada’s great outdoors. Mountain Equipment Coop is already providing generous discounts on camping equipment rentals for Parkbus ticket holders.
Details of the Parkbus, including routes, schedules, and fares, are available at http://www.parkbus.ca/