Banff boosts transit options in hope of reducing cars in national park
'The Banff National Park experience is better, period, when you leave your car behind'
Banff is hoping to reduce the number of vehicles entering the national park by boosting transit options in and around the townsite.
"The Banff National Park experience is better, period, when you leave your car behind," said Nancy Dadalt, director of visitor experience with Banff Lake Louise Tourism. "Take congestion down, and also emissions. Let's get rid of those emissions. We're in a national park."
The town has added additional routes to spots like Tunnel Mountain, Lake Minnewanka and Johnston Canyon, and additional routes within the townsite's bus service, Roam.
Local day passes are $5, or regional passes are $15. Both include unlimited rides.
The bus service that runs from Calgary to Banff is also back this year.
Dadalt said the On-it Regional Transit bus brought over 12,000 riders from Calgary to Banff last summer. The service will run every weekend from May long until September.
One-way tickets are $10, and include a Roam pass for the day.
Chelsea and Jasen Thompson were visiting Banff Friday from the U.S.
The couple said they've found Banff to be pretty pedestrian-friendly. Their hotel provides a free bus pass they've been using to get around.
"Super easy. It's nice to have a bus route that basically covers all of town," Jasen said.
"It's pretty convenient for us," Chelsea added.
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In the summer of 2017, the number of cars on the road in Banff each day surpassed 27,500.
While Dadalt says the town has added more parking — visitors can check the park website for real-time parking info — she'd still like to see more people leaving their cars behind.
"I would love to see us as a place where people leave their cars or even take the train," Dadalt said. "And then our whole experience would be something like you see in Europe where it's a pedestrian area. Where cars are left behind and people can just enjoy the mountains and the fresh air and walk."
With files from Andrew Brown