Parkbus tests interest in people taking bus from Halifax to Kejimkujik

The trial run of the bus service goes ahead this Saturday and will take passengers from Halifax to Kejimkujik National Park.

'It looks like there is a need for this,' says Boris Issaev, one of the founders of Parkbus

Parkbus already runs successful routes from Toronto and Vancouver, now it's looking to gauge people's interest in Halifax. (Parkbus)

The great outdoors will be a little more accessible for people in Halifax without a car this weekend, as a new bus starts a test run from the city to Kejimkujik National Park.

Parkbus is a non-profit company that looks to connect people living in urban centres to nature.

It already runs services in Toronto and Vancouver and wants to determine if the service could work in Nova Scotia.

Surprised by interest in service

Boris Issaev is one of the founders of Parkbus. He said so far the response to the Halifax service has been great and the 50 seater bus for Saturday is full.

The Parkbus system allows people to get to hiking trails and parks without being forced into a tour operators planned outing. Once passengers arrive at their destination they can do whatever activities they like, as long as they make it back to the bus before it departs. (Randy Mitson/Parkbus)

"I am actually surprised at how well it has been doing considering that Halifax is a fairly small city," Issaev told Information Morning.

"It looks like there is a need for this."

The seats on the bus have to be reserved ahead of time. Participants will be picked up at one of two locations, either Mountain Equipment Co-op in downtown Halifax or at the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

Project partly subsidized

The cost for simply taking the bus to Kejimkujik is $24. If participants want to rent a canoe or bike as part of their bus package they'll pay $39.

Issaev expects that the Parkbus service will mainly appeal to university-age students in Halifax. In Toronto there is a range of people who use the service including families. (Parkbus)

Participants will leave around 8 a.m. and return to Halifax around 7 p.m. the same day.

Issaev said Parks Canada approached Parkbus with the idea of trying the service out in Nova Scotia. He said the park is helping subsidize the pilot run, but that doesn't mean the service couldn't be self sustaining in the future.

"It's pretty close to what you would pay in Toronto for our buses and they are not subsidized there," said Issaev.    

With files from Information Morning