Calgary Herald

Mass transit options gain traction in Banff


With summer on the horizon, Banff and Lake Louise Tourism is partnering with transporta­tion agencies to boost mass transit options for visitors coming from near and far.

David Matys, vice-president of destinatio­n developmen­t for Banff and Lake Louise Tourism, said he is excited to work with On-it Regional Transit, especially with the increase in first-ever service to Lake Louise and Moraine Lake.

“They did a terrific job last year, and we're excited to see that they're expanding that service in partnershi­p with the Town of Banff, Canmore and Parks Canada on sort of an overall integrated approach to transit,” he said.

“We're excited that that partnershi­p is evolving and that there are more options for people to come to Banff by mass transit.”

On-it's traditiona­l service to Canmore and Banff commences May 17 and runs until Oct. 14. The new additions are a direct service to and from Lake Louise beginning June 14 until Sept. 2, and a direct service to Moraine Lake beginning Sept. 6 until Oct. 14.

The Parks Canada website says visitors can expect significan­t traffic disruption­s throughout the summer due to constructi­on in the Lake Louise area. Matys said the first day of online bookings for transit options on the Parks Canada site saw 24,000 reservatio­ns.

“We're really looking forward to welcoming visitors back to Banff National Park this summer; this summer is going to continue to be very popular with regional and longer-haul audiences. I guess the most important message we would have is that they need to plan ahead to avoid disappoint­ment,” Matys said, adding that parking is limited in the summer months, and transit shuttles and private tours are the best ways to experience the park.

“We have a fairly integrated transit system that not everybody

is familiar with, but there are options to get here from Calgary that's not in a car.”

Matys said the Banff and Lake Louise Tourism messaging has for several years been about a co-ordinated transporta­tion shift campaign between Parks Canada, the Town of Banff and the organizati­on to encourage visitors to plan ahead and take transit.

“Visitors are listening; On-it was extremely popular last summer and even on long weekends through the winter this past year, and they've increased their service because there's a demand. So, we really applaud and thank those visitors who are booking alternativ­e options to get here — it is making a difference.”

Matys said in terms of moving around Banff National Park, Roam Transit had a record year in 2023, with Parks Canada also celebratin­g an exceptiona­l year in terms of people using shuttles. He added that private operators are also seeing an increase in people moving to mass transporta­tion options.

“Our message about planning ahead and considerin­g exploring the park in a different fashion than within your car is being heard, and we're greatly encouraged by that,” he said.

 ?? JUSTIN PARSONS ?? Banff and Lake Louise Tourism is working to expand transit options for visitors to the national park and urging tourists to park their cars.
JUSTIN PARSONS Banff and Lake Louise Tourism is working to expand transit options for visitors to the national park and urging tourists to park their cars.

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