Parks Express

Eligibility

Schools (Alameda or Contra Costa counties schools ONLY)

At least 50% of the school’s students must be on the current Free and Reduced Lunch Program list, published on the California Department of Education’s website. You may visit their website, or ask us to check for you.

Non-profit Organizations and Government Agencies

501(c)(3) status non-profit organizations and area municipalities that serve groups of Alameda or Contra Costa children from low-income families, seniors, or people with disabilities are eligible to apply.
NOTE: Proof of 501(c)(3) status is required.

Only one bus trip, per coordinator, is scheduled (allowed) in the January through December calendar year.

Vehicles

Vehicle Fee

All vehicles are charged the same fee: $110 per vehicle.

Additional Fees

Fees may include park entrance, parking, picnic site reservation, swimming, or fishing fees. You can request fee reductions at “How to Apply, Step #4” below.

Yellow Bus

Minimum 40 passengers. On most buses, the maximum can be up to 52 passengers grade 4 and older. Grades pre-K through 3 may be able to sit three across the bench for a maximum of 67 children accompanied by 7 adults. The bus company will provide vehicles based on your stated passenger count.

Coach Bus

May be available for senior or adult-only trips

Lift Vans

Up to two wheelchairs, plus up to eight ambulatory passengers. (Limited Availability)

Is this OK with my School District or Organization?

Some districts and organizations have restrictions or even exclusive contracts regarding the services that you use. Please verify with your administrators that your school or organization is allowed to use our contracted transportation carriers. We are usually able to subsidize buses or lift vans from your school district’s bus fleet at our usual cost to you. Call us to coordinate.

How to Apply

Apply early! We begin accepting applications for the following calendar year on December 1st. Apply a minimum of six to eight weeks before your trip.
Steps to Take:

1. Complete and submit the online Parks Express Application Form (see link below).

2. Non-profits and Government Agencies: Email parksexpress@ebparks.org with an attached signed statement on organization letterhead (in .PDF format only) stating how your organization qualifies for the program. If your group meets at a school, the school’s lunch program data will be used. Non-profits must also include proof of 501(c)(3) status and your non-profit tax ID number.

3. Contact an EBRPD Visitor Center if you wish to schedule a Naturalist Educational Program along with transportation. Call the Reservations Department for swimming or picnic reservations. Swim reservations ensure the parks will have adequate lifeguard coverage.

Website: ebparks.org/parks/vc

Naturalist Programs: 1-888-EBPARKS

Reservations: 1-888-EBPARKS, press 2

4. You will receive a tentative reservation of your scheduled bus by email. To confirm, your payment is required by the due date.

5. If you wish to request fee reductions for swim fees or reserving a picnic site, etc, email an attached letter with a signed statement on organization letterhead to the addresses below. 
We do not accept unofficial email requests.

Address to
Jim O’Connor
Assistant General Manager, Operations
JOconnor@ebparks.org

Scheduling Educational and Recreation Programs

Program Scheduling

If you would like to coordinate a Naturalist Educational Program, contact the Visitor Center directly for more information on programs offered, application procedures, and deadlines. The Visitor Centers are listed on our website here: EBParks.org/parks/vc.

Submit your Parks Express transportation application in the meantime, and check the box on the application stating you are waiting for a date for a Visitor Center program. We will notify you if our funding will be available for your trip. Once you receive confirmation from the Visitor Center, call us to begin coordinating your transportation.
All transportation is subject to the availability of our contracting bus companies. Generally, availability is more likely early in the week.

Program coordination is not required for transportation. We welcome you for self-guided park experiences, too!

Changes and Cancellations

If you need to change the date, hours, or destination of your trip, contact our office. Change requests are not accepted within one week of your scheduled date. All change requests are subject to availability. Cancellations made at least one week prior to the trip may receive a refund. The same policies apply to changes or cancellation requests due to weather.

Information / Contacts
  • Parks Express Transportation Office: (510) 544-2205
  • EBRPD General Information/Park Maps/Free Park Brochures: 1-888-EBPARKS
  • Camping & Picnic Reservations, Naturalist & Recreation Programs: 1-888-EBPARKS

We are no longer accepting applications for 2018.
For requests in 2019, we will begin accepting applications on December 1, 2018.

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