The town of Stratford has launched a pilot project for what it is calling an on-demand transit service.
The town has partnered with T3 Transit and the Kari ride-sharing app to provide services to parts of the municipality not currently connected to transit routes — including those travelling across the Hillsborough Bridge into Charlottetown.
"It's mostly Ward 3, Reeves Estates, Clearview, that area that currently isn't being served by transit," said Stratford Mayor Steve Ogden.
People can book a shuttle-bus ride the night before their trip using the Kari app, which can be downloaded on Android and Apple devices.
"The transportation vehicle will come to your door, pick you up, take you to the bus stop and [you] get on another bus and it'll take you across the bridge," said Ogden.
Officials gave a demonstration of the service Monday morning, with people from the town as well as area MLA Michele Beaton.
It costs $2 for an adult to use the service. The town is absorbing any additional costs, said Matthew Cassidy of T3 Transit.
He said people using the service in the evening will be able to get a connecting bus to Stratford and get picked up by the shuttle service to be dropped off back at home.
This is a way for people to access affordable housing and still be able to commute back and forth. - Matthew Cassidy, T3 Transit
The service is aimed at a few specific groups, Cassidy said: "That working commuter, someone instead of owning that second car,or someone who doesn't want to pay for parking."
He added: "Another key group is with our student population attending Holland College or UPEI."
Cassidy said the rising cost of renting an apartment in the city of Charlottetown is convincing people to seek out more-affordable places to live, often outside city limits.
"This is a way for people to access affordable housing and still be able to commute back and forth."
Matt MacLeod, co-founder of Kari, said he wants the service to expand to more rural areas of P.E.I. eventually, and this pilot is just a step in the process.
"Right now we have some rural booking available if you pre-book ahead of time," he said. "The hope is that the app will be a one-stop solution for transit and ride-sharing."
The Stratford residents covered by the pilot will be able to book a ride between 7 and 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday.
The pilot project ends December 20.but Ogden said the town might expand it past then if ridership is high.