Charlottetown-area transit sees big leap in ridership

The start of the school year has brought a lot more riders on T3 Transit in Charlottetown, Cornwall and Stratford, says company owner Mike Cassidy.

"Once university, college, schools started last week, right the day after Labour Day, on Tuesday, we have just had an explosion in ridership in all three communities," said Cassidy.

"We were at the point last week and the first part of this week that we were leaving passengers behind on University Avenue."

Cassidy said the company has started to run two buses together up University Avenue for the early morning run so no one is left behind.

The company is on the way to breaking its monthly record from November of last year by a large margin, he said. In that month in Charlottetown it had 2,850 fares a day. This month it is running closer to 3,100 a day.

Growth in Cornwall has been explosive, jumping from 53 to 159 a day. Cassidy credits the use of the Dutch Inn as a student residence for UPEI this fall. T3 has added two midday runs to Cornwall.

Pat Martel/CBC

Stratford has also seen good growth, from 170 to 227 fares a day.

The growth is clearly connected to the start of the school year, said Cassidy. He suspects there has been growth in enrolment at UPEI and Holland College.

"International students, and students in general, are transit users," he said.

Cassidy said if this trend continues he will have to consider purchasing larger buses. Currently T3 operates 30-foot buses, which he said are much easier to navigate around Charlottetown's older streets. The higher ridership may force him to consider 35-foot buses, he said.

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