Prince Edward Island is launching two new bus routes in the first step toward creating an Island-wide public transit system.
The province said starting Tuesday, Oct. 12, a route will connect Charlottetown with St. Peters and Souris, and a second will link the capital with the Montague, Cardigan and Georgetown areas.
The routes will be operated by T3 Transit and cost riders $2 per trip. They will run three round trips per day, Monday to Friday.
T3 Transit owner Mike Cassidy says the announcement is a "game-changer" for public transportation on the Island.
"The affordability of 'toonie transit' is unbelievable," he said. "This will be the envy of every province and territory across Canada, what Prince Edward Island has announced today. No question."
Connections to the existing transit system in the Charlottetown area and other stops along the routes will be available.
People can pre-book seats through the Kari app.
The routes are the first phase in the government's commitment to a province-wide public transit system.
"These new routes will lay the foundation for the future growth of [a system] where we'll grow on-demand service picking you up at your doorstep and connecting you with these routes to travel the Island — a system where electric school buses will be utilized in our communities outside of their hours of transporting students to school to connect with these main routes," Premier Dennis King said in a speech Wednesday.
The province plans to further expand the program in early 2022 to include a western P.E.I.connection to communities west of Summerside, including Tignish, Alberton and O'Leary.
The government says the program will reduce P.E.I.'s carbon footprint and help the province meet its 2040 net-zero emission target.
King said it cost the province a couple hundred thousand dollars to get the project rolling, but that it was an "easy investment" for the government to make.
"It's a very efficient way to travel, it's environmentally safe, it's affordable and it's efficient," he said. "I think it will catch on quickly and I think it will be something that ... will grow quickly and will become part of the fabric of what we are here on P.E.I."