People looking to take rural bus routes on P.E.I. can no longer take getting a seat for granted, says the Department of Transportation.
Soaring gas prices and the reopening of offices with pandemic restrictions ending have combined to fill the province's rural transit buses, said Alex Dalziel, a policy analyst with the Department.
"We're pleased to see that ridership has been steadily increasing and Islanders are choosing to leave their cars at home," said Dalziel.
"At the same time we don't want to see anyone left on the side of the road, which is why we're urging Islanders to call ahead and make sure your seat is booked."
If possible, travellers should try to book as much as a day ahead. Regular commuters can also make bookings.
The province is working with T3 Transit, the company that runs the transit system, to try to acquire new buses and shuffle around the current buses to meet demand. A 28-passenger bus has been moved onto the Souris-Charlottetown route, and a second small bus is being sought for the Charlottetown-Summerside route.
The route between Charlottetown and Summerside is particularly busy the first run of the day, at 6:30 a.m., and it sold out one day last week. One commuter, who had brought their car to park and ride, was able to transport the extra passengers.
Travellers can book via through T3 by email or by phone.