New rural transit routes launch in western P.E.I.

·2 min read
A new transit route leaves from Tignish and goes through Summerside, Borden-Carleton and south shore communities before finishing in Charlottetown. A second new route travels between smaller communities in the West Prince region.  (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC - image credit)
A new transit route leaves from Tignish and goes through Summerside, Borden-Carleton and south shore communities before finishing in Charlottetown. A second new route travels between smaller communities in the West Prince region. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC - image credit)

Tuesday marked the first day of service for two rural transit routes in western P.E.I.

One leaves from Tignish and goes through Summerside, Borden-Carleton and south shore communities before finishing in Charlottetown. The second route travels between smaller communities in the West Prince region.

Both routes — which cost $2 a trip and must be booked at least three hours in advance — will run Monday to Friday for now.

Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure James Aylward said only a handful of passengers used the service, but it's a start.

"We had, I believe, three people coming in from [the] western end of the province," said Aylward.

"One person got off in Summerside to go to work and two individuals got off at Slemon Park where they work.... That means there [were] three cars off the road as well."

Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC
Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC

Tignish Mayor Allan McInnis said the expansion to the west is a good thing and wouldn't be exclusive to commuters who live there.

"People wanting to visit this end of the Island [have] a better opportunity to come up here as well," he said.

The new routes were announced last month as part of a plan to create an Island-wide public transit system to get more cars off the roads and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In October, rural routes in eastern P.E.I. were launched, also with fares set at $2 per trip. (Public transit routes on P.E.I. are free for anyone 18 years of age and younger.)

Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC
Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC

Aylward said the rural public transit ridership has been steadily increasing, with a milestone of 11,000 users since its launch last year.

Premier Dennis King also acknowledged the importance of the service in the legislature Tuesday.

"The rates are very favourable, and it's a good way for Islanders to go about our province," he said.

Department of Transportation officials said the anticipated cost to the provincial government for the rural transit pilot is approximately $1.8 million.

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