Rural transit delivers benefits to Islanders - and environment
He may be only 13 years old, but Brady Chaisson already has plans for his future.
“My goal is to play major junior hockey or university hockey.”
And when government introduced rural public transit for Islanders, Chaisson got closer to making those plans a reality.
Last fall Chaisson and his parents, who live in eastern PEI, were looking at options where he could go to school and play hockey. They decided The Mount Academy in Charlottetown was the best fit.
“But because of living an hour away, it was very difficult to go there,” says Chaisson, a Grade 8 student who plays U15 major bantam hockey.
Then in October, the Province announced its plans for two public transit bus routes from Kings County to Charlottetown.
“It made our decision so easy.”
One route travels between Charlottetown and Souris, where Chaisson hops on every morning, while the other provides service between Charlottetown and the Three Rivers area.
A one-way fare for each rural transit route costs $2. This meant Chaisson used to pay about $20 a week to take the bus, but a recent announcement by the Province eliminated the fare for children under 18, like Chaisson. Now he rides for free.
“My parents are probably saving thousands of dollars on gas money.”
Having public transportation is essential for Islanders who can’t afford a car to get to work or travel to important events or appointments, says James Aylward, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.
“And with government’s goal of reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040, we knew we had to invest in new ways for Islanders to move around, while ensuring public transportation was reliable and affordable.”
Affordability is just one reason Toyin Adekanmbi, an international student at UPEI, enjoys taking the bus.
She says another reason to use public transit is to help reduce our personal carbon footprint.
“As an ambassador for climate change, I wanted to act as a role model,” says the Environmental Sciences student.
Four days a week, Adekanmbi takes the bus from UPEI’s Charlottetown campus to its campus in St. Peter’s Bay—at the Canadian Centre for Climate Change and Adaptation, where she specializes in climate change modelling.
It also saves her the expense of gas and car maintenance, she says.
“By my calculation, I will always save $80 in a week.”
Now, passengers from both ends of the Island can enjoy the service – and the savings – after government recently announced new routes for Prince County, starting in mid-April.
A route between Tignish and Summerside will provide transportation to Borden and Charlottetown and an inter-community route will run between communities in Prince County, allowing residents to get to work and school and access essential services.
“It was always government’s plan to provide a reliable and environmentally sustainable connection between the rural and urban areas of PEI,” says Minister Alyward.
“And now we’re doing just that.”