City seeking input about transit

Nancy MacPhee
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SUMMERSIDE – The City of Summerside is seeking input from residents on what works and what doesn’t when it comes to its current transit system.

Mike Cassidy (left) of Trius Transit, transit driver Chris Melanson and Summerside Mayor Basil Stewart stand in front of the city’s new public transit bus. A citywide pilot public transit service will begin this Tuesday and run five days a week. The city is contributing $2,500 a month to the pilot project.

T3 Transit has been operational since early July, offering a five-day-a-week bus service in the city for a $2 one-way fare.

At its launch, Trius Tours’ Mike Cassidy said once the citywide system was operational for two months he expected 300 daily fares.

But ridership has been much lower than expected, with numbers often below 10 passengers per day.

Coun. Ron. Dowling said at November’s council meeting that public input is needed in order to figure out what will get more people on the bus.

“Public transportation benefits all residents, whether they use it or not. It gets people to places that are important to them — jobs, medical appointments, educational opportunities and much more,” added Dowling, the city’s economic development chair.

“Public transportation is crucial to the economy. It makes and maintains jobs, helps to revitalize business districts and it allows employers to tap into a larger workforce. It stimulates commerce and increases property values and reduces our dependence on oil and helps cut our carbon footprint.”

The city currently subsidizes the pilot system to the tune of $2,500 per month. The pilot, consisting of one bus running on two predetermined routes, ends May 31, 2013.

Currently, there are no bus stops, only intersections on the route acting as a stop.

Dowling admitted that the current system, like most public transportation systems, is not without its challenges.

“We do want to hear from our citizens in this regard,” said Dowling. “In the future we may have several buses, ideally electric buses, serving our community and our neighbours. However, it all starts with one bus. If we want it to happen we must continue to improve on what we have.”

He added that the city is currently working with T3 Transit on various marketing initiatives aimed at raising public awareness of the city’s system.

“Ultimately, the success of public transportation in Summerside will depend on ridership. We want to provide every opportunity to its success,” said Dowling. “We want to know what the public sees as the positives and sees as the negatives about a public transportation system in Summerside and how we can make it better.”

Dowling encouraged anyone with comments, concerns or recommendations, to contact the city’s economic development department.

Geographic location: Summerside

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Recent comments

    November 25, 2012 - 13:05

    Dear Trius curious, the bus is fully wheelchair accessible and Dear Upset... nice that you can afford a taxi. Hey, I do not have a car and the kind island neighbours do not seem to think of offering a car less neighbour a ride. I pay taxes and $2,500.00 per month is a very good way of spending tax dollars. Any progressive society looks to improve services to its residents. The negative attitude for any attempt at improvement would still have us with no street lights or sewage lines or sidewalks. We have a wonderful city and a Mayor and council that work very hard to make improvements. What have you done to improve your city and when was the last time you said thank you to those that give their time to make a difference?

  • Trius Curious
    November 22, 2012 - 07:21

    This is more government funded transportation. Will this service be fully wheelchair accessible and not one or two buses where you have to guess which route it is on to use it?

    • Trillium
      November 23, 2012 - 22:41

      both buses are wheelchair accessible.

  • Really?
    November 21, 2012 - 22:00

    Am I crazy or is there ANYONE in authority who uses any amount of common sense at all anymore? I do not recall a story at any time in the past saying that the people of Summerside and surrounding area were lobbying City Council for public transit! I mean, why does Mayor Stewart and council allow people like Mr. Cassidy to talk them into a subsidy for a service no one uses? If Mr. Cassidy anticipated ridership of 300 passengers per day by now, and is averaging 10....seems to me that IS public input! Basil...quit wasting taxpayer money on something no one seems to want or need. And Coun. Dowling should also give his head a shake! Public transit is great in large metropolitan cities, but last time I checked, Summerside is quite a long way from qualifying as such a metropolis. Please Mayor Basil and council, rescind this silliness and keep OUR money for more needy places like street repair and other infrastructure needs.

  • Common sense please
    November 21, 2012 - 21:11

    For heaven's sake City Council and Mr. Cassidy....don't you think expecting 300 passengers per day and getting only 10 is enough public input? Obviously is is a service the public does NOT WANT! Quit wasting taxpayer money on a millionaires dream!

  • Jimmy
    November 21, 2012 - 18:26

    Summerside is too small to support this

  • Upset with taxpayers money
    November 21, 2012 - 18:09

    Taxpayers of Summerside are paying $2500.00 a month to have 10-15 people traveling on the bus on any given day. This is rediculous to think the transit system will make it here. With no disignated stops and no where to go downtown, why would anyone want to take this bus. When you call a taxi you know when they are arriving and your trip is faster to where you are going. How would anyone ever think 300 people in Summerside will take the bus daily. With the millions mismanaged over the concert recently and now giving the company $2500.00 monthly for 10-15 people a day is just another example of how this Mayor and Council are thinking. Who comes up with these far fetched dreams? Councilor Dowling should keep on being a sheriff and stay out of these conflict of interest situations. Can't be both. Lets not forget the big salaries the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and all councilors are getting after they recently voted on. I would like to see a forensic audit done within City Hall, than we will see all the transparency and accountability we were promised.

  • what about if...
    November 21, 2012 - 17:27

    maybe open it up between 11:00pm and 3:00am on fri and sat nights. might even cut down on drinking and driving..