City council will be receiving new plans and new initiatives for a public bus service within Summerside.
The city and Mike Cassidy, president of the Maritime Bus Company, partnered over a year ago to bring a public transit system to Summerside. The city contributed $2,500 per month to the plan for the first year. That funding ran out in May.
But Cassidy has continued to operate the line without any additional commitment from the city.
Details of what are in the package going before council have not been revealed but should include more public funding.
Council must look seriously at supporting this initiative and providing the money to help keep the service afloat until it can get on its own feet.
The city has been a big promoter of green power and reducing their carbon footprint on the environment.
A public transit system could help do this.
An argument could be made that taxpayers' dollars should not go to help fund a private business. And that argument has some logic behind it.
But the city should consider a public transit system as an investment in the future, not as a cost - an investment that could bring much bigger returns than its cost. Not only would it provide mobility to many seniors, students and the public in general, it could be a huge selling point in attracting new people to the area.
Cassidy is certain he can make the plan work and has demonstrated his commitment to the service.
The city funding ran out last May. Cassidy could have folded his tent and moved away but he continues to provide the service despite the lack of municipal contributions.
"I haven't walked away from the idea," he said.
The regional Maritime Bus service has been a huge success under Cassidy and he said he intends to bring that same thinking to the municipal service in Summerside.
He has one municipal service operating successfully in Charlottetown.
Education and marketing are key areas to making the transit service a success in Summerside and these are two areas where the city can make good on its investment in the plan to maintain public transit in the city. Here's where Summerside could contruibute to keeping those wheels on the bus going.