Public transit, a good investment

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A city on the move needs a public transit system.

 

The ability to travel around the community and be able to access shopping centres, hospitals, restaurants and events is something that should available to all sectors of the population.

The City of Summerside and Trius Transit are working on such a plan and they are engaging the public to take part in mapping it out to ensure it will meet everyone’s needs.

They are conducting a survey on a public transit system and are looking for marketing ideas that best suit the needs of residents in the city.

Trius has had a pilot project running in Summerside for about a year-and-half and it’s had its ups and downs. There have been issues with the public being unsure where the bus stops were, what the exact routes were and the timetable for arrivals and departures.

Some of these glitches were worked out and the bus line continues to operate in the city.

Mike Cassidy, president of Trius Transit and the Maritime Bus Company, said, their greatest success to date in Summerside was with the senior population but he wants the service to be embraced by all of the residents.

The city provides a variety of services to the public that do not make money, and never will make money, but are necessary.

Credit Union Place will never turn a profit, and losses money every year. Ballparks, public parks and green spaces cost money to maintain with no financial return.

The city puts money into the local theatre because it is a service that is attractive to new development.

Now, city council is looking to put tax dollars behind a transit system the will connect the downtown core with the uptown shopping centres and Prince County Hospital and all of the business and services in between.

Cassidy admitted that transit systems are not moneymakers.

“If we wanted to do a strict financial numbers inside any community across Canada, I don’t know if we could make a financial argument (for it),” he said. “I don’t think we would show a return on investment for transits anywhere. I don’t think your ball diamonds give us any returns on investments. Your civic rinks couldn’t give you a return on your investment. Yet, we all know that they’re part of the fabric of the community.”

Just because it doesn’t make money doesn’t mean it is not important.

It’s an investment in the future economic growth of the community; it is a strengthening of the fabric of the community and it would be money well spent.

Organizations: Maritime Bus Company, Union Place, Prince County Hospital

Geographic location: Summerside, Canada

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