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This is the first sentence under About Us on the P.E.I. government website (www.princeedwardisland.ca): "The Department of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy provides for essential transportation systems for the travelling public and the effective and efficient transport of goods."
Imagine if the Department of Transportation and Tourism P.E.I. announced daily bus service all around the province for the summer season! For instance, daily round-trips between Charlottetown and a couple of local beaches. Or two busses travelling in opposite directions on each of the three Coastal Drives. Perhaps also two busses travelling in opposite directions around the entire island. A savvy planner would figure out how to connect the routes so that passengers could transfer onto another route to reach a desired destination.
Instead ACOA, using federal money, is helping to fund designs, studies, research and marketing endeavours to the tune of a few hundred thousand dollars, some of which may not even see the light of day in the next month or two (Investing in Atlantic tourism, June 25, page A4).
Instead, Tourism P.E.I. exhorts Islanders to add various destinations to their "P.E.I. Staycation Bucket list", creates an Activate Our Island website featuring a gamut of areas to visit, and sponsors ads such as P.E.I.’s Coastal Drives, which automatically exclude anyone who can’t drive, doesn’t drive, or doesn’t have access to a motor vehicle.
Imagine if non-driving, low-income, older, younger, newcomer and year-round resident Islanders were able to jump on a bus, pay a modest fare, and explore places they perhaps hadn’t visited before. Imagine if they finally had an opportunity to go to the beach. Imagine if they had the chance to experience a "never-to-be-forgotten summer". Imagine if that many more people had the way and the means to support Island tourism operators.
“If you make things accessible for all, you automatically make things easier for everyone.”
Does the government realize that it is excluding certain segments of the population from participating in myriad activities that are inaccesible to them precisely because they can’t drive, don’t drive or have access to a motor vehicle?