Tuesday, February 1

On The Buses

Further to the notion of Charlottetown getting a usable public transit system, I was thinking about what type of service I could live with.
Here are some thoughts:
-I live in Winsloe.  It currently takes me 15-20 minutes to drive (to the downtown waterfront) to work in the morning.  I leave my home at 8:40 to get to work for 9.  I would be willing to catch a bus at 8am and be content with whatever time I actually got to work (as long as it was before 9).  If the schedule forced me to take anything earlier than an 8am pickup and I would say the schedule is not going to work.
-If I missed the 8am (or whatever time it ended up being) pickup in Winsloe, I would expect the next bus to arrive at my stop within a half hour.  I wouldn't expect the 'every half hour' schedule to continue in Winsloe throughout the day.  I would expect, after morning rush, that a 'once an hour' schedule would suffice throughout the day, until evening rush.
-I finish work, on the waterfront in downtown Charlottetown at 5pm.  I would expect "the Winsloe Bus" to be at my downtown pickup spot by no later than 5:20.  I would hope to be home by 6pm, but would accept 6:15, probably.

Basically, I'm thinking I'm willing to add an extra 45 minutes each way to my commute.

What about evenings and weekends?
I would expect that public transportation to/from my Winsloe stop would be much more infrequent on  weekends and evenings.  What would I expect?  Perhaps every 2 hours, with the final 'downtown to Winsloe' pickup around 11pm, home before midnight?

I would be willing to pay $2 per one-way trip.  I would expect there to be a discount for pre-purchasing X number of trips.

What would you be willing to accept?


frankie said...

Knowing Islanders and their fickle way of thinking, I imagine anything the city comes up with will fall short of ideal. Eventually they will return to using their cars, and taxpayers will be paying the bill and remarking about how high their taxes have become.

Sidney said...

Hmm. It is interesting question. Public transit seems to not work as well in smaller cities because people have greater access to cars and walking and taxis are generally cheaper. I know that when I lived in Fredericton, I did not use the bus system once (despite not owning a car).
However, in Guelph, (a small city by southern Ontario standards) the bus system is very well used and quite busy. Their fare is 1.85$/use. However, you can buy a monthly pass and the service is free for University students. Well it isn't actually free, there is a build in fee within the students' tuition. The busses run from the centre of downtown where all routes begin every half hour. Again, Guelph has roughly 100 000 people Perhaps in Charlottetown you would need to have specific schedules for the different more distant routes. I think that your scheduling idea is a great one and you could have similar runs to Stratford, Cornwall, Sherwood and the like. It is just a matter of getting people to use the service. Also, a five to seven dollar run to Summerside or Montague would likely meet with some success.(Perhaps in the form of a fifteen passenger van?? Although if marketed properly, a bus could maybe fill). Taking the need to drive and allowing for some unwinding/reading and relaxation for those types of commuters would be great.
If you could demonstrate the savings in terms of gas, reductions in environmental pollutions, and twist it so that you could play on it increasing access of the city to Tourists (runs to Cavendish in the summer) and provided some early incentives for people this could work. Especially when you could give your kid 1.85 and send them on the bus to the movie theatre instead of having to coordinate pick ups. Same with after school activities and early morning band practice. Children's part time jobs, or shift working parents. Or any type of multiple demands on the family car.
Finally, one way that the bus can make additional money would be by having a couple of busses on the road late at night to bring people back to the University campus from the downtown bars. Something else that the University negotiated. Although perhaps not feasible with the smaller population of students in Charlottetown. I do still think that including this bus service as a student perk for both Holland College,the University, and ATHI is going to give the bus system a nice little cash incentive while also perhaps helping to draw more students or maybe revive some of the downtown (by opening it as a viable living place for those with no cars). But maybe I am being overly hopeful. It would seem my response is longer than your entry.

Rob said...

My post: 311 words
Your comment: 463 words
463 beautiful words.

graham said...


Sidney said...

Graham! where have you been?

graham said...

I've been to the caves, where I dwelt in my own mind ( not unlike Snorm ) on life, food and most impotently ( not importantly ) love. I learned that rocks are not edible.

Gooner said...

A bus ride from Winsloe to Downtown Ch'town might be take awhile with the morning traffic and all the stops that would be involved. You might be cutting it alittle close before 9am. I wonder how many buses it would take to cover all of Charlottetown and the outside areas?

graham said...

Not sure how many buses it would take. We could check with one of the hundreds of small cities/ large towns in this country that have a system.
As far as morning traffic, you're good. See with a bus system the traffic would be a lot less, right? Infact after a few weeks, I'd say, people would really be second guessing wasting a zillion dollars every morning in gas, and they get to see whatever person on the bus they have a crush on. That's what bus-faring is all about. Road love.