Charlottetown resident wants more bus frequency; T3 Transit owner says he’s working on it
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —
A Charlottetown woman who relies almost solely on the transit system to get around says she’s tired of being forced to walk.
C.J. Verbeem, 34, who lives in a trailer park at the end of Kensington Road, doesn’t own a car and suffers from chronic pain in her legs.
Verbeem said she’s dealt with the frustration that the bus which handles her route doesn’t run on Sunday or doesn't run long enough into the evening hours during the work week for her to get home from her banking job downtown.
She said things reached a head Sunday during Farm Day in the City where 20,000 people poured into the downtown for the annual event. Verbeem came in to check out all the vendors but when she went to see if a taxi could take her home, all of the taxi services were overwhelmed with demand.
Verbeem said it forced her to walk two and a half hours to get home.
“That’s something this town really needs to look at. We’re a major city. We’re a capital city,’’ Verbeem said, referring to the need for an expanded transit service. “I have chronic pain where my knee can dislocate if I’m forced to walk long amounts of time. I’m an average person (and) I don’t get why the bus (system) doesn’t work for me.’’
Verbeem wants a bus that will take her to work, home when she gets off work at 7 p.m., and one into town in the evening, if she wants to go to a movie or out to supper.
“It’s great to have transit in this city. I love the bus so much. I want to take the bus. I really want to be part of the community without feeling like a disability is going to disclude me from it. I want to attend events (in the city),’’ Verbeem said, adding she doesn’t want to pay the physical toll on her body.
Mike Cassidy, who runs the transit service, said Tuesday he completely understands Verbeem’s concerns and is planning on overhauling the routes in 2020. He’s currently working on a proposal to present to the three municipalities the buses serve.
T3 Transit, which launched 14 years ago, just had its biggest September yet but Cassidy said there are challenges. The routes were completely redesigned in 2012 and it is likely to happen again next year.
Cassidy said he is looking at the need for more frequency on the main route (University Avenue) as well as additional frequency on the two perimeter routes, including buses running to 9:45 p.m.
“This is the year where we have questions to answer,’’ Cassidy said. “I have to prepare a proposal and I have to take it to the city. It needs an overhaul. We have to look at it. We’re taking this seriously. I’m trying to redesign (the routes). We’re trying to change how we do it and I’m working on it right now.’’