Statement by Ole Hammarlund, Official Opposition Critic for Transportation and Infrastructure, on shortcoming in Island wide transit plan
A good service helps people. A great service helps all people. The rural bus service announcement is good. It will help people in rural areas to travel to places of employment, school, and appointments at affordable rates.
However, the service as presented isn’t great. Already our office is getting calls from Islanders who are being left behind.
Islanders needing mobility assistance will not be able to use this new bus system unless they book travel at least 72 hours in advance. This means if they need to attend a walk-in clinic, or make a last minute appointment with a specialist, or go run an unexpected errand, or attend a job interview, or need to help family in another community, they will be unable to go.
This requirement to prebook a ride is an unnecessary barrier to equality. It is unfair to those who are more likely to need this ride service. Did the Minister of Transportation consult with organizations like the PEI Council for People with Disabilities before developing this plan? Did he speak to the PEI Senior Citizens’ Federation?
I would like to remind the King government to not make plans only using a business lens. Decisions like this should benefit people first and foremost. It must help all people who call this Island their home.
This is a great time to improve accessibility for all our transit services. I am asking the Minister to review all transit and to remove barriers preventing people from benefiting from convenient, affordable transit. To be successful we must ensure it is truly accessible for all Islanders.
Ole Hammarlund, MLA Charlottetown-Brighton
Official Opposition Critic for Transportation and Infrastructure