On the Bus, Day Two

Oliver and I go to the Charlottetown Farmer’s Market most Saturday mornings. And this morning Oliver insisted that we take the bus rather than the car, thus proving that hope is with the children.

We caught the 10:00 a.m. from the Atlantic Technology Centre and arrived at the Atlantic Superstore at 10:15; the bus made a special stop up by the Belvedere Ave. sidewalk, and we got off and walked across University Ave. to the Market (seems like it would take a long time; takes 4 minutes).

One would think that weirdo hippie freaks (a term I use with endearment) who come out of the woodwork for the Market every Saturday would be a natural public transit constituency, but save for one fellow traveller, we were it. Of course there is a tendency in the weirdo hippie freak community to live in the country, so one wouldn’t expect a complete absence of cars — but I know that some of my fellow market-goers are “downtown livers” (as Catherine Hennessey calls us), so there’s some work to be done.

We walked back over to the Superstore for the 11:15 a.m. bus, which turned out, because I misread the schedule, to be the 11:30 a.m. bus. We were back downtown at 11:40.

The schedule is almost perfect for spending an hour at the market, and I would encourage my fellow downtown livers to give it a try.

I learned last night that one of the helpful “concierge-educators” that we encountered on yesterday’s trip is Charlottetown business impresario Mike Cassidy, one of the partners in the bus initiative. Kudos to Mike for a truly hands-on approach to business; sitting near the front we could see the bus service literally evolve before our very eyes as decisions were made to adjust the schedule and stops to accommodate the real world.

This Guardian article provides a good summary of plans for the service, including this:

A single bus will be assigned to each route at the time of launch, but Cassidy said they hope to build the fleet to as many as nine buses in the next 24 months so that they can pick up more people during times of heavy ridership. As Cornwall and Stratford decide whether to join the new setup, Cassidy said new routes will hook the suburbs to the city core.

If that pans out, I think we’ll end up with a very usable transit system, “ye olde” buses and all.