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This reporter completely understands the importance of public transportation.

I had to rely on the public transit system when living in Halifax, NS, first as a student and then as a working person. When a person doesn’t have access to a reliable vehicle, public transit is essential and you become completely dependent on it.

Without public transit, life can be difficult for people, possibly limiting where an individual can live and work.

Last week, PEI’s provincial government announced the first phase of an Island-wide public transit system with two new public transit routes to eastern PEI. The program is expected to expand in early 2022 to include a western PEI route connecting communities west of Summerside, creating an Island-wide system from Tignish to Souris.

If successful, Islanders will be able to travel from one end of the Island to the other even if they don’t have access to a vehicle.

This is something many have been advocating for a while now because an Island-wide public transit system brings a lot of possible benefits and creates numerous opportunities.

There’s the obvious environmental impact, but having a public transit system Island-wide also offers those living outside the main population centres on the Island access to services and jobs across PEI. It could also encourage more people to live outside the Island’s two major urban areas, growing rural populations. It could also possibly reduce accidents on Island roads and incidents of impaired driving. At the very least, this new transit system will make getting from Point A to Point B a little easier for those Islanders without a vehicle.

A project like this shows how a small province like PEI is the perfect place to try and achieve big ideas that could have an everlasting impact. Maybe the provincial government will next consider finally trying a guarantee basic income program on PEI.

Hopefully, Island residents will use this new public transit system, helping it to grow and evolve, because it’s an idea that has the potential of being highly effective and beneficial to Islanders.

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