PEI

Maritime Bus seeing more demand as opening of Atlantic bubble closes in

Maritime Bus says it's been seeing an increase in demand since the Atlantic pandemic bubble — which begins Friday — was announced.

80 tickets sold so far, but owner thinks number will hit 250 by Friday

In April, there were fewer than 100 people riding buses across Atlantic Canada every day. (Ben Silcox/CBC)

Maritime Bus says it's been seeing an increase in demand since the Atlantic pandemic bubble — which begins Friday — was announced.

Mike Cassidy, owner of Maritime Bus Coach Atlantic, says 80 tickets have been sold, but he is expecting that number to reach to 250.  

"Normally in the bus business you sell 40 to 50 per cent of your tickets the day of the travel," Cassidy said. 

"Most of your ridership and tickets are sold within 48 hours." 

Before the pandemic hit, the company was offering service seven days a week.

'15 years of being in the city transit in Charlottetown and COVID-19 couldn't take us out,' says Mike Cassidy, about T3 Transit. (Travis Kingdon/CBC)

But with public health restrictions and many people not leaving home, Maritime Bus cut service to three days a week.

In April, there were fewer than 100 people riding buses across Atlantic Canada every day.

Services coming back

With the announcement of an Atlantic Bubble, service is coming back. Sunday service begins this weekend and will be offered throughout the season. 

"The best days to travel during the week," said Cassidy, "are Friday and Sunday."

To adhere to public health measures, each seat is separated by a plastic partition. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

Riders will notice some changes to their trips. To adhere to public health measures, each seat is separated by a plastic partition similar to what has been installed at retail and grocery stores.

Each bus will carry 25 passengers at a time and if tickets do sell out, Cassidy said he will add more buses.

Cassidy said he hopes to be offering bus services seven days per week by August. 

Cassidy said T3 Transit, which he also owns, is also seeing a rebound in ridership, with sales sitting around 60 per cent of what they were last year.

"15 years of being in the city transit in Charlottetown and COVID-19 couldn't take us out," said Cassidy. 

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Travis Kingdon

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