PEI

T3 Transit to bulk up fleet with 6 new diesel buses

Ottawa, the Government of P.E.I. and the capital-area municipalities are pitching in more than $5.2 million for six new diesel buses and two new mini-buses for T3 Transit, as well as replacing five para-transportation vans for Pat the the Elephant.

New diesel buses expected to be on the roads in 18 months

'My heart said we should be electric, but when it comes to evidence and the extra money … I had to say "let's just get six diesel buses ordered,"' Mike Cassidy says. (Isabella Zavarise/CBC)

The three levels of government are pitching in to purchase a new fleet of vehicles for T3 Transit and Pat and the Elephant.

Ottawa, the Government of P.E.I. and the three municipalities in the capital area will spend more than $5.2 million for six new diesel buses and two new mini-buses for T3 Transit as well as replacing five para-transportation vans for Pat and the Elephant.

The federal government has committed $2,008,066 to the project and the province is contributing $1,673,221. The City of Charlottetown and the towns of Cornwall and Stratford are collectively spending $1,574,265.

Mike Cassidy, the owner of T3, said over 3,000 people use the bus service each day and that it was time to bulk up the aging fleet. The order is in for the new buses and they should be complete and on the roads in 18 months, he said.

"You need to have equipment to run a bus system and as your equipment and vehicles age. It's no different than a car. It comes a time where you're saying to yourself 'The old car has to go and I got to get a newer or new car,'" he said.

"We need new buses to keep our system going each and every day."

From left, Premier Dennis King, T3 Transit owner Mike Cassidy, and Charlottetown MP Sean Casey stand in front of a T3 Transit bus. (Isabella Zavarise/CBC)

No electric buses right now

In January, T3 announced a proposal to replace its fleet with electric vehicles with 40 per cent of the costs being covered by the federal government. However, a transit committee with representatives from the three municipalities has rejected the proposal.

Electric buses are still in Cassidy's sights for the future, but he said the immediate need is to get six buses on the roads in the capital region.

"We do not have enough good evidence on the operation of an electric bus," he said.

"My heart said we should be electric, but when it comes to evidence and the extra money … I had to say 'let's just get six diesel buses ordered.'"

Cassidy said he hopes to have an order in by early 2020 to add an electric bus to the fleet.

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