T3 Transit ridership growing steadily after massive drop in March
‘It was a storm that came in and I wanted to ride out the storm’
T3 Transit ridership on Prince Edward Island is continuing to climb after dropping 80 per cent in March due to COVID-19.
"We knew there were going to be changes," said Mike Cassidy, the owner of T3 Transit. "But nobody would ever have thought that my total ridership in transit would drop that much."
The company said it had plummeted to 450 passenger fares a day — a far cry from the 3,000 it was used to at that time of year.
"Four weeks down the road we got to 500 per day and then we got to 750 per day," said Cassidy. "Yesterday, for example, we did 1,500."
'They needed T3 Transit'
After 16 weeks, T3 transit is still down 40 per cent, but there is light at the end of the tunnel with the upward trend expected to continue.
"It was a storm that came in and I wanted to ride out the storm."
Throughout the pandemic, Cassidy said, the company was able to continue operating their normal schedule. It had the same number of buses, the same routes and every staff member remained working.
"Most of my business was gone but the business that remained, people were on the bus for a reason," he said.
"They needed T3 Transit and T3 Transit was there for them."
Hopeful for the future
Protocols are still in place for bus riders. For example, passengers are being asked to only use the service for work travel, medical appointments, food and shelter needs, and shopping for groceries and essentials. The company has also ramped up its cleaning routine and removed the three seats at the front of the buses.
"We have all adapted very well."
According to Cassidy, the recently announced COVID-19 cases on the Island didn't seem to impact ridership numbers. So for now, he hopes case numbers remain low, customers stay confident and the number of fares per day keeps going up.
"The key here is if you stand true to what you believe in … then we are here not only for today. We're not just here for COVID-19," said Cassidy.
"We've been doing T3 Transit for 15 years. And we're going to be doing it for another 15 and another 15 on top of that."