© Nancy MacPhee/Journal Pioneer
Mike Cassidy (left) of Trius Transit, transit driver Chris Melanson and Summerside Mayor Basil Stewart stand in front of the city’s new public transit bus during the announement earlier this year of a citywide pilot public transit service.
SUMMERSIDE — Public input into the city’s transit survey has been strong, with respondents saying what they like about it and what changes they would like to see happen with the service.
Nancy Quinn, economic development officer for the City of Summerside, said the survey concluded two weeks ago and the results are being tabulated with a second component yet to come.
“We got a lot of hard copy back and we had to input it,” Quinn said.
“We sent out hard copies in the July electric bill to help encourage people to get say to us. We’re tabulating it all now. The report will come at the end of September. We want to cover off the student corps coming into Holland College as part of the information.”
Quinn said, based on the number of respondents, the city should have a good gauge on what the public would like to see in a public transit system.
“We have enough to say that the results should be pretty accurate. It’s a good number. There has been feedback coming via email,” she said, noting she would like to have people contact her and talk to her directly, either by email or by telephone.
“I would love to hear from people particularly if they would like to be involved in an interview or in a one-hour focus group. We are not taking any more surveys because we’ve closed the survey end.”
The idea of a public transit system did get a thumbs-up from respondents and the city will be reviewing those responses to deal with the issue.
“Most people recognize that a transit system is something that a city needs to have,” Quinn said.
“People are all over the place on it. It’s got to be a cost/value service. How we decide to pursue it, one way or the other, that has to be given some consideration at the study level or at the council level.”
The financial issue involved in a public transit system is a detail that needs to be worked out.
“Funding is always an issue,” Quinn said.
“We’ve been continuing to support the pilot project. There are parts of the pilot project that, clearly, people appreciate but there have been suggestions from different people on how they think it could be improved.
“It gives a guideline for council to move forward on. The survey information, once interpreted, will also guide them as they review the budget system on the pilot project.”
A public transit system will also provide an opportunity for advertising for local business and the city, she added.
“There are lots of models where motor coaches do lease out space for wrapping where they work in partnership with other companies,” Quinn said.
“Depending on how the motor coach is, you can have the inside advertising or external. On external, there is temporary advertising. That’s higher priced and it’s not intended to be short-term. Trius has some advertising models that they use. The current transit is not something that the city owns and it hasn’t been in a position to influence it widely. It’s Mike Cassidy’s operation.”