After 20 years of carrying passengers to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, PEI’s Advance Shuttle has shut down. The company was purchased by Maritime Bus in 2012, who continued to operate it up until its final run on January 6, 2017. Maritime Bus had concluded that the cost of running the shuttle service in addition to their own bus services was no longer justifiable.
Despite losing the shuttle service, passengers travelling between Charlottetown and Halifax will be gaining additional bus options, as Maritime Bus has added additional late day departures in either direction. These extra buses will also benefit people along various parts of the route, by adding additional travel options later in the day.
While further bus options are a good thing, some passengers will no doubt be disappointed by the loss of the door-to-door service that the shuttle provided. For example, those going to Halifax for doctor’s appointments used to be able to get dropped off directly at the hospital, while they will now be dropped off at the bus station.
To help compensate for this change, Maritime Bus is entering into a partnership with Yellow Cab in Halifax, where passengers can purchase a flat-rate taxi chit for $7.50 that will take them anywhere they need to go in the city. According to Maritime Bus, these taxi chits will be available on request to former shuttle passengers when they book their tickets. Employees will then be able to call ahead to Halifax and arrange to have taxis ready and waiting at the bus station to take these passengers where they need to go. Maritime Bus told TAA that they plan to offer this service for as long as the demand continues, and they hope that demand will increase over time.
The decision to offer this option was made to respond directly to the main concerns that passengers raised regarding the termination of the shuttle service. The other major concern was the fate of long-time shuttle driver Gary Meyers; he has now been offered a full-time position as a bus driver with Maritime Bus out of Charlottetown.
The Yellow Cab partnership is an interesting multi-modal arrangement that represents a somewhat novel (at least around here) way to solve the “last mile” problem that public transportation systems face – that is, how do you convince people to use your mode of public transport, when they have to find a way to/from the station at the start and end of their trip? Well-integrated transit systems can be very helpful in this regard, and a partnership like this may help make the bus an attractive option that will convince people to continue leaving their cars behind.