GERTIE meets the Beast!

Susan Yates

GERTIE Biographer

Tuesday, August 19 2014

Compared to the arduous feat of running the Brickyard Beast 10 kilometres, GERTIE’s task was easy and fun - transporting 95 of those undaunted runners to and from the ferry and the starting point of the race. Events like this means GERTIE is never bored - there are plenty of Gabriola summer events to spice up the daily bread-and-butter commuter runs. By the time you read this, GERTIE will have helped out with the Lions Concert on the Green, the 59th Annual Salmon Barbecue, and at least two big Gabriola weddings. 

I had the pleasure of riding GERTIE twice - a morning and an afternoon run - last Tuesday, and I saw and heard some very happy things. Our volunteer drivers act as tour guides for visitors who ride on GERTIE, and they do an admirable job of introducing our beautiful island.

On Tuesday afternoon The Gathering Place youngsters take GERTIE back up the hill from the ferry, after their field trips in town; this past Tuesday they hiked around Newcastle Island and came back looking pretty pooped, but very happy to get on GERTIE for the last leg of their day’s trip. The best part is that driver Peter Grin kindly takes them all the way to The Gathering Place before going back to complete the rest of the Berry Point run. 

 The recently added Friday midday runs have been very popular so far, and we thank new driver Monica Wind for her energy and dedication in taking on this addition to the schedule. And speaking of popular, the long weekend Saturday saw more than 40 passengers for GERTIE, many of them boaters from Silva Bay who enjoy visiting the Village area when they land on our fair shores. Our Saturday driver Bob Elliot puts that special volunteer “va-voom” into every Saturday’s midday trip. 

Two comments from our Silva Bay passengers really put the glow in GERTIE’s headlights: a family who has been visiting Silva Bay for 25 years came to the Village for the first time, because of GERTIE; and a couple who have been coming to Silva Bay for 30 years were likewise delighted to come “all the way into town” for the first time, on GERTIE! Yes, GERTIE is good for business while helping to build community and reduce the number of individual vehicles on our roads. The GERTIE gang is very pleased to welcome new driver Dick Hamilton, who recently completed the Class 4 unrestricted test in Duncan, and who plans to be one of our regulars. 

We always welcome new drivers because the job is so much easier (and more enjoyable) when it’s shared - if you’re interested in helping out, your driver training is paid for by GERTIE, and you will get lots of help with the training.

A draft of the GERTIE Financial and Volunteer Operational Sustainability Factors Report is being reviewed and finalized by the G-gang; it’s an important document that chronicles the costs and operation of the Gabriola Environmentally Responsible Trans-Isle Express - that’s what GERTIE stands for by the way - pilot project, now in its fourteenth month of operation. 

We are now confident that every word in the GERTIE initialism rings with verity. The document will help guide us through the next year of the project and provide important information for our community and our generous sponsors.

And speaking of sponsors - last week GERTIE received a most welcome anonymous donation of $3,254, which will immediately be used for ongoing operations. 

We are very grateful to such community-minded donors - thanks to you, the wheels on the bus go happily round.

You can check www.gertie.ca for late-breaking news and schedule updates. Your comments, queries, suggestions and ideas for volunteering can also be sent from the website.