GERTIE’s 8th anniversary coming up soon

Susan Yates

GERTIE Biographer

Wednesday, June 2 2021

Having been with the GERTIE crew since our community bus began its island roundabouts in June of 2013, I almost can’t believe we are approaching 8 years of operating a public transit service independent of BC Transit, but with so much support from our Regional Directors, our Island Trustees, and Gabriola businesses and residents. 

Looking back, it seems almost impossible that Gabriola supported a pilot project for 3 years, during which time there was only one paid employee – the Driver Coordinator.  All the drivers were volunteers, as were the operating Board members. The drivers and Coordinator are all now paid and have working hours that are divided equitably. The volunteer Board still works beautifully together and continues to accomplish what sometimes seem like minor miracles with the help of the GERTIE drivers and Coordinator. 

GERTIE’s operating budget has been assured by a Regional District tax levy since late 2016 (approx. 58% of our 2021 budget)  and we depend on donations, fares, and grants for the remainder of bus operations and services. As summer approaches, GERTIE will be hoping for more passenger fares; a fine balance these days between distancing on the bus and maintaining a reasonable level of service.

Numbers aside, since we cannot celebrate GERTIE’s 8th anniversary in a crowd-gathering way, we have decided that the best way to thank our wonderfully supportive community is to offer free rides for all passengers on Saturday June 12. The official launch was actually June 8, 2013, and GERTIE made its first trial runs around the island on June 3, 2013, in Thomas; the refurbished yellow school bus that bounced passengers like ping-pong balls going over some of our islands’ bumpy roads.

And, did you know that GERTIE is the Nesters roundup recipient for the month of May? No? Neither did we ‘til we found out by accident, but we are hoping that even with this late start in getting the word out that shoppers will ‘round up’ their grocery bills for GERTIE. And of course we are glad that Nesters is supporting GERTIE in this way.

The GCBF Board is looking forward (hopefully) to outdoor meetings in the next few weeks, but meanwhile I have to say that zooming this past year has allowed our feline support crew, George and Jove, to have as much screen time as their furry paws and fuzzy tails desire.