GERTIE ridership grows 28% in 2017

Susan Yates

Sounder News

Tuesday, January 16 2018

A thorough statistical comparison of GERTIE ridership between 2016 and 2017 made for great conversation at the first GCBF meeting for 2018. Who would have guessed that the number of dogs riding the buses would double in one year? Adult ridership also increased significantly - up about 2600, rising from 9,196 in 2106 to 11,790 by the end of 2017. The months of July, August, October and November also saw significant increases in ridership between 2016 and 2017. Sometimes it’s easy to explain a statistical difference, like the increase in visitors who enjoy touring the island on GERTIE over the summer, or the need to take the bus in winter months when vehicles get snowed in. 

The extended mid-day runs from late May to early fall resulted in increased ridership on all levels (per hour, route and day) and prove most useful as expected, from June to September. You might guess that Tuesday is GERTIE’s busiest day of the week - after 2 days of rest, the buses are more popular. For a clear, concise, and complete view of the 2016-17 GERTIE ridership stats, have a look on the website at www.gertie.ca. 

The annual GERTIE Christmas carol singalong bus proved to be as joyous as ever, with a ride around the island to view the best light displays, many bumpity songs, and much-appreciated refreshments at the Agi Hall before returning to the Village bus stop. We give hearty thanks to Carol Billyard and Deborah Ferens for setting up the food and decorations so beautifully at the Agi Hall, and sincere thanks to our 3 bus drivers: Scott Smith, Roger Bouchard, and Steve Earle. And of course to our carol leaders Leah Hokanson and Carolyn Bell. I would also like to thank young Nate Fraser, who really knows his Christmas carols, and who has a voice like an angel, even from the back of a bumpy bus!

 If you’ve seen GERTIE’s newest snow-coloured bus (ignoring the mud) you might have noticed the new bike rack and spiffy decals. If you are inspired to help us name the new bus, watch for the survey to appear soon on the website. So far we know that the best feature of the new bus is….getting on and off via a door that actually opens (we do appreciate the simple things on Gabriola). And now at last, the survey we did complete: the Stuff on my Bus photo contest winner was Kate Pearson and her 2 Nigerian dwarf goats - maybe next year our stats will show double the number of goats!

We said goodbye and Happy Retirement to Steve Polzin at the end of December - he’s been a friendly, extra-helpful driver for GERTIE since the start of the pilot project in 2013, and we miss him. 

On that note, GERTIE is looking for another part-time driver, and we encourage anyone who is interested to check the job posting at gertie.ca. 

Please see also the relevant ad in this issue of The Sounder (page 6).