GERTIE getting through the dark days

Susan Yates

GERTIE Biographer

Wednesday, January 27 2021

By Valentine’s Day we will have enough light to walk home from the ferry and bus stops before dinner – I’m holding on to that for now. 

We will also have a new bus to replace our much-missed Jay D, which means it will soon be bus-naming time and you know how that works. 

A survey will soon be posted on the GERTIE website and we’ll let you know what the new bus looks like – probably very much like Jay D and Bertie Bus.

How’s that for keeping things positive after our winter of discontent? 

I’m not sure Shakespeare would agree but then trees falling on buses didn’t happen during his time. 

Plagues, however, certainly existed during the Bard’s reign and he lived his entire life in the dark shadow of the bubonic plague. 

All of this to say that GERTIE is limping through Covid-19 and so grateful for the community support in the way of donations these past few weeks. 

The GERTIE crew would like especially to thank the executors of John Beatty’s estate, who donated so generously to GERTIE. 

John was one of the first volunteer drivers during the 3-year pilot project, and continued as a driver after GERTIE became a ‘real’ bus system. 

John also developed GERTIE’s first mobile maps for drivers and riders to find the location of the buses with animations.

Another special donation was received in the mail last week – 3 handmade dry-bags to be used for collecting fares at the end of each day, so that no cash or tickets are left overnight on any of the buses. We may thank Ms. Emily Pike, who lived on Gabriola as a child, for this thoughtful gesture. She now lives in Victoria and likes to keep up (via the Sounder) with the latest GERTIE news.

If our requests to various government agencies for Covid relief funds are successful, we may be able to restore regular (pre-pandemic) service to the GERTIE routes before spring arrives. 

We will begin with the missing afternoon route, and then the morning run that was also cut. We are well aware that people have had to find alternate ways of getting to and from work and the village since the unplanned alteration of GERTIE’s schedules. Public transportation is more important than ever for both social and environmental reasons, and the GCBF Board always works with that in mind.