GERTIE wins $10,000 from BC Hydro online contest

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Monday, December 9 2013

The GERTIE bus is $10,000 richer after being one of five winners in the BC Hydro Community Champions competition.

From October 15 to November 15, supporters of the organizations entered into the competition were able to vote online.

And Island Futures, the Gabriola-based, registered non-profit society which facilitates the GERTIE bus system, garnered enough votes to be one of the five winners.

In a press release, the GERTIE organizers said they were excited to receive the monies and would use it to, “keep the “community” in community bus. We’ll continue to provide reliable service on the regular routes, and we’ll keep providing transportation for community events.”

Karla Louwers, representing BC Hydro, said the GERTIE application was in direct alignment with the Community Champion program criteria (contributes to sustainability, energy focus, benefits to the community, video quality, and youth and school engagement).

“The Community Champions program engages non-profit organizations that demonstrate environmental leadership in their community and provides an opportunity to highlight their initiatives.

“This year we had 34 non-profit applicants, 15 were selected as finalists and 5 selected as winners. There were over 55,000 votes for the selected finalists.

“BC Hydro is proud to support the great work of Island Futures, an inspiring environmental community leader making a difference.”

In applying to be a part of the competition, GERTIE organizers had to list what they would spend the monies on if they won.

The stated goals GERTIE organizers had bookmarked for the $10K were:

 • To extend and improve the existing service in accordance with our experience to date, combined with comments received in a recent survey and several neighbourhood meetings;

 • Increase the number of midday runs from three to five per week, and add five runs perweek to pick up commuters arriving on the 6:10 p.m. ferry from Nanaimo;

 • Pick up seniors once per month and drive them to and from their luncheon; 

 • Purchase equipment to enable more efficient processing of waste vegetable oil, which is procured from local restaurants for use in the buses.

Steve Earle, one of the lead organizers for GERTIE, said these were still the plans for the funding, “although not necessarily all right away.

“For example, extending midday service will likely be delayed until the spring sometime when we expect the midday ridership to be higher than it is now (based on our experience in the summer).

“Extending the afternoon service to the 6:20 p.m. ferry from Nanaimo will depend on having enough volunteer drivers.”

GERTIE service to ferry meeting at community hall

Gertie will be providing transportation to the ferry meeting happening on Tuesday, December 10 at the community hall.

Regular service for GERTIE on the Silva Bay (SB) route leaves the Village at 4:30 and 5:30 p.m. arriving at the community hall at 5:00 and 5:50 p.m. respectively.

Passengers can use other GERTIE routes to get to the Village in time to connect with the SB bus, or can get picked up en route (the first run goes by Silva Bay at 4:46 p.m. and the later one at 5:48 p.m.). 

There will be a special GERTIE service to take passengers home along regular routes at 8:00 p.m. Regular fares apply.