Looking out from a car to a sunlit road

ICAN Rideshare survey may lead to a trial run next year

130 Cortes, Read and Quadra Island residents completed the Quadra ICAN rideshare survey, and another 36 responded to specific questions.

“Ride sharing is a really interesting alternative.  It wasn’t  the transportation solution that everyone is really looking for.   I think it’s just  a small part of trying to tackle this larger issue.  If it works for a few communities that’s great, but it’s not ‘the’ answer,” explained Aaryn Perreault-Laird, who is overseeing the program. 

She is currently studying in Ontario, but is a Quadra Island resident who once lived on Cortes Island. 

Screenshot taken during the interview

“We are going to probably take a break over the winter and revisit it when I return the next summer.  There has been talk of a trial run in that corridor from Read Island, Heriot Bay area to Quathiaski Cove,  along the ferry route. This would likely start sometime late next year. We’ve talked with someone about creating a webpage to  facilitate communication between riders and drivers.”

Cortes Island passengers will have to make their own way to Heriot Bay. Perreault-Laird explained that when she lived on Cortes, people dropped her off at the Whaletown ferry terminal. 

She added that the surveys for the three islands were pretty much the same except that Quadra residents were also asked what part of the island they lived in. 

There were 94 completed surveys from Quadra residents, 29 from Cortes Island and 7 from Surge Narrows on Read Island. 

A breakdown of the answers: 

  • Are you interested in ride sharing on Vancouver Island? – 61% of the Cortes responses, 55% from Surge Narrows and 42% from Quadra wrote ‘Yes.’
  • How old are you? – Most respondents were between 25 and 65 years old.
  • Most respondents were permanent rather than seasonal residents.
  • How frequently would you request a ride? – most respondents said  a few times a year or once a month,  or when it was most convenient. (This was the question that led Perreault-Laird to conclude rideshare isn’t ‘the’ answer to the area’s transportation problem, but it could be one of several answers.)
  • Are you willing to share a seat in your car?  Overwhelmingly, ‘yes’ – Surge Narrows 71%, Cortes 69% and Quadra 64%.
  • Would a contribution to the cost increase your interest in sharing your vehicle? – the responses were divided between Yes, No, and ‘Maybe.’
  • How often are you willing to offer a ride? – Most people were willing to offer a ride about once a month. 
  • What is your preferred source of ride sharing information? – Responses varied from island to island. Everyone in Surge Narrows wanted to use Facebook. Quadra respondents were divided between Facebook and a mobile or computer app option. Only 24% of the Cortes residents wanted Facebook, but 50% wanted a mobile or computer application.
  • Would you support a fee for service? – equally between Yes, No and Maybe. 
Rideshare is an International transportation solution – Washington State Department of Transportation via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License)

Perreault-Laird did not know how many of the respondents were drivers, but pointed out the 29 people who were willing to share a seat in their car would have been drivers. 

She also was not sure how much of an improvement this would be over the Tideline for Cortes residents.

“I really like the Tideline. I wish that Quadra had the Tideline, but they don’t. For Cortez residents, I guess the Rideshare would be in one place. On the Tideline, your post might not get missed,” responded Perreault-Laird.  “Maybe you would encourage more ride sharing because it’s a designated platform.”

She added, “This survey was created to get the general sense of what people were interested in.  It doesn’t seem like there’s an overwhelming desire for a  ride sharing service. There is some interest for sure, and I think that there would be a corridor where it would work well, but I also think that there needs to be other options.”

‘Got room for me?’ – Photo by Drozd (Own work) via Wikipedia (Public Domain)

 One idea was to ‘normalize’ hitch hiking, maybe having hitchhikers register or reintroducing the car stop program that Quadra experimented with a few years ago.

Top image credit: Riding inside a car on a bright sunny day – Photo by Nenad Stojkovic via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License)

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