Quadra ICAN is trying to gage the public support for a ride share program on Quadra, Cortes and Read Islands.
On their website, it states “Ride sharing is essentially carpooling. A driver offers a seat in their car to other community members seeking a ride to a similar destination. It is an environmentally conscious, cost effective, ferry line reducing and community building alternative mode of transportation.”
“Especially on these islands, it is a cheap and low maintenance way of getting across on the ferry and making your day a bit shorter instead of waiting in line for a long time. We’ll reduce carbon emissions and in my opinion it’ll make biking safer on the island because there’ll be less people driving and it might make walking a little bit safer,” added Aaryn Perreault-Laird, who is in charge of this program.
Some of you may remember her from the Cortes Radio program Aaryn and Levi, Songs of Love and Hate. She woofed at BlueJay Lake farm before moving to Quathiaski Cove with her boyfriend.
Perreault-Laird joined the transportation committee after heard Leona Skovgaard, Chair of Quadra ICAN, on Cortes Radio.
“I think Leona was doing an interview with you about transportation,” she explained.
There are only three people in the transportation committee. Some are looking into cycling options.
“I had initially wanted to do a survey about transportation in general and then my group encouraged me to focus in on something and kind of gauge the interest. You don’t want to just do a whole bunch of stuff and then no one actually used the systems that you’ve implemented,” explained Perreault-Laird. “So I develop a ride share survey to see if people are actually interested in ride sharing in these communities as a talking point and a jumping off point about how can we better address some of the problems for transportation in the communities?”
Someone wrote that there is already a Facebook group for ride sharing, but Perreault-Laird found it didn’t come up when she googled for local ride share.
“I figured that if we can get it under the ICAN umbrella, then it would be a bit more publicized.”
She has had personal experiences of the need. Coming home from Courtenay, the line-up at the Campbell River ferry terminal was so bad that she left Levi and crossed as a foot passenger. He had to wait for three or four ferries. On another occasion, they wanted to press apples over on Cortes Island, but aborted the trip because of the line-up at Heriot Bay.
There was an attempt to set up a ride sharing program on Quadra before, but some of the Quadra ICAN people told Perreault-Laird it wasn’t advertised well enough.
This service might prove to be invaluable for people living in north Quadra or Read Islands.
Some Cortes residents want a bus to carry them across Quadra Island, and this idea has been tried on other islands.
Perreault-Laird responded, “I think it’s a wonderful idea but there’s something a little bit smaller, that takes less overhead and where people kind of organize themselves.”
The Vancouver Island Ride Share program uses a private Facebook page to connect would be drivers and passengers. It has been operating since late 2013 and there are 6,200 members.
Perrault-Laird knows there are a number of people who don’t use Facebook, but is presently thinking that the best route forward is probably operating through Facebook or the ICAN webpage.
“It seems the most logical because you can just post, ‘Hey, I’m going here’ and then you can message the person privately. If we had a webpage then people would be able to like post if they were going and then other people would be able to ask for a ride,” she explained.
After our interview, Perreault-Laird emailed that so far there have been responses from 40 Quadra, 17 Cortes and 9 Surge Narrows (Read Island) residents.
Aaryn Perreault-Laird is currently continuing her education in Ontario, but still oversees the Ride Share program and will be returning to either Quadra or Cortes Island in April 2023.
Links to the Quadra ICAN survey:
- Master page on the Quadra ICAN website
- for Quadra Island residents
- for Cortes Island residents
- for Read Island residents
Top image credit: The ferry between Campbell River and Quadra Island by upyernoz via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License)
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