Man wearing hoodie hitchhiking on a country road

The Cortes Island ‘Room for Rider’ Initiative

 Friends of Cortes Island (FOCI) is launching a new transportation initiative

“We’re really excited to be launching this new ‘Room for Rider’ initiative. It’s a mirror tag that people can hang in their rear view mirror to let people know that they’re willing to give people a ride across Quadra,” explained Helen Hall, Executive Director of FOCI.  

BC Ferries used to dedicate lane 7, in their Campbell River terminal, to Cortes traffic. Now that this has been discontinued, it is difficult for hitchhikers to know which vehicles could take them across Quadra Island to the Heriot Bay terminal. 

CC: Do you know how many people would be affected by this?  

HH: “It’s hard to give numbers, but I think pretty much everyone on Cortes at some point has tried to get a hitch across Quadra.”

“I’ve done that myself. I was on my way to England. I had a very large suitcase with me and I was very nervous about getting a ride because it then tied into me getting a couple of flights. I just walked up to some people and got offered a ride. It was actually Valerie Robinson and Doug Butt. They gave me a ride and ever afterwards we always used to say hello to each other and chat. So it was a lovely way to get to know them and they really helped me out on that day. I’m sure everyone’s got really great stories about how they’ve shared rides across Quadra.” 

“We think it will really help people on Cortes get home in particular, but also we know there’s visitors coming onto the island and struggling to get across Quadra, so hopefully it’ll help them too.” 

CC: Is this coordinated with the rideshare initiative as well? 

HH: “No it’s not, but  we did some research from other rideshare initiatives to inform this project.” 

“One of the things we were conscious of, as an organization, is the liability issue. We are taking no liability for people sharing rides. The drivers can choose who they allow into their cars and whether they want to charge people. That’s entirely up to the people offering rides. Hitchhikers can choose which cars they want to get rides from.”

CC: How do you get these tags? 

HH: “On Monday they’ll be available from the post office counters at Manson’s and Whaletown. They’re also available from the Klahoose Multi-purpose Building and from the FOCI office, which is open 9 to 5, five days of the week. We’re also going to be at the summer markets through July and August, so people can pick them up from there as well”. 

“There’s informational posters up already on the ferries and in both the waiting rooms to let people know that they can look for these mirror tags in the cars and we’ll be posting posters up all around the island too.” 

CC: How many tags did FOCI get? 

HH: “We’ve printed 500 tags and we’re really grateful to Hollyhock, the Cortes Co-op and Cortes Kayaks for sponsoring the tags. If they go really well, then we’ll print some more.”

Top image credit: Hitchhiking home -Photo by Atlas Green on Unsplash

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