An environmentally conscious bus company is hoping to expand its services to offer a new weekly route from Kelowna to Osoyoos.
Mountain Man Mike’s bus service, owned and operated by Mike Hathaway, currently runs routes serving Vancouver, Kaslo and Calgary with stops in most communities along Highway 3.
Hathaway’s company recently applied to gain approval from B.C.’s passenger transportation board to provide along service Highway 97 between Kelowna and Osoyoos.
Hathaway’s current bus has a stop in Osoyoos, and is looking to use that stop as a connecting point to Kelowna on the newly proposed route.
The proposed weekly bus service would stop in Kelowna, West Kelowna, Peachland, Summerland, Penticton, Kaledan, Oliver and Osoyoos.
All of Hathaway’s buses run on a percentage of recycled vegetable oil, an eco-friendly fuel alternative. Because of this, he said, his buses are nearly three times more fuel efficient than an average bus.
Hathaway said he has seen in a large surge in demand for his bus services amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“Providing the public with options of travel is in the best interest to the public and prevents sudden gaps in service such as the void left by Greyhound and the unprecedented COVID-19 event, which has left many communities without any form of service,” said Hathaway in his application the PTB.
The pandemic has lead to the cancellation of multiple flights that provide access to smaller communities. The popular ride-sharing company, Kootenay ride-share, also temporarily suspended operations due to COVID-19, furthering the demand for Hathaway’s services, he said.
Hathway is asking that the public write B.C.’s passenger transportation board to voice support for the proposed route.
The deadline for the application is June 1.
Mike Hathaway began driving buses after graduating from Emily Carr University of Art and Design in 2008 in the middle of the recession. (Facebook/Mountain Man Mike’s)