Kootenay man proposes charter bus service fueled by french fry oil

The eco-friendly buses would connect Edmonton to Vancouver via Highway 3, if approved

A new bus service by Kaslo man Mike Hathaway could fill a hole left behind by Greyhound and reach new eco-friendly heights — so long as it’s approved by B.C.’s Passenger Transportation Board.

Hathaway, who operated school buses for more than a decade, has been tinkering with processed vegetable oil as a fuel alternative for a few years now, he told Black Press in a phone interview.

“I switched my personal vehicles to vegetable oil about five years ago, mostly in trucks,” he said.

While diesel starts up a dual-system engine, the other 90 per cent of the trip relies on the oil.

Hathaway, who is also a Red Seal mechanic, is now looking to grow his eco-friendly tanks to replacing diesel tanks on charter-size buses.

Routes would connect commuters between Vancouver and Edmonton with stops through the Kootenays. Both routes would be based out of Kaslo.

“The idea is to allow eco-tourism to bring more people through the Highway 3 corridor, because the Greyhound dropping out has caused a pretty big rift for businesses,” he said. “They just don’t have the traffic flow of tourists.”

What would start as one trip per week, could grow into more buses as needed, Hathaway explained, and potentially opening a small processing plant for vegetable oil in Vancouver.

He’s sent his formal application to the Passenger Transportation Board, which oversees all commercial transportation services in the province. If approved, he could be up and running by summer.

Mike Hathaway has been a commercial bus driver for almost 10 years, and has a background in mechanics. (Photo submitted)

So far, Hathaway’s collected more than 7,000 litres in stored oil, all from nearby restaurants.

“That isn’t going to be enough to run the company for that long,” he said, adding that he hopes he’ll be able to gain more contracts — potentially along the bus routes — as word catches on of his service.

Hathaway said that, despite it being a surprise to many, the plan has been well-received by potential customers. To make his case to the board, he’s gathered roughly 50 letters of support from fellow community members in Kaslo and beyond.

But one company, Trail-based Silver City Stagelines, has posted a formal opposition to Hathaway’s application, as it runs in-part along a similar route.

In a statement, Silver City Stagelines owner Fritz Keller said he only opposes Hathaway’s proposed route points at Nelson, Castlegar, Grand Forks, Greenwood and Rock Creek, and that he has no qualms with the Alberta-bound route.

“Approving another inter-city bus line from Nelson to Rock Creek would greatly affect our ridership and create unsound economic conditions for our business,” said Keller, who started his own Nelson to Kelowna service last October.

“There is no public need for two lines from Nelson to Rock Creek.”

If Keller’s request sways the board, Hathaway said he’d be disallowed to pick up and drop off customers between Nelson and Rock Creek.

Hathaway has until April 8 to meet the application requirements for his submission, including any opposition from the public, before the Passenger Transportation Board makes their decision.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Rossland council agrees to finish skateboard park

Will cost taxpayers about $30,000 to complete project

Core funding to boost spending on tourism services for Rossland

Resort Municipalities grants will pay for a public washroom, better signage, and shuttle services

Passenger counts still rising at West Kootenay Regional Airport

Reliability rates also on rise in second quarter.

Third cannabis store in Greater Trail opens next week

The City of Trail has had six applications from non-medical pot retailers to date

Last stop: The inside story of Queen City Shuttle and Charters’ closure

Former employees open up about the Nelson company’s final days

Food fight: Liberals, Tories trade shots as pre-campaign battles intensify

Health Canada released an overhauled document that did away with traditional food groups and portion sizes

Okanagan Air Cadet challenges gender-exclusive haircut policy

Haircut regulation inspires challenge around gender identity

VIDEO: Bystander training gains traction as tool to prevent sexual harassment, violence

Julia Gartley was sexually assaulted after an event, and no one stepped in to help

Two brands of ice cream sandwiches recalled due to presence of metal

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued a recall on Iceberg and Originale Augustin brands

Sexual assaults, extortion on the rise even as crime rates stay low: Stats Canada

Rates of police-reported sexual assault rose for the fourth year in a row

Vancouver Island teens missing after vehicle found ablaze near Dease Lake, BC

RCMP say a body discovered nearby not one of the missing teens

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Most Read