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

Castlegar teens rescue man from river

Will Watt and Shay LaFayette helped save a fisherman from the Kootenay River.

Carfentanil found for first time in Castlegar

Killer opiod found in local illegal drug market

Rossland’s Seven Summits school gets grant to grow global presence

Centre for Learning hopes to triple the number of international students it has

Rural dividend grants awarded in Kootenay West

Kootenay West MLA Katrine Conroy made the grant announcements in Trail on Thursday

Rossland skiier places third at U19 Canadian Ski Cross

Rossland’s Sage Stefani finished out a successful season.

What’s age got to do with it? B.C. couple with 45-year gap talks happy marriage

An Armstrong couple that has 45-year age gap began turning heads after being featured on show Extreme Love.

Pug life: B.C. town boasts waggish list of dog names

Freedom-of-information request lists most ‘pupular’ dog names registered in White Rock

VIDEO: Fish farming company launches $30-million vessel to treat salmon for sea lice in B.C. waters

Freshwater treatment an improvement but fish farms should be removed from sea, says conservationist

Singh says childhood abuse steeled him for scrutiny and stress of politics

He recounts the assaults for the first time in his book Love & Courage

Despite five extra weeks’ parental leave in Canada, dads still face stigma: survey

One reason people said dads don’t need leave is because they can just bond with their kids at weekend

Vintage bottles, magic cards, a 1969 Playboy: Quirky items found in historic B.C. buildings

Crews set aside some of the funkier pieces emerging from the construction rubble

PHOTOS: Inside the ‘shoe house’ in Northern B.C.

A rare look inside the famous Kitseguecla Lake Road shoe house, with a tour led by owner Toby Walsh

Thieves steal five of Seven Dwarves ornaments honouring B.C. couple’s late son

For the second time in a year, several garden ornaments stolen from Cloverdale family’s front garden

Child, 11, accidentally shot in the chest at Alberta religious colony

Child taken from Hutterite colony to nearby hospital

Most Read