By Creston Mayor Ron Toyota
I feel so fortunate to live in the Kootenays. From the freshly fallen snow in winter, to the lush trees in the spring, the amazing lake views in the summer, and bright vibrant colours of the fall, we are surrounded by such incredible natural beauty!
If there are any drawbacks to living in the Kootenays, I would say that the lack of options for transportation in and around this region would be one. When Greyhound Canada announced in October 2018 that they would no longer be providing service to Western Canada as it was “unsustainable,” a huge transportation gap was created – especially for rural communities that don’t have any public transportation that connects us.
Fortunately for us, Mike Hathaway and his family saw an opportunity to provide a much needed service and created Mountain Man Mike’s Bus Service. Mountain Man Mike’s operates from Kaslo and covers the Highway #3 corridor, west to Vancouver and east to Calgary, with almost everywhere in between.
I met and visited with Mike in Kaslo in September and was impressed with his vision and enthusiasm to grow his business.
Right now, they have four buses that are eco friendly and burn bio-diesel fuel which is produced in the Creston Valley by Leduc Bio Diesel Energy.
Mountain Man Mike’s bus service is in discussions with other bus service providers in B.C. and Alberta to augment and grow their connections to other destinations. They also are making an application to the Passenger Transportation Board in BC for other ridership programs.
Unfortunately, due to “low riderships,” Mountain Man Mike’s new route to connect the Highway 97 communities between Kelowna and Osoyoos to their pre-existing Vancouver, Nelson and Calgary runs has been delayed until the spring of 2021. Their plan in October was that a passenger could leave Creston at 6 a.m. on Saturday, connect in Nelson and then Osoyoos and be in Kelowna at 3:20 p.m.
As their ridership increases they will expand the frequency accordingly.
For more information on booking visit their website www.mountainmanmikes.ca, which has their route schedules, pick up/drop off points, ticket and trip information, or call (778) 382-7729. They also have an active Facebook page.
Prices include one piece of luggage per ticket and pets under 30 pounds are also allowed. Some conditions apply – inquire for more details.
One of their taglines is, “If the road is open, we are too”. Regional air travel is often impacted by the weather, and this is a great alternative. Not to mention that it’s a lot more comfortable to be a passenger than a driver some days – especially when there is lots of room and comfortable seats!
A personal thank you and kudos to Mike, his family and his staff for offering this much needed service to all of us, especially those who can not or do not have access to reliable transportation.