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

Former GFSS student wins Governor General’s Award

Daisy Klassen finished high school with a 95.9 per cent grade average

Local athlete nominated for top B.C. award

Charlie Kain has been involved with Special Olympics since he was 11

Tournament looking for volunteers

It takes more than 200 volunteers to run the event

Chamber of commerce adjusts course after 2018 overspend

Businesses have already seen support this year from a downtown revitalization expert

Larson will not run in next B.C. election

The MLA for Boundary-Similkameen said that she wants to spend more time with family

VIDEO: Trans Mountain expansion project gets green light, again

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the decision in Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon

MPs hear retired B.C. nurse’s petition to change compensation for fatal medical errors

Teri McGrath wants provinces to implement no-fault system for medical errors

Horgan says he’ll still defend B.C. coast after second Trans Mountain approval

Meanwhile, one B.C. First Nation has announced plans for a legal challenge

Demonstrators on either side of Trans Mountain debate clash in Vancouver

Crowd heard from member of Indigenous-led coalition that hopes to buy 51% of expansion project

Police investigating fatal collision near Grave Lake

Grave Lake is located approximately halfway between Sparwood and Elkford

Grieving B.C. mom hopes Facebook message leads to new investigation into son’s Surrey homicide

Criminal Justice Branch didn’t lay charges, concluding no substantial likelihood of murder or manslaughter conviction

B.C.’s measles vaccination program gains traction in May

More than 15,000 doses of the MMR vaccine has been administered across the province

B.C. farmers concerned Agricultural Land Reserve changes choking their livelihood

Dozens voice concerns at special meeting hosted on Vancouver Island

UPDATE: Two-year-old involved in Chilliwack pool drowning has died

Toddler was reported to not be breathing as air ambulance called out Thursday afternoon

Most Read