Creston residents now have access to a bus service running east as far as Calgary, with the recent addition of a route by Mountain Man Mike’s, a bus service operating out of Kaslo.
Owner Mike Hathaway started a Kaslo-Vancouver run with a 22-seat bus in July, and is now in his third week of offering a Kaslo-Calgary route.
“We get a lot of customers that are really relieved somebody stepped in and offered an option,” said Hathaway in a phone interview from his Kaslo home. “We got a lot of requests for the Calgary run. We were getting bombarded by emails.”
The service runs from Kaslo-Calgary on Mondays, and Kaslo-Vancouver Wednesdays and Saturdays, with return trips the following days.
“We’re hoping to expand service, as well,” he said. “We just need to see service jump on the Calgary run.”
Hathaway had previously been a school bus driver, and saw an opportunity to start a private company when Greyhound shut down its B.C. bus routes in the fall of 2018, a venture that seemed even more timely when Nelson’s Queen City Shuttle and Charters shut down last spring.
For the first six months of Mountain Man Mike’s operation, Hathaway did all the driving himself, but began having other professional drivers take some of the workload in December.
His buses are fuel-efficient — nearly three times better than others, according to his website — and run on recycled restaurant frying oil. A father of four, Hathaway wants to do his part to ensure a healthy planet for them to grow up on.
“We wanted to have the lowest carbon footprint for travel that we could possibly muster,” he said.
In addition, Hathaway also appreciates the opportunity to encourage passengers to visit businesses in the communities he serves — the Creston stop, for example, is at Retro Café.
“For the most part, if we see a café close to the route, I prefer to support smaller businesses,” he said.