This is the bus company, Mountain Man Mike’s, 22-seat bus fueled by processed vegetable oil that will run a 16-stop route from Kaslo to Vancouver. Photo submitted

After a delay, bus service with stops in South Okanagan-Similkameen expected to start July 27

Bus will run weekly from Kaslo to Vancouver

The new weekly bus service from Kaslo to Vancouver with a stop in Keremeos has been delayed due to a parts shipping mishap.

Michael Hathaway, owner of the Kaslo-based Mountain Man Mike’s, confirmed the service launch has been postponed until July 27 or at the latest Aug. 1.

READ MORE: Intercity bus service to operate in Southern Interior, stops in Keremeos

Hathaway said after a safety inspection revealed a hairline crack in the aftermarket stability control of the bus, the parts ordered from Alberta turned out to be the wrong ones. Now he said they are waiting for the correct parts to arrive from the United States.

As soon as they receive them and the bus passes inspection, Hathaway said he intends to open the booking portal for a first run on Saturday, July 27.

READ MORE: Kootenay bus fueled by vegetable oil to begin service next month

The 22-seat bus that runs on processed vegetable oil will provide service runs from Kaslo to Vancouver along Hwy 3 with hopes of expanding.

Keremeos mayor Manfred Bauer said a private bus service such as this one likely wouldn’t be ideal for seniors and those with mobility issues. He said the village is looking into a reliable, everyday public service that will transport residents to and from locations on the same day and is less expensive. He said it would be similar to BC Transit.

“The fact that you have to possibily wait for 40 minutes, 20 minutes before and 20 minutes after the scheduling because of the way they are booking, it it could be faster or later. Of course, not everybody is able to book online and with a credit card or PayPal,” he said. “If you are talking seniors and mobility, it is not accessible. There is not wheelchair access.”

Kim English, regional community development officer with CFSOS, who is helping organize a mobility talk in Keremeos on July 24 at the Keremeos Seniors Activity Centre, said getting around in rural settings will require the entrepreneurial spirit of a Mountain Man Mike’s type business — only in the South Okanagan and Similkameen.

READ MORE: CFSOS wants to hear from community members in Keremeos, Cawston, Olalla and Hedley

But she also said new forms of rural transportation will have to come from ground-up organizing.

“I think our future is a lot of networking, bottom-up organizing,” she said. “I think with the fellow from Kaslo there is going to be several glitches along the way, but it is reinventing what mobility and transportation look like for rural communities and the need is there and people are trying to be creative about it. Hopefully, it will get into a system where it reaches more people.”

To find out more about the Mountain Man Mike’s service, check out its website and Facebook page.

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Robin Grant
Reporter, Penticton Western News
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