A grassroots bus service based out of Kaslo, B.C. is giving free rides to anyone who wants to go from Osoyoos to Kelowna from Feb. 15 to 28.
The transportation business – Mountain Man Mike’s – started in 2019 after the founder, Michael Hathaway, regularly participated in rideshare programs from Kaslo to Vancouver.
The route, from Osoyoos to Kelowna, is making a comeback after being suspended in September of 2021. And as a token of appreciation to the people who have used the service to get around the province for the last two years, Hathaway is offering free trips to anyone looking to take a trip through the Okanagan.
“We started with one bus and now we have eight,” he said.
“The ridership on the route was really low before. But now we’re bringing it back and we want to get people talking … any travel from Osoyoos to Kelowna will be free from Feb. 15 to 28.”
Before Mountain Man Mike’s was founded, the owner would spend a lot of the road travelling around the province. Joining him on the B.C. roads would be people needing to get around as much as he did.
“I was a rideshare provider for 12 years,” Hathaway explained. “I had a father who was ill and in the hospital and needed to go Vancouver once a week.
“When the Greyhound system dropped, I went from having two or three people to a waitlist of 20 people who wanted to go to Vancouver and that’s how the company started.”
Since then, the transit service has expanded with various new routes.
Among those is a trip from Vancouver to Calgary – a road trip that will cost an estimated $160, stopping once in Nelson.
As the company approaches its three-year anniversary, Hathaway couldn’t be more proud of the service he and his team have provided.
“There’s one lady who’s always on the bus. She has family in Vancouver and doesn’t have a vehicle so she always ends up on my bus.”