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Fraser Lake retiree spends his downtime connecting locals to the places that matter

FRASER LAKE —When Greyhound stopped services in 2017, northern British Columbians were at a loss for how they would travel to visit family, friends or get to critical appointments. This is when local community shuttles with volunteer drivers like the one offered by Autumn Services in Fraser Lake began taking off.

“I want to make sure that people get to their destination safely and get back home safely as well,” said Mike McDougall, volunteer driver at Autumn Services

Mike has been a volunteer driver at Autumn Services for nearly six years. The 65-year-old retired forestry worker volunteers his time to connect community members to the places that matter across the north. When he first started, he used his own vehicle to ensure that community members could get where they needed to go safely, and he only updated to an Autumn Services van two years ago. He’s already put 170,000 km on it and is proud to do so.

Mike connects the young, old, and folks with disabilities from Fraser Lake to neighbouring communities, daily. For the most part, that means connecting folks to and from Prince George; however, it includes other neighbouring communities. “We always stop for McDonald’s coffee—it’s the driver’s prerogative,” says Mike.

Autumn Services is part of a larger initiative by Northern Development Initiative Trust (NDIT) aimed at connecting people to the places that matter—Bus the North is a campaign running across Northern BC highlighting the modes of transportation that exist across the north and connect our communities. For Mike, driving is something he loves to do, and making it a personalized experience for riders is something he is fond of; whether that means turning down the music, or opening up the floor to singing on the bus, he wants to make sure people are inspired to ride again.

“I don’t want anyone to ever say ‘I don’t want to do this again’—I want to make sure they want to do it again,” said McDougall.

Mike is known as “Mr. Mikey” by locals and spends about five days a week driving folks to appointments. A “golf wannabe,” he only made it out onto the green last year four times because of how busy ridership has been. 

“There are some amazing local organizations with incredible people like Mike, who are giving a lot back to their communities. We really just want to highlight the modes of transportation across the north and also increase ridership for these organizations,” said Holly Plato, Director of Comunications, NDIT

Fraser Lake residents can call Laurie Mason of Autumn Services at (250)-699-0056 to plan their trip. To discover more about transportation in your area and transportation options across the north visit www.busthenorth.ca

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