If the bus at Saturday’s Red Deer Public Market looked familiar, that’s because it used to roam the city’s streets.
The 1998 New Flyer bus has since been repurposed by an Edmonton company into a produce booth that travels to markets and seniors.
Andrew Lineker, Consumers Distributors president and CEO, said he bought the bus from a farmer who had purchased the bus from the city in an auction.
“I’ve heard everything from cool idea, there’s excitement,” said Lineker. “The pricing is economical. We have to be mindful of the price because we are catering to seniors and they are on fixed incomes.”
Based out of Edmonton, Lineker buys his produce from 35 different farmers and tries to buy from as many Alberta producers as he can.
Though the business was in Red Deer to be a part of the weekly Public Market on Saturday, the bus is larger geared towards seniors in the Edmonton area.
“We cater to seniors and people with reduced mobility because we do have the wheelchair on the front,” said Lineker.
The bus started rolling selling produce earlier this year. He tries to get it to “food deserts” or areas where people have a hard time getting to food.
Red Deer isn’t on Lineker’s usual route.
“The bus only goes 95 km/h on the highway, so we pass nobody,” said Lineker. “Diesel is pretty expensive so hopefully today I can pay for my diesel. I might be back if that happens.”
The idea for the bus came together last year when Lineker was approached by a group of farmers who couldn’t make it in to the city for farmer’s markets. They set up an arrangement for Lineker to sell the produce.
“I found a video on YouTube,” said Lineker, of selling produce on a repurposed bus. “They were doing it in the U.S. and I figured, why not here.
“I went looking for a bus.”
Every day about 1,200 to 2,900 people roll through his bus looking to buy produce.