Old Mammoth wants public transit before this winter
On Wednesday, October 11, Mammoth’s Planning and Economic Development Commission discussed possible public transit solutions for residents in Old Mammoth this winter, almost a year after Eastern Sierra Transit Authority (ESTA) discontinued the Gray Line.
Dawn Schultz, who owns the Edelweiss Lodge on Old Mammoth Road, said that her business has suffered because her patrons can no longer take a bus to go skiing. On a personal note, she said, her child can no longer take that bus to school.
The Gray Line was terminated on December 16, 2016 (see “Bring our Bus Back!” January 7, 2017), and residents asked for its return.
ESTA responded by extending the Purple Line and creating an “Old Mammoth Limited Route,” which serviced the Snowcreek Athletic Club bus stop six times per day.
ESTA Executive Director John Helm said that ESTA is hoping to build a turnaround area on Old Mammoth Road for the large buses that formerly serviced the Gray Line. However, that “would take a lot of things happening very quickly, and perhaps even a late start to the winter. To accurately temper expectations, I would say that would not [happen] before this winter.” There had been discussions of buses looping Red Fir Road about five years ago, Helm said, but residents objected. In his presentation, Helm also discussed moving several bus stops on Lakeview Blvd. that had caused problems among residents in that area of town.
“We’re worried about stops 200 feet apart up by Canyon [Lodge],” said Schultz, “but it’s a mile from Snowcreek to Red Fir. Our Town plan [the Walk, Bike, Ride effort] is to have a bus stop and bus service within a quarter mile to all residents…” Schultz said that a large portion of full-time Mammoth residents live in the Old Mammoth area, and that there is no bus service to those people, while “Meridian has three lines that run up and down it. Three.”
“The Town is four square miles,” said Sarah Vigilante. “Let’s have bus service to the main area where residents live.”
Helm said that, to the best of his recollection, the Old Mammoth Limited Route implemented in late January 2017 averaged two passengers a day on its six runs.
Kevin Graves, who works for Mammoth Mountain, said he and his wife purchased their home in Old Mammoth with the intention of using public transit from their neighborhood.
“Even if we have service on the hour so we can go home and get to work, that’s huge,” said Graves.