Weekend ‘Dial-A-Ride’ faces cutback

Other bus tweaks on the way

Mammoth’s weekend “Dial-A-Ride” program, designed to help provide paratransit service for those unable to use fixed-route transit, faced the knife this past week.

John Helm, the chief of the Eastern Sierra Transit Authority, said there is little or no demand for the service on weekend days, and that it would be difficult to justify the expense for another year.

Helm delivered his remarks to the Planning and Economic Development Commission, in support of a written brief that indicated fewer than six Dial-A-Ride trips are made on weekend days.

“Over the past eleven months, the Dial-A-Ride service in Mammoth has averaged 22 trips per weekday and only 5.8 per weekend days,” he wrote in a memo that was delivered to commission members before the meeting.

“There have been eight weekend days without a single Dial-A-Ride trip. In an effort to utilize the town’s transit dollars effectively, the Planning and Economic Development Commission may want to consider an elimination of weekend Dial-A-Ride service in the coming fiscal year.”

Helm acknowledged that the transit agency “is obligated to provide complementary paratransit service for individuals with ADA Paratransit eligibility (individuals who are functionally unable to use fixed route service).

“Currently, there are no Mammoth residents with such eligibility.”

However, Helm also noted that visitors to Mammoth may have eligibility and that ESTA would provide service in such instances.

“This service requires a minimum of a 24-hour advance reservation,” he noted. “When ESTA receives such a reservation request for a time that Dial-A-Ride is not available but a fixed route is operating, special arrangements are made to accommodate the trip. This situation occurs very infrequently and could be made available on weekends.”

Helm’s remarks came within the context of a larger memorandum in which he argued for the following tweaks to the transit system:

1. Bus stop for the Purple Line adjacent to the entrance to McDonald’s on Sierra Park. This stop is designed to provide a place to drop-off and pick-up passengers who are transferring to/from regional transit routes to Bishop, Reno, and Lancaster.

It is proposed that a sign be installed on the north side of the entrance to the staff parking lot for the new courthouse. When the street is not occupied with parallel-parked cars, the bus would stop in the parking area. If the area is filled with cars, the bus would stop momentarily in the entrance to the courthouse staff parking lot.

No modification of the street or reduction of parking is requested.

2. Bus stop for Purple, Gray, and Green Lines on eastbound Meridian between Old Mammoth Road and Azimuth (approximately 100 yards east of Azimuth).

Currently, there is no eastbound stop between stops #46 (Meridian at Manzanita) and Old Mammoth Road (westbound, there is a stop #45 between Old Mammoth and Azimuth).

This creates a long walk for residents and visitors who are staying in the condos along and near Meridian and Azimuth.

The roadway includes a striped bike lane, within which the bus could stop safely, as it does further west on Meridian.

3. Move the bus stop sign for stop #27 (Purple and Gray lines at the Hospital) from the south side of the bus pullout to the north side.

By having the sign at the south side, passengers wait opposite to where the bus entrance door is located when the bus stops.