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Amid reduced funding and rising fuel and insurance costs, the Eastern Sierra Transit Authority is announcing fare increases and a change to some of its routes. The fares go up Thursday, Sept. 1 and the route changes wonâ€™t go into effect until Tuesday, Sept. 6 following the Labor Day holiday.
The popular Nite Rider service in Bishop was spared the axe because the public spoke out to save it.
Jill Batchelder, transit analyst for ESTA, said that two rounds of public meetings with good turn-out and input was vital in shaping some new route schedules. Nite Rider was saved and changes were made to the Bishop to Lone Pine schedules as a direct result of public input, Batchelder said.
The meetings and workshop, held in July and August in Inyo and Mono counties, also brought ideas from the public commuter community. Specifically Selma Calnan, rider and senior advocate, suggested a Senior Transit Advisory Group that would be a sounding board for that demographic to ESTA.
Batchelder said Calnanâ€™s idea will be considered in part of ESTAâ€™s current rules and regulations study.
The following is a brief description of the changes to ESTA. To see a detailed bus schedule or fare chart, visit the ESTA website at www.estransit.org or call (760) 872-1901 ex. 20.
â€¢ Dial-A-Ride fares will increase between $0.40 and $0.70 depending on the destination and time. Fares will increase between $0.50 to $1 for Town-to-Town Routes including the Lone Pine to Bishop, Benton to Bishop, the Mammoth Express and the CREST routes. Discounts are still available for seniors, the differently-abled and those ages 5-16.
â€¢ The CREST South route will between Mammoth and Lancaster will depart 30 minutes earlier. The bus will leave Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; the bus will depart Mammoth at 7:35 a.m. and Bishop at 8:30. Departure from Lancaster Metrolink will be 2 p.m.
â€¢ There will be some changes to the morning and evening route times for the Mammoth Express. Operating Monday through Friday, departures from Bishop will be 7:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 6:10 p.m. Departures from Mammoth will be 7:35 a.m., 2:05 p.m. and 5:20 p.m. The morning and evening departures are now combined with the CREST Route. The Vanpool between Bishop and Mammoth has additional capacity for commuters with an 8 a.m.-5 p.m. work schedule.
â€¢ Remaining unchanged will be the Lone Pine to Bishop Route. However, the 6:30 p.m. Bishop to Lone Pine portion will require 24-hour advance reservations. Reservations can be made by calling (760) 872-1901 ext. 22.