Several weeks ago a reported “bus accident” caused a multi-agency emergency response to the Agnew Meadow area above Mammoth Lakes. Arriving emergency service responders quickly determined it was not an “emergency,” just a bus that had run off onto the roadway shoulder. However, the incident did raise a question regarding the weight of buses in the local area. On Saturday, July 5, 2004, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) conducted unscheduled roadside inspections of four local buses on State Route 203 (Minaret Road), west of Mammoth Scenic Loop, between 9:35 A.M. and 11:57 A.M.
Two of the inspected buses were operated by Mammoth Mountain, and two buses were registered to Eastern Sierra Transit Authority. One bus fully loaded with passengers and one unloaded bus from each company was inspected. Inspections included overall vehicle weight, axle weight, vehicle lights, brakes, vehicle documents and driver documents. The inspections were performed by a CHP officer specifically trained and equipped to conduct these types of inspections. Three of four buses did not have any violations. One bus required approximately six of its passengers to be repositioned due to a weight violation before the bus continued.
These six passengers were quickly repositioned and the bus was on its way. No citations were issued and no enforcement action was taken. Lieutenant R. D. Cohan, Commander of the CHP’s Bridgeport Area, said “I want to thank both Eastern Sierra Transit Authority and Mammoth Mountain for their professionalism during the four inspections conducted this morning. I realize this weekend is the busiest weekend of the summer; the exact reason today was selected for these brief inspections. When a commercial vehicle’s weight becomes a question, it needs to be weighed when loaded to maximum capacity. We look forward to a continuing dialogue regarding safe and legal transportation that meets the needs of Mammoth Lakes and Mono County.”