Eastern Sierra Transit Authority Director John Helm called it a “very exciting expansion for ESTA. A win-win for the region.” Helm sees the plans for transit authority expansion in Mammoth Lakes as an important public-private partnership and a move that will benefit both Mono and Inyo Counties.
At Friday’s Transit Authority Board meeting, members will consider approval of reorganization of ESTA’s management and administrative structure to address expanded operations in Mammoth Lakes. Helm explained that the expanded services include the resumption of bus operations into Reds Meadow this summer, and next winter ESTA will operate many of the routes currently operated by Mammoth Mountain Ski Area.
Helm said ESTA did receive federal grant money to buy the buses. There will be 12 of them in operation in summer and winter. This move amounts to a 50% increase in services overall. Helm said all additional services will be paid for by passenger fares in Reds Meadow and by Mammoth Mountain in the winter. The deal will not drain current revenues, according to Helm.
He will ask the ESTA Board to approve an additional Operations Supervisor to locate in Mammoth Lakes. Right now, one Operations Supervisor handles both Inyo and Mono. Helm said with a proposed new Operations person in Mammoth, the current Operations Supervisor, Todd Renley, can focus on Inyo and parts of Mono more effectively.
For those who may fear the Mammoth expansion will take away service from Inyo, Helm said that won’t happen since revenues in Mammoth will cover the expansion. He said this expansion will create a public-private partnership for more service. Helm said ESTA will apply for government grants and Mammoth Mountain will provide funds for operating costs. Helm sees it as a benefit for locals and tourists.
The ESTA Board meeting is scheduled for 10am Friday in Mammoth Lakes in Suite Z.