EL PRIMER PERIÓDICO EN ESPAÑOL DE LA SIERRA
“ESTA” makes the connections and adds services
“The 395 fixed routes comprise the farthest reaching ESTA service. They connect Reno, NV with
Lancaster, CA”–Eastern Sierra Transit Authority
Eastern Sierra and beyond—Affordable, convenient, and expansive, the ESTA (Eastern Sierra Transit
Authority) has a unique niche in the High Sierra, and beyond into the southern California, northeastern
California, and western Nevada region (Reno, Carson City, Gardnerville). And, the range of
transportation options is varied, and individualized, as well. From “complimentary transportation all
around the Town of Mammoth Lakes,” to getting “through-hikers” on their ways to the PCT (Pacific
Crest Trail) and JMT (John Muir Trail) from downtown Los Angeles or an international airport, like
Reno-Tahoe International, the ESTA buses / coaches offer a ride to most places (or close to them) in
ESTA was “established in 2006 by a Joint Powers Authority between Inyo and Mono Counties, and the
Town of Mammoth Lakes,” according to ESTA. “ESTA is a new public transit agency created to meet
the growing need for public transportation in and around the four member jurisdictions, and throughout
the entire Eastern Sierra region.” There are eight Board of Director members; two from each
jurisdiction. ESTA assumed “control” of the transit authority on July 1, 2007, taking over from Inyo
A Large Slate of Services and Routes
ESTA adds to its full menu of routes by creating seven-day-a-week rides to popular destinations, like
the Mammoth Express, which now runs every day to Mammoth, and to Reno, which runs Monday-
Saturday (a new additional route). ESTA's Executive Director, Phil Moores, and Administrative
Manager, Dawn Vidal, explain, these additional routes were requests from riders, and Vidal notes at the
beginning of summer, a second bus was needed to Reno.
The Dial-A-Ride services are a staple of ESTA, and there are many residents and visitors in the Eastern
Sierra who rely on the daily routes and pick-ups to make their weekly grocery runs or shopping trips or
get to a doctor's appointment. The buses are handicapped equipped, air-conditioned, and comfortable
for getting around town in, and many schools also use the Dial-A-Ride services to make short field
trips around the Bishop area.
The ESTA buses / coaches can offer riders two bags plus a carry-on, skis and snowboards, bike racks,
at no additional charge, and animals can ride when muzzled or caged. There are senior discounts (60
years+), and discounts for disabilities and youth (ages 5-16). Ridership is up, says Moores, about 23
percent, and ESTA currently has 55 vehicles, with “six, brand new buses, with luxury seats and cell
phone charging,” on the way for next year.
Other notables for ESTA include the first hybrid electric trolley in Mammoth, and the first electric
Dial-A-Ride van. ESTA contributes to community events like the Stuff-A-Bus (for needy families), and
the Mule Days' Shuttles, which transport some of the 25,000 visitors to the week-long events.
ESTA offers affordable ride passes: Antelope Valley, Bishop, Lone Pine, Mammoth, an All-Areas pass
(good for 30 days), and a multi-zone pass (Bishop, Lone Pine, and Mammoth). ESTA offers two main
routes: South Mammoth to Lancaster. North Lone Pine to Reno. There are also seasonal routes: Reds
Meadows Trolley (ends September 10) and Lakes Basin Bike Trolley, and Mammoth's Fall Trolley
(starts September 8). ESTA makes connections with: Yosemite Area Regional Transit (YARTS), Reno-
Tahoe International Airport, Greyhound Bus Lines, Amtrak California, Amtrak Regional Transit,
Metrolink, 395.com, and the Mono County Tourism and Film Commission.
Moores says the ESTA drivers are “excellent,” and even the past winter's snarly weather didn't stop the
buses from getting to Reno, they just took a different route. And, there are real-time bus route apps
available for travelers, and the ESTA website is informative, and understandable.
Photos: 1 Eastern Sierra Transit Authority, “ESTA,” can take riders and their bikes / gear on the Lakes
Basin Bike Trolley in Mammoth Lakes. Take a cruise and let ESTA get you there.
2 The ESTA bus services include a stop to the Bishop Senior Center, as well as other weekly errands
you might want to do. Photos courtesy of Eastern Sierra Transit Authority