If you’re looking for a personable, affordable and easy way to discover Crestline and the rest of the mountain communities, you should try hopping a ride on Mountain Transit.
With routes in the Rim service area and in Big Bear, Mountain Transit can drive riders just about anywhere they need to go, from Cedarpines Park to Lake Gregory to Cedar Glen, and even off the mountain. At the bottom of the mountain, Mountain Transit connects riders with Amtrak, Greyhound, Omnitrans and Victor Valley Transit to help passengers arrive at wherever their final destination may be.
From 5:25 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., buses whisk passengers past breathtaking views to witness the lit jewelry box of the San Bernardino city lights, the glittering blue Lake Arrowhead and Lake Gregory, and the green of the San Bernardino National Forest.
“When you’re driving you don’t get to appreciate the view,” said Tiffany Millburn, Mountain Transit’s representative. “Going up the Rim on the bus is the most beautiful thing!”
Riders can be picked up and dropped off along six fixed routes, each of which has set time points so riders can schedule their trips. But Mountain Transit drivers will also stop at additional unmarked points that are not on the official schedule if someone is waiting or flags down the bus.
The routes are designed to make it easy for families and children to go on outings to the Lake Gregory beach area, hiking and mountain biking trail-heads, and special events such as Jamboree Days. The purchase of a ten punch pass allows riders to ride the transit 10 times without an expiration date, letting families bypass the hassle and expense of parking. In addition, children under the age of 5 ride for free.
“It’s perfect for a young family who is trying to find creative ways to keep their children entertained when school is out,” Millburn said.
In addition, Mountain Transit provides a Dial-a-Ride service to people who are over 60, disabled, veterans or who live more than three-quarters of a mile from a fixed route area. The Dial-a-Ride service allows riders who call to make a reservation within two weeks and two hours from their reserved time to be picked up directly from their home.
The Dial-a-Ride service is especially beneficial in Crestline, Millburn said, due to the isolation of the community. Often isolated riders who don’t own vehicles can call and be picked up and dropped off where they want to go in order to commute, go grocery shopping, attend doc-tors’ appointments, get to jury duty or interact with the community.
“The idea that nothing can keep you from accomplishing the things you want to, because you can still get to where you need to go, is a big deal,” Millburn said. “Transportation affects daily living, depression and the ability to inter-act.”
The friendly and experienced Mountain Transit drivers also foster personal relationships with riders they see regularly, allowing them to make the riding experience more enjoyable and accountable. For example, drivers will return forgotten items or personally call riders who they know are regularly picked up at stops to inform them of delays.
“The communication is small-town and community oriented,” Millburn said.
The intimate relationships formed between driver and passenger have even saved lives. In the past, there was a situation in which a Dial-a-Ride regular did not come to the door for their habitual pick-up, sparking concern from the driver who knew the person’s habits. When the driver called the rider, he found out the person had fallen and could not get up. “We made a difference,” Millburn added.
Because safety is a priority, the buses are especially in demand during winter storms, when mountain roads are hazardous. Since drivers complete their route up to seven times a shift, they gain valuable experience with the hills and curves of each road that allows them to transport passengers safely with less risk of accident than the average driver.
Ultimately, whether you’re a local or a tourist, riding for a day or daily, Mountain Transit aims to connect people to the mountain communities safely and personably.
“We’re a reflection of the mountain community,” Millburn said. “How do you experience your community if you’re isolated in your house?”
For more information regarding times, routes and pricing, visit mountaintransit.org.