FARTA or MARTA?

mountain area rapid transit authorityGG loves fall…but GG doesn’t like MARTA this week.

You see Fawnskin doesn’t rate regular service like the south shore.

Despite that cute little Bus Stop sign on Brookside, and the Doo Dah appearance of FARTA, there is no such thing as the Fawnskin Area Rapid Transit Authority.

In fact, the only way you can get around is to catch the MARTA OTM (off the mountain service) on its way through the area.

This is fortunately for those who need to get down to the Metrolink, Walmart, or for those who need to get up the mountain.

People take it to work, to school, and to run errands.

It is a good deal if you are doing the whole run.

As for the local thing, well, not so much.

In fact, lately it has been downright frustrating and unprofessional.

Drivers bid on the different routes and everyone shifted around on the 10th–and things suddenly went to hell over here.

marta mountain area rapid transit authority

For Fawnskin residents seeking to get over to Interlaken for banking or shopping, there is a run at 9:56am which will get you to town and allow you to get some errands done before the OTM down the hill at 11:00am or 3:30pm.

The problem is that lately, the OTM on the way into town has been late.

Not just a few minutes late, really, really, late.

Now we know things happen.

Living in the mountains means road hazards, closures, slow drivers–but 45 minutes after the posted time for pick up?

Yep, two of us waiting 45 minutes on the 12th of October.

So, on Tuesday this week (the 18th), I once again thought I’d take a jaunt into town–but gave gave up at 10:30pm and walked home.

Do the math–34 minutes late at that point.

Why publish a scheduled pick up time?

Fortunately, a neighbor took pity on me and grabbed me on his way into town.

But wait! There is more. It gets worse.

There is another option of taking Dial-a-Ride (a phone in ride home pick up service) but since the dispatch was moved to Crestline, I’ve heard a few complaints about missed pick ups and other stories from the disgruntled.

You see, I listen and so people tell me a lot. Which is why I write the Fawnskin Flyer.

But when I called MARTA and was told they could not accommodate me on Monday, when I needed to get to the doctor–well, that was a bit much.

So, I asked for options. I wasn’t a snot, I simply asked, but the Crestline dispatch guy told me the best he could do was schedule pick up two hours before my appointment.

Uh, no. I’ve been sick. Two hours?

The worse thing about is that I know the drivers.

Imagine how pissed I got when I discovered that I could have been transported in without a problem if the guy had simply checked with the driver.

Then, to add insult to injury, on Thursday (20th) I called at 9:00am for a lift to the Log Cabin at Noon.

I was told they could not accommodate me.

Huh?

Now when I have mentioned this here and there, people actually are stunned and say, “What? They are not usually too busy to pick up!

Yeah, that is what I say.

I don’t know the dispatch guy, never talked to him much before this last week and a half–but I known he isn’t getting the stories straight and he doesn’t check with the driver to be helpful.

For instance, he told me the day the OTM was late 45 minutes, that the bus was at the dam when I called at the 25 minute mark.

Now anyone who lives around here knows that it is 5 minutes drive time from the dam to downtown Fawnskin. It was 20 minutes later before the OTM showed up.

Puh-lease!

Also, the OTM always calls their location in at Lakeview Point (at the beginning of Arctic Circle) which is 15 minutes from town.

So, when I check in I can usually anticipate when to flag the driver for a lift. He was no where near the dam–could not have been.

Anyway, back to Thursday, I ended up taking the OTM over. (A different driver than is currently assigned arrived in a timely manner–thank goodness!).

Once on the south shore, my ride with one of the attendees got me there in time. But imagine my surprise when another woman got dropped off at the Log Cabin by the dial-a-ride!

She had called from the North Shore for a lift much later than I had–and got a lift on the dial-a-ride without a problem.

To add insult to injury, she also got a lift back home!

Now I am not the only one frustrated over this. One guy in Arrowbear complained about the waits too–as we waited for the MARTA on Wednesday the 19th down at Walmart–20 minutes late that time.

Should we be grateful?

We were thinking of making a bet to see who would win the pool of just how late it would be.

What else can you do?

Now, I happen to think five issues in a week and a half and EVERY time I have attempted to use the service over that time is a bit excessive.

Crestline Dispatch was such a problem that the Big Bear Dispatch was restored but only operates from 11am until 3pm and since the drivers just rotated ten days ago—these experiences are crazy.

It hasn’t been bad enough before for me to call and complain, but you can bet that this time I called.

The Assistant GM said he’d investigate and get back to me.

Uh, he hasn’t.

Worse yet, I hear he didn’t take my concerns seriously.

So, here it is on the Fawnskin Flyer.

The idea is to either get this issue fixed, or change the schedule so it is accurate.

I think this is especially important since winter is around the corner and standing in inclement weather at an unprotected spot off the highway is not acceptable.

This hasn’t been an issue before so why is it now?

As Pooh says, “Think, think, think…”

And GG says, “Fix, fix, fix…”

I encourage any other people who have experienced some issues to call and write in as well.

Go above and beyond the local level if you have to. You can find that nifty information right here for your convenience.

November 21, 2011 is the next board meeting which will take place at Big Bear Lake City Hall, 39707 Big Bear Blvd in Big Bear Lake if you’d like to voice any concerns in person.

Contact Information
Kathy Hawksford is the General Manager (who is currently on break through October) but you can leave a message with supervisor Michael Mawson at (909) 878-5200 Extension 144.

Mountain Area Regional Transit Authority
PO Box 1501
Big Bear Lake, CA 92315
(909) 878-5200

Board Members
Bill Jahn, Chairman & Council Member, City of Big Bear Lake
P.O. Box 10000
Big Bear Lake, CA 92315
(909) 709-4913

Terisa Bonito, Vice Chairman & Member-at-Large
c/o First Mountain Bank
PO Box 90
Running Springs, CA 92382
(909) 867-4242

Dave Caretto Council Member, City of Big Bear Lake
P.O. Box 10000
Big Bear Lake, CA 92315
(949) 233-7700

David Leach, (Neil Derry) County of San Bernardino, Third District Representative
San Bernardino County Government Center
385 N Arrowhead Ave, Fifth Floor
San Bernardino, CA 92415-0110
(909) 387-4855
Fax (909) 387-3018

Janice Rutherford, County of San Bernardino, Second District Representative
385 N. Arrowhead Avenue, Fifth Floor
San Bernardino, CA 92415
(909) 387-4833
Fax (909)387-3265

Writing might do more good than a phone call or two.

Or maybe not…but we shall see.



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This entry was posted on Friday, October 21st, 2011 and is filed under Business & Commerce, Mountain Lake Resort, Small Town Living.

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