MADERA COUNTY — Yes, Madera County does have public transportation, with several options available. MCC and YARTS serve the general traveling public, and there’s also a Senior Bus, and an Escort Service for doctor’s appointments.
Your car may be in the shop, you may not want to drive during bad weather, you may not have reliable transportation, or you may just want to save wear and tear on your vehicle and leave the driving to others while you catch up on work or reading, or just relax and look at the window. Whatever your reason, there is public transportation available at very low fares.
Madera County Connection (MCC) is a commuter fixed-route system that serves Eastern Madera County, Monday through Friday. It allows people to not only travel to the valley, but also around the mountain area.
Beginning Mar. 1, MCC is adding more stops to the route – including the hardware store in Yosemite Lakes Park and the newly re-opened Chukchansi Casino – to better serve the mountain area. Riders should also be aware that there have been some changes to the schedule, including stops in Bass Lake as the bus heads back to Oakhurst from North Fork. Click here for updates and the complete schedule.
The first bus of the day leaves Madera at 5:51 a.m., with stops in YLP, the casino and Chevron Station at Lucky Lane, one in Coarsegold, several stops in Oakhurst, the Pines at Bass Lake, and finally North Fork and South Fork. There are currently three routes a day. Call 559-661-3040 for more information, and click here for the full schedule. Fares are just $2, and children under age 5 ride free.
MCC has installed a new bus stop shelter in Oakhurst in front of Starbucks on Highway 41, and another in Coarsegold near the Historical Village, with plans for a third in North Fork. They have also added three new buses to their fleet over the past year, and created brand new graphics.
A new stop on the MCC route is the Best Western in Oakhurst, allowing riders to connect with Yosemite Area Regional Transit (YARTS) buses – the perfect option for those heading on up to the park. Riders should be aware that as of Mar. 1, there will no longer be a stop at Raley’s in Oakhurst.
With YARTS buses running so often on Highway 41, MCC Transit Manager Jerry Jackson says he is looking into new ways to connect the mountain communities, including runs out to Ahwahnee to bring riders in to the Highway 41 corridor to connect with other routes.
YARTS buses began running on the Highway 41 corridor in May 2015, and with five runs a day from Fresno Yosemite International Airport, the Greyhound and Amtrak stations, Fresno State and other stops along the way, there are plenty of options.
Buses to Fresno start at 6 a.m. at the Best Western in Oakhurst, with the last bus of the day coming up the mountain stopping at the hotel at 7:36 p.m., ending the route at 8 p.m at the Tenaya Lodge in Fish Camp.
For those working or going to school in Fresno, YARTS commuter passes are an excellent value. They save regular riders up to 60 percent off of standard fares. A $10 discount for students applies to all commuter passes. Students must show a valid student ID from an area school to receive the discount when purchasing the pass. No other discounts apply.
There are 3 types of passes:
- Monthly: valid for the month in which they are purchased.
- 20 Round Trip: expires after 90 days
- 10 Round Trip: expires after 90 days
With a commuter pass, a round trip from Oakhurst/Coarsegold to the Fresno area is just $6.30. Regular fares are $15 round trip or $8 one way.
Check out all the options for riding YARTS on their website, complete with interactive maps of the routes showing details of each stop by pointing your curser at individual bus stops.
Other public transportation options in the mountain area:
Eastern Madera County Senior Bus — For seniors and the disabled, the Madera County Transportation Commission (MCTC) provides this service, which runs weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and is an on-demand service.
Seniors and disabled persons who wish to have access to this bus are asked to fill out an application to affirm their eligibility status, and can ride the bus for just $1.50. Call 559-658-5555 to request service.
Eastern Madera County Escort Service — MCTC provides this service for those needing to travel to doctor’s appointments in the valley from the North Fork, Bass Lake, Oakhurst, Coarsegold and Ahwahnee areas. This is a volunteer on-demand service, operating weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Those needing transportation for medical appointments can call 559-658-5555 to request service. The fare is just $10 round trip. You will be delivered to your appointment, and the bus will wait and transport you back home when you’re ready to go.