Monday, April 30, 2018

Major route and schedule changes proposed for Lynx bus

Many service changes are proposed for Central Florida’s Lynx bus system this summer.

Several substantial changes are being made to bus service in South Orange County and Osceola County in coordination with the expansion of SunRail train service from South Orange to Poinciana this July. There are also some schedule adjustments being proposed for Seminole County.

Public hearings on these changes will be held later this month in Orlando, Kissimmee and Altamonte Springs. Check LynxTogether Events for more details. People can also make public comments on these changes by visiting www.golynx.com and leave your thoughts at the “Contact Us” page.

Those comments will be received through May 30.

The Lynx board will approve these changes during their meeting May 24. The approved changes will go into effect July 15.

Here are the proposed changes

NEW ROUTES

·         Link 155 – The Loop/Buena Ventura Lakes/Osceola Parkway (Osceola County) – Will operate between Buena Ventura Lakes and The Loop shopping area via Osceola Parkway serving Tupperware SunRail Station. Service every 30 minutes during weekday peak period only.

ROUTE ELIMINATIONS

·         XpressLink 208 – Downtown Kissimmee Express (Orange County/Osceola County) – Eliminate service.



ROUTE ADJUSTMENTS

·         Link 1 – Winter Park/Altamonte Springs (Orange County/Seminole County) – Routing from Altamonte Mall will operate via SR 436, Westmonte Drive to Wymore Road. Minor schedule changes.        

·         Link 18 – S. Orange Ave./Kissimmee (Orange County/Osceola County) – Extend route into Meadow Woods SunRail Station. Minor schedule changes.

·         Link 103 – North 17-92/Sanford (Seminole County) – Change morning routing to operate via Bush Boulevard to serve the John E. Polk Correctional Facility.

·         Link 306 – Poinciana/Disney Springs (Orange County/Osceola County) – Extend route into Poinciana SunRail Station. Change evening route to operate via Seralago Boulevard and U.S. 192 to Poinciana Boulevard. Minor schedule changes.

·         FastLink 418 – Florida Mall/Meadow Woods/Lake Nona (Orange County) – Eliminate service along Sand Lake Road, Orange Avenue and to the Sand Lake SunRail Station. Operate via Orange Blossom Trail and Wetherbee Road, extend into Meadow Woods SunRail Station. Minor schedule changes.

·         NeighborLink 604 – Intercession City/Campbell City (Osceola County) – Extend route into Poinciana SunRail Station. Change time point from Orange Blossom Trail/Pleasant Hill Road to Poinciana SunRail Station. Minor schedule changes. Adding additional trips to meet evening SunRail trains.

·         NeighborLink 631 – Buena Ventura Lakes (Osceola County) – Extend route into Tupperware SunRail Station. Eliminate time point at Valencia College Osceola Campus and change to Tupperware SunRail Station. Minor schedule changes. Adding additional service to meet early morning SunRail trains.

·         NeighborLink 632 – North Kissimmee (Osceola County) – Extend route into Tupperware SunRail Station. Eliminate service to Kissimmee Intermodal Station. Eliminate time point at Valencia College Osceola Campus and change to Tupperware SunRail Station. Minor schedule changes. Add additional service to meet early morning SunRail trains.



SCHEDULE ADJUSTMENTS

·         Link 15 – Curry Ford Road (Orange County) – Minor schedule adjustments.

·         Link 23 – Winter Park/Springs Plaza (Orange County/Seminole County) – Minor schedule adjustments.

·         Link 26 – Pleasant Hill Road/Poinciana (Osceola County) – Adding 5:10 a.m. and 5:40 a.m. trips from Poinciana Walmart to Kissimmee Intermodal Station on weekdays. Minor schedule adjustments.

·         Link 34 – Sanford (Orange County) – Minor schedule adjustments.

·         Link 42 – International Drive/Orlando International Airport (Orange County) – Minor schedule adjustments.

·         Link 45 – Lake Mary (Seminole County) – Minor schedule adjustments.

·         Link 46W – W. SR 46/Seminole Towne Center (Seminole County) – Minor schedule adjustments.

·         Link 104 – East Colonial Drive (Orange County) – Minor schedule adjustments

·         Link 111 – SeaWorld/Orlando International Airport (Orange County) – Minor schedule adjustments.

·         Link 426 – Poinciana Circulator (Osceola County/Polk County) – Minor schedule adjustments.

·         Link 434 – SR 434 Crosstown (Seminole County) – Minor schedule adjustments.

·         Link 436N – SR 436 Crosstown (Orange County/Seminole County) – Minor schedule adjustments.

·         NeighborLink 652 – Maitland Center (Orange County) – Minor schedule adjustments.



Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Lynx can make Poinciana SunRail a winner

Will the Poinciana SunRail station be a winner or a loser? Making it easy for people to get to the train station is key, and Lynx plays a big role in that equation.

The experience of the last four years has shown that the end of the line stations – DeBary and Sand Lake Road – have been two of the busiest in the SunRail system. DeBary – the only SunRail station in Volusia County gets passengers from the Votran bus system. The Sand Lake Station in south Orlando is supported by 6 Lynx bus routes.

Bus loop at the Poinciana train station


At this writing, the bus situation is not nearly so bright for the nearly completed Poinciana station. That station at the intersection of Old Tampa Highway and Poinciana Blvd. is in Osceola County, relatively close to Polk County.

In case you’ve never been there, the Poinciana station that will become the southern end of the line for SunRail is pretty much in the middle of nowhere. (OK there is a Home Depot, a soft-drink bottling plant, a Wawa and an ice-cream-stand nearby.)

What concerns us is that currently the Poinciana station will be served only by Neighborhood Link 604. That bus circulates mainly in the Intercession City and Campbell City area near the station. As it is a Neighborhood Link you must call 2 hours in advance to arrange for pick up.

Under a contract with Polk County, Lynx will provide the only bus (Link 416) for Polk County residents to reach SunRail. That bus (Link 416) will carry people from Haines City to the Lynx Super Stop at the Poinciana Walmart. At the Super Stop, riders would transfer to Link 26 to take them to the intermodal station in downtown Kissimmee where people can catch SunRail, Lynx, Greyhound, and Amtrak.

The problem is that neither SunRail or Lynx offers service that is convenient to use.

Blame the local, state and federal elected officials because there is no dedicated source of funding to subsidize our local public transit – Lynx and SunRail.

All public transit throughout the world relies on government subsidies. Passenger fares only pay about 30 percent of the operating costs. Roads, highways and even airlines rely on government subsidies.

Until politicians find the courage to provide adequate funding a reliable people who rely on public transit will continue to receive janky service.

There is some good news. Currently, Osceola County, Lynx and the state Department of Transportation are discussing the possibility of offering additional Lynx bus service to connect more people to the Poinciana SunRail station.

What other changes would you like to see Lynx make in Osceola to make better use of SunRail?



Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Help create a new Pine Hills bus transfer station

If you ride the Lynx bus in the Pine Hills area, you’ll want to pay attention to this.

Lynx is planning to build a new bus transfer station to serve the Pine Hills area and YOU can help design it.

Right now, transferring from one bus to another in the Pine Hills – at Silver Star and Hiawassee roads – is a pretty dismal experience, with little or no shelter from the rain and sun.

Waiting for Lynx in Pine Hills
However, several months ago, Lynx bought land on Belco Drive, behind the Winn-Dixie shopping center, for a new transfer station and they’re determined to create something nice that can become an attractive, well-lit Town Center for Pine Hills and a great place to wait for your next bus.

The new bus transfer station must accommodate 8 to 10 buses. Design specifications say the transfer station must include:
·        transit center building
·        safety and security elements
·        accessible to the disabled and people using bicycles
Hamburg, Germany bus station
·        art/cultural elements
·        sustainable elements – solar and rain gardens
·        space for community events


On April 21st Lynx officials, residents and other interest folks will hold an all-day planning meeting at Evans High School to look at examples from other cities to come up with the best design for the Pine Hills station.

Lynx has $3 million to build the new bus transfer station.

CORRECTION: Location where most people transfer in Pine Hills.





Monday, March 12, 2018

Let's get political to fix Lynx

While attending a local meeting recently we heard a young woman who lives north of Apopka say she had to ride a bicycle almost 5 miles to the closest Lynx bus stop. To her, visiting downtown Orlando’s Lake Eola seemed more exotic than going to Disney World.

Since you’re reading this blog, you know that getting around Central Florida is a hardship for tens of thousands of residents who depend on Lynx for transportation.

It’s enough to make you want to curse out the people who run Lynx. 
Realistically, though, it’s not their fault. Lynx has never been properly funded to provide decent transportation for our community.

Blame the local, state, and federal elected officials who have been shortchanging the bus system for decades. When is the last time you saw a politician riding the Lynx bus? It never happens, unless they need a photo opportunity.

Somehow the politicians and community leaders found the money to expand the airport; build two basketball arenas; overhaul the Citrus Bowl and create a massive new downtown campus for the University of Central Florida.

Yet those same politicians never gave a second thought to providing decent public transportation for the hourly workers who keep those venues clean and running. It takes some Lynx riders two hours or more going to work and coming home from work every day.

Do you realize that Mickey Mouse has more buses to move guests between the resort hotels and the amusement parks at Disney than Lynx has in its fleet serving three sprawling counties?

Disney values its resort guests. Local politicians take Central Florida’s hourly workers for granted.

The core problem is Lynx never gets enough money to make major improvements and expansions to its service. This is because there is no dedicated source of funding -- such as a tax or fee -- to provide the reliable source of funding for the bus service.

Every year the Lynx leaders must go hat in hand to elected officials to beg for money to operate.

Anyone who tells you that SunRail and Lynx should be self sufficient -- without a taxpayer subsidy -- doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

There is no public transit system anywhere in the world that supports itself solely from the fare box. All transit systems -- including airlines and the paved street outside your house -- are subsidized by taxpayers.

Because most Central Floridians have a car, it’s easy for politicians to overlook the people who rely on Lynx.

Yet Lynx riders are far from insignificant. Lynx riders are the backbone of our community’s workforce and service-based economy.

Here’s a little factoid you should know. Every day Lynx buses provide 85,000 rides. By comparison, SunRail provides 3,200 rides – and a good segment of those people also ride Lynx. Also, SunRail only runs Monday to Friday, and is off on most holidays. Lynx runs every day.

There is one way things will change for Lynx riders. Change requires getting up in the face of elected officials and demanding that Lynx receive more money to improve its service. Don’t you deserve it?

Political activism worked for the students who survived the horrible massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in South Florida. They demanded action on gun safety and they got it in less than a month. They didn’t get everything they asked for, but they did make progress.

What can Lynx riders do?

Register to vote.

When politicians send you campaign fliers and emails, call them back and ask them what they’re going to do to improve Lynx bus service. Don’t settle for empty promises. Demand action – NOW!

This is an election year. You have them over a barrel. They want your vote.

Make them work for it.

And then hold them accountable.

Now, let’s get busy.

Click here for a free subscription to help us fight for better Lynx bus service.