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Even Mayor Dyer doesn't seem to care about Lynx riders

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Not once during the Orlando State of Downtown address last week (Dec. 6) did Mayor Buddy Dyer mention the importance of improving and expanding Lynx bus service.
In a section of the speech Dyer labeled “connectivity” (which you can see by clicking here) he praised the SunRail commuter train. Dyer spoke of pedestrian trails, bike-share, optimizing vehicle flow, and even the introduction of a ride-share hub for downtown’s late-night club hoppers.

But Dyer – a member of Lynx board – did not specifically call out Lynx and the vital role it plays in moving people, especially those who live east and west of downtown Orlando.
Mind you Lynx Central Station sits in the heart of downtown – a stone’s throw from Creative Village – the mayor’s urban renewal pet project in the historically black Parramore community.
By overlooking Lynx -- either unintentionally or purposefully -- Dyer showed why Lynx continues to limp along. Too many politicians don’t give Lynx the priority and attention it deserves.
Po…

Vote like your bus ride depends on it

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Public transit sucks in Central Florida – really in most of Florida – because most of the politicians on the Nov. 6 ballot don’t care about public transportation.
We know this because we embarked on a month-long investigation to survey federal, state and county commission candidates whose names are on Central Florida ballots.


Through the efforts of researcher Robin Denise Harris, we posed 2 simple questions: If elected, does the candidate plan to support efforts to improve and expand SunRail? If elected, does the candidate plan to support efforts to improve and expand Lynx (or Votran for candidates in Volusia County)?
Of the 38 candidates we reached out to (trying several times if candidates did not respond to the first query) 17 candidates answered yes.
Those answering YES included: U.S. House: Darren Soto, Wayne Liebnitsky Florida Senate candidate: Melissa Martin Florida House candidates: Tracey Kagen, Ricky Shirah, Barbara Cady, Geraldine Thompson, Anna Eskamani, Amy Mercado, Carlos Guiller…

Proposed changes coming to Lynx

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Lynx is proposing to add 1 route and make other route and schedule changes on Jan. 28, 2019.
Here's what they're planning:

NEW ROUTE
Link 709 – Kissimmee Connector (Osceola County) – Will operate a one-way loop through downtown Kissimmee from the LYNX Kissimmee Intermodal Station via Dakin Street, Lakeview Drive, Patrick Street, Emmett Street, Church Street, Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard, Rose Avenue, Oak Street, Central Avenue, Hilda Avenue and Main Street. Route will operate every 30 minutes weekdays 6:30 a.m.-8:09 p.m.
ROUTE ADJUSTMENTS
Link 21 – Universal Studios (Orange County) – The current bus stop on Valencia College Drive will be eliminated. Buses will serve a new stop near the Valencia College Nursing and Fitness Center via Kirkman Road, Valencia College Drive and Receiving Road.        
Link 37 – Pine Hills/Florida Mall (Orange County) – The current bus stop on Valencia College Drive will be eliminated. Buses will serve a new stop near the Valencia College Nursing …

Downtown Kissimmee is getting a new bus route

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A new bus route has been proposed for Kissimmee that would benefit both locals and people arriving at Kissimmee’s new SunRail station.
The proposed route, to be known as Link 709/Kissimmee Connector will make it easy for people to reach some of the most popular destinations in the downtown Kissimmee area.
Tentative plans call for charging $1 to use the Link 709.
The bus will begin its route at the Kissimmee Intermodal Station, which is also where the SunRail train stops.
The intermodal station is a major transfer point for buses from all over Osceola County. Amtrak trains also stop at that station, and that’s also where people board and get off the Greyhound bus.
A press release from Lynx explained that the bus will operate in a one-way loop through downtown Kissimmee via Dakin Street, Lakeview Drive, Patrick Street, Emmett Street, Church Street, Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard, Rose Avenue, Oak Street, Central Avenue, Hilda Avenue, and Main Street.
This route will make it easier for p…

How come Lynx riders get left in the dust

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Lynx bus riders in Central Florida always seem to get the short end of the stick.
Check out the recent report card on Metro Orlando’s transportation that the Orange County League of Women Voters just released. Click here for the report.
Overall the report was good. The league gave the transportation network and local leaders a D grade. We give the league a B for their report.
Just like everybody else, the league report seemed overly focused on improving and expanding rail transportation – SunRail -- and connecting that train system Orlando International Airport.
Those are noble concerns, but let’s get real.
SunRail now provides 5,300 rides daily. Lynx provides 83,000 daily rides – 15 times the number of SunRail.
We’re not putting down SunRail. We’re just stating cold, hard facts.
Most of the Lynx riders aren’t headed to exciting destinations like the airport.
They’re going to I Drive to change linens on beds or headed to jobs in theme parks and other thankless tasks that most people wouldn’t…

Lynx needs to improve coordination

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Ever since SunRail started serving our community, people have asked if Lynx is coordinating its buses with SunRail.
Lynx and SunRail officials have repeatedly said that they are coordinating bus and train arrival times.
Coordination is the key to what transportation wonks call an “intermodal” system. In other words, a system where people can seamlessly transfer from one mode of transportation to another, such as from a bus to a train and vice versa.
Yet we have continued to hear Lynx riders complain that the bus they needed pulled out of the train station just before their train arrived.
For the first time this past Monday (Sept. 17) we decided to check it out for ourselves.
We arrived at the Sand Lake Road SunRail station before sunrise.
Lo and behold two buses pulled in. A couple of people got off. Then the buses left. As the buses pulled away we could hear the public address system on the platform announce that the next train was due in two minutes.
Two minutes later the train pulled in,…

How Lynx is helping non-profits

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Organizations that support children, animals and civic pride will be among the eight non-profit agencies featured on the Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority (LYNX) 2018-19 Public Service Bus.
Seminole County Commissioner and LYNX Board Chairman Lee Constantine and LYNX Chief Executive Officer Edward L. Johnson will unveil the bus 2 p.m. Sept. 6. The event will be held at the Cranes Roost Park Eddie Rose Amphitheater located at 274 Cranes Roost Blvd., Altamonte Springs.

All organizations will receive free exposure by having their logos placed on a LYNX bus traveling Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties for the next 12 months. Each winner was selected in a random drawing of 40 applicants with 501(c)(3) status and operate on budgets of less than $1.5 million annually. LYNX 2018-19 Public Service Bus Contest Winners:
·ASD Adult Achievement Center of Seminole County provides services to adults with autism. The Altamonte Springs organization has programs to help young adults deve…

The Lynx bus shuffle

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Say goodbye to Lynx Express 208.
For the past 4 years, Express 208 shuttled passengers between the Lynx Intermodal Station in Kissimmee and the Sand Lake Road SunRail station.
Next Monday (July 30) the 208 is going away because it’s being replaced by the SunRail station. Next week SunRail trains will be providing service down to the Kissimmee Intermodal Station. The Lynx express bus service will no longer be needed. As a reminder, all bets are off on the weekend because SunRail does not run on Saturdays and Sundays.
One other noteworthy Lynx service change involves the Fastlink 418 that many people rely on to reach the Veterans Affairs hospital in Lake Nona. Until now, it was common for people headed to the VA hospital to catch SunRail to Sand Lake Road where they could pick up the 418.
However, as part of Lynx periodic reshuffling of routes to maximize resources and prepare for expanded SunRail service -- as of July 15 -- the 418 no longer stops at the Sand Lake Road SunRail station.
To d…

Poor people aren't the only ones hurt by Orlando's weak bus system

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Next time you’re out under the blazing sun or in a rainstorm waiting for your Lynx bus, here’s something to think about: Orange County Public Schools (OCPS) has three times more buses than Lynx has in its fleet.
Lynx has about 330 buses. OCPS has 900.
And no, we can’t use school buses for Lynx. That’s not what school buses were designed for.
Don’t hate on the local public schools. They need all those buses to get 69,000 children to school every morning within a short period of time, so classes can begin on time.
Lynx also has an incredibly important mission.
Lynx provides 83,000 rides daily across Orange, Seminole, and Osceola counties, in addition to small portions of Lake and Polk counties. By comparison, SunRail provides about 3,200 rides every weekday and does not operate on the weekends.
Lynx is the main artery for Orlando’s lifeblood that has enriched this community as the vacation and convention capital of the United States.
If you ride Lynx you already know that many service-industry…

After 25 years Lynx still don't get no respect

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Tri-County Transit was re-branded as Lynx 25 years ago. They painted many of the buses funky tropical colors to add some pizzazz.
That was probably the first time elected officials in Orlando took public transit seriously.
Yet Lynx continues to drag along because frankly, we don’t know of any elected officials who ride the bus, except maybe for a news media photo opportunity.
Lynx may as well be a homeless guy panhandling at the side of the road – all the suits see him but ignore him.
But Lynx is not a homeless guy. It’s an integral part of Central Florida service economy. If hourly workers can’t get to work, the theme parks, convention center, hotels and so forth are out of business.
Granted SunRail is the new shiny toy in Central Florida’s public transit arena. Lynx may not seem as sexy and cool as SunRail, but every day Lynx gives 80,000 more rides than SunRail. (That’s not a typo).
Many Lynx routes run on weekends and late at night. SunRail does not. Despite this, Lynx riders are subject…

Major route and schedule changes proposed for Lynx bus

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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 a…

Lynx can make Poinciana SunRail a winner

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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.


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 tha…