Saturday, December 8, 2018

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

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.

Pols are more interested in talking about SunRail – the new shiny toy -- than Lynx, which is the backbone of the local public transit system.

For the record, Lynx provides 83,000 rides daily, compared to SunRail which provides 5,300 rides daily.

Lynx is not sexy, and many of the people who rely on Lynx are needy, or people of color who have little political juice. The routes are convoluted, and many must wait up to an hour between buses or must walk miles to reach their closest bus stops.

Yet without Lynx, the local service-based economy would grind to a halt. Even SunRail depends on Lynx to bring many passengers to the train stations.

Lynx struggles because there is no dedicated source of funding for the system that serves Orange, Seminole and Osceola counties with a fleet of 300 buses though they really need 600 or more buses.

Every year Lynx executives must beg local counties for money to subsidize the system. Nearly every public transit system in the world requires government subsidies to keep running. Without the subsidy Lynx riders on some routes would have to pay up to $14 for a one-way ride.


It’s noteworthy that Dyer gave his State of Downtown address on the same day the Lynx board met. He didn’t make it to the Lynx meeting.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Vote like your bus ride depends on it

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 Guillermo Smith, Pam Dirschka
Orange County Commission candidates: Christine Moore, Patricia Rumph and Mayra Uribe
Osceola County Commission candidates: Viviana Janer and Cheryl Grieb
Volusia County Council candidate: Barbara Girtman

The other candidates did not respond. One candidate died during the campaign.

We counted no response as a NO because if a candidate running for office can’t or won’t respond to a basic bread-and-butter question about public transportation, then they really don’t care about this community. Don’t they understand that traffic and transportation are major public policy issues that affect the health, future and potential prosperity of this region?

The campaign of Democratic Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy of Orlando said that they don’t respond to surveys. Huh?

If her campaign won’t answer 2 simple questions, then how are people supposed to know what the Honorable Ms. Murphy stands for?

Out of fairness, we’re obligated to report that Mike Miller, Ms. Murphy’s Republican challenger, would not respond to the survey.

Many candidates were difficult to contact because they do not list phone numbers or email addresses on their campaign websites or social media. They want our votes, but they don’t want to hear from us unless we’re donating money.

Here are the candidates who did not respond to our survey.
U.S. Senate: Bill Nelson and Rick Scott
US House: Nancy Soderburg, Mike Waltz, Bill Posey, Sanjay Patel
Florida House: Lee Mangold, David Smith, Scott Plakton, Josie Tomkow, Ben Griffin, Bobby Olszewski, Stockton Reeves, George Chandler, Rene Plasencia
Orange County Commission: Pete Crotty
Osceola County Commission: Wanda Rentas
Volusia County Council: Pat Patterson

The reason SunRail doesn’t run late at night or on the weekends is that most of our elected officials don’t care. Politicians have the power to improve the service.
The reason why Lynx and Votran riders must walk miles to bus stops or wait up to an hour in the pouring rain and under the boiling sun is that our politicians don’t care. The politicians have the power to improve the service.

In a previous article, we noted that Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis opposes SunRail. He calls it a boondoggle. Click here to hear DeSantis talk about transportation.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum supports more investment in public transit. Click here for Gillum’s position on this topic.

Vote for politicians who are #woke and care about public transit.

Vote Tuesday, Nov. 6 because our public transit and future depend on it.






Friday, November 2, 2018

Proposed changes coming to Lynx

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 and Fitness Center via Kirkman Road, Valencia College Drive and Receiving Road.

Link 301 – Pine Hills/Animal Kingdom (Orange County) – Afternoon trip from Pine Hills to Animal Kingdom Lodge will serve All-Star Resort. Minor schedule changes.

Link 303 – Washington Shores/Disney Hollywood Studios (Orange County) – Routing to/from Hollywood Studios will change. Bus stop will change from current location to a new stop located at the new Cast Services building. Service to All-Star Resort will be eliminated. Minor schedule adjustments.



SCHEDULE ADJUSTMENTS

Link 8 – W. Oak Ridge Road/International Drive (Orange County) – 4:51 a.m. weekday trip from Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets to downtown Orlando will change to 4:43 a.m.

Link 11 – S. Orange Avenue/Orlando International Airport (Orange County) – Minor schedule adjustments.

Link 18 – S. Orange Avenue/Kissimmee (Orange County/Osceola County) – Minor schedule adjustments.

Link 38 – Downtown Orlando/SeaWorld (Orange County) – Minor schedule adjustments.

Link 50 – Downtown Orlando/Magic Kingdom (Orange County) – Minor schedule adjustments.

Link 57 – John Young Parkway (Orange County/Osceola County) – Minor schedule adjustments.

Link 60 – LYMMO Orange Line (Orange County) – On Friday and Saturday, the last trip will leave CentroPlex Garage at 10:45 p.m.

 Link 62 – LYMMO Grapefruit Line (Orange County) – On Friday and Saturday, the last trip will leave Church Street and Magnolia Avenue at 10:45 p.m.

Link 108 – South U.S. 441/Kissimmee (Orange County/Osceola County) – Minor schedule adjustments.

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

FastLink 407 – Kissimmee/Orlando International Airport/Medical City (Orange County/Osceola County) – Minor schedule adjustments.

Link 416 – Poinciana/Haines City (Osceola County/Polk County) – Will extend the 5:40 a.m. trip from Walmart and the 1:55 p.m. trip from Haines City Plaza to serve Haines City High School.

FastLink 441 – Downtown Orlando/Kissimmee (Orange County/Osceola County) – Minor schedule adjustments.

NeighborLink 622 – Oviedo (Seminole County) – Minor schedule adjustments.

Before they move forward with these changes, Lynx is planning to hold public hearings. The board will vote on these changes at the Dec. 6 meeting.

Those hearings will be held:

Tuesday, Nov. 13, 5 to 7 p.m.
Altamonte Springs City Hall, 225 Newburyport Ave.
Altamonte Springs

Wednesday, Nov. 14, 3 to 5 p.m.
LYNX Central Station, 2nd floor
455 North Garland Ave.
Orlando

Thursday, Nov.15, 4:45 to 6:45 p.m.
Kissimmee City Hall
101 Church St.
Kissimmee





Thursday, November 1, 2018

Downtown Kissimmee is getting a new bus route

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.

Kissimmee Intermodal Station
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 people for people to reach popular destinations such as Kissimmee City Hall, the county courthouse and administration building, Osceola Regional Medical Center and Florida Hospital Kissimmee.

Link 709 will operate every 30 minutes weekdays 6:30 a.m.-8:09 p.m.

A public hearing to discuss Link 709 and other proposed changes to Lynx routes and schedules will be held Nov. 15th, 5:45 to 6:45 p.m. at Kissimmee City Hall.




Thursday, October 11, 2018

How come Lynx riders get left in the dust

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 want to do.

And by the way, did we mention that SunRail only runs Monday to Friday, while Lynx is a 365-day service because many of its riders work non-traditional shifts?

Without Lynx, Central Florida’s service-based economy would have crashed and burned years ago.

We get it. We know that SunRail is the new shiny toy.

Suits are common on SunRail; not so much on the Lynx bus.

The class bias was unfortunate, but not uncommon.

In a new report, an advocacy group called the TransitCenter explained that that “transit agencies are still overwhelmingly focused on rail, rather than bus, amenities. In 2016, transit agencies spent just 6 percent of their station capital funds on bus stop amenities, like benches and shelters. The other 94 percent went to rail stations.

“There are two main problems with that disparity. For one, it’s discriminatory. Bus riders are more likely to be low-income. And it’s bad business: about 50 percent of transit trips in the U.S. are still made by bus.”

Lynx riders, some of whom also use SunRail, don’t want to get lost in the sauce.

SunRail service certainly needs to be improved. But Lynx should not be an afterthought. Its riders have suffered from skimpy service for decades.



Monday, September 17, 2018

Lynx needs to improve coordination

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.

Bus leaves right before SunRail arrives
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, but there were no buses waiting in the train station. To see it for yourself, click here.

Sand Lake Road is a major transfer point. It provides bus links to Orlando International Airport; the Sand Lake Road business corridor; International Drive where many people in the hospitality-industry work, and other destinations in south and east Orlando county.

We saw the cycle of the bus leaving before the train pulled in two more times at Sand Lake Road on Monday.

No one should look at this article and conclude that everything is screwed up between Lynx and SunRail. We observed operations for less than an hour at one train station.

What we observed though, shows there is room for improvement.

We don’t think the bus drivers should take the blame for what we saw. Who knows if the bus drivers even know the SunRail train schedule. Indeed, bus drivers have their own bus schedule to keep.

We know that Lynx managers are always working to fine-tune their routes and schedules. That process takes time.

A quick fix for what we observed might be to post a Lynx dispatcher at Sand Lake Road (and other major transfer points) during critical travel periods – especially during the morning rush hours – and give that dispatcher the authority to hold a bus for a minute or two if a train is only a minute or two from arriving.

Realistically three things need to happen to improve Lynx and SunRail service.
·        Voters need to elect local, state and federal officials who are dedicated to improving public transit in Metro Orlando.
·        Merge Lynx and SunRail into a single public transit system.
·        Provide money to add 400 buses to the Lynx fleet (more buses and drivers means improved service for riders). Fund a full-service SunRail so the trains run more frequently and provide train service on the weekends, holidays and late at night.



Thursday, August 23, 2018

How Lynx is helping non-profits

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 develop social skills, executive function skills, job readiness skills and independent life skills as they transition into independent life.
·        Children’s Safety Village of Central Florida mission is to prevent injuries and fatalities of children through lifesaving education, advocacy, and leadership. Based in Orlando children learn about fire, water, traffic, pedestrian, bicycle, 911, internet and other safety skills in a realistic setting.
·        Come out with Pride is an annual parade and festival at Lake Eola bringing together and celebrating the LGBTQ+ and allied communities.
·        Crossroads Corral of Sanford provides equine-assisted mental health counseling to Veterans who suffer from PTSD and their families, youth and women who have suffered trauma, abuse, and neglect. Their mission is to promote personal growth, hope, and healing through horses.
·        Just Our Soldiers' Helpers (J.O.S.H.) from Lake Mary increases the morale of deployed U.S. service members by preparing and shipping care packages consisting of snacks/food or high- quality hygiene products.
·        Latino Leadership of Orlando teaches leadership development, educational advancement, and economic development. Most recently they served 8,500 families impacted by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Are they autism?
·        Lovey Loaves in Orlando is a special needs dog rescue devoted to saving and rehabilitating dogs that have been dealt different circumstances such as amputation, blindness, deafness or those suffering from disease, illness or injuries.
·        SNiP-it of Central Florida operates a high volume, low-cost spay/neuter clinic. Based in Kissimmee they help pet owners have healthier, happier pets and also reduce the number of unwanted litters and animals entering shelters.


Monday, July 23, 2018

The Lynx bus shuffle

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 deal with this change, people must get off SunRail at the Sand Lake Road station to catch the Link 11 to Orlando International Airport where they catch the Fastlink 407 to the VA hospital in Lake Nona. Making these transitions between the bus and train can be tricky because there’s barely one or two minutes to get from one to the other. A little more timing coordination on the service changes at SunRail and Lynx would have been appreciated.

Starting next Monday (July 30), folks will be able to take SunRail straight to the Meadow Woods station where they can catch the 418 and continue to the VA hospital.






Thursday, July 5, 2018

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

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 workers – housekeepers, groundskeepers, clerks, kitchen staff and so many others – need the bus to get to work.

Since most service-industry workers don’t get paid a living wage they can’t afford a car. Instead many spend three hours or more every weekday -- longer on weekends when many Lynx buses run on a reduced schedule – traveling to and from work.


Lynx deserves kudos for technology innovations it has introduced – especially its app that lets riders track buses and manage their fare payment -- to improve the rider experience.

Realistically Lynx needs more money to add buses, drivers, and resources to support an expanded fleet. The fares riders pay only cover about 30 percent of the operating costs. That’s the financial reality for every public transit system in the world.

The Lynx CEO also told us that it costs $92 an hour to operate a single bus. To keep the fare affordable – at $2 for a one-way ride – subsidies are essential.

On some routes, the one-way fare would be $14 or more without the subsidy from local government. Canceling routes or reducing service would make it impossible for some people to get to work. As it is, many people walk miles, or wait an hour, for their Lynx bus.

Every transportation system -- from airlines to the street outside your home -- depends on government subsidies.

The situation with Lynx is particularly bad because Lynx doesn’t have a dedicated source of funding that it can count on for that subsidy. Every year Lynx officials must beg local governments for the subsidy it needs to operate.
Since Lynx is generally viewed as transportation for “poor people” it lacks powerful, influential advocates in the business or political community.

As we noted earlier, don’t blame bus drivers or Lynx management, for the jacked-up bus service.

Blame the politicians who are supposed to fight for everyone – including folks who depend on Lynx.

The lack of an adequate public transit system should be everyone’s concern – even those who have never ridden a Lynx bus.

As if the daily traffic jams on every major thoroughfare from Lake Mary to Kissimmee haven’t become overwhelming, earlier this year Orlando lost out on a proposal that would have brought a $5 billion second Amazon headquarters and 50,000 high-paying jobs to Central Florida. One of the deal killers was the fact that our public transportation system sucks.

Civic, business and political leaders in Central Florida have used their influence, creativity, and checkbooks to achieve and build magnificent things in our community – two basketball arenas, a soccer stadium, the Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center, a new downtown campus for UCF, overhauling Camping World Stadium (Citrus Bowl) and much more.

Those leaders have a moral obligation to flex their muscles to support public transit – a resource that benefits the entire community and the local economy.

For more news about Central Florida’s public-transit system, click http://www.LynxedTogether.com




Wednesday, June 20, 2018

After 25 years Lynx still don't get no respect

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 subjected to long waits at bus stops under the broiling sun and in rain.

Lynx service should be a lot better. But Lynx only has slightly more than 300 buses to serve three counties.

Realistically, Lynx needs 600 to 800 buses to provide frequent service and to service more destinations.

Lynx can’t do a lot better because passenger fares only cover about one-third of the operating expenses.

Lynx, SunRail and just about every other public transit system, in the world rely on public subsidies to operate. (Before any fiscal hawks start beefing, you should know that the airlines and even the road outside your house are subsidized by taxpayers.)

The problem is there is no dedicated source of funding for Lynx and SunRail. Remember, most of those elected officials who never ride the Lynx don’t really care about the hourly workers who rely on the bus.

And while we’re at it, SunRail is living on borrowed time. Right now, the train is being subsidized by the Florida Department of Transportation (which is why there is no late-night or weekend service). Come 2021, SunRail also will need a local dedicated funding source or it will go out of business.

But for right now, let’s celebrate 25 years of Lynx by clicking here.






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?