Do you currently have a love-hate relationship with your car? Between the rise of gas prices, tolls and vehicle maintenance costs, many individuals are turning to transportation alternatives.
The LYNX bus system continues to grow in popularity as a dependable transportation method for business professionals, students and families. However, you may notice there are limited bus systems running through East Orlando. So when will there be more routes and options available for those residing in the areas surrounding Avalon Park, Lake Nona and Alafaya Trail?
Good question. The Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority operates the LYNX bus system, which serves Orange, Osceola and Seminole Counties. Currently there is no dedicated funding for LYNX and the system depends on fares and contributions from the individual counties, as well as the City of Orlando, to assist with the annual $112 million budget.
LYNX remains focused on the restructuring of current services rather than the expansion of services, after the Florida Department of Transportation’s announcement that the service development program has been suspended until further notification.
According to a 2030 PawPrint Master Plan developed by LYNX, the organization plans to construct six corridors between Orlando International Airport and the University of Central Florida. Prior to implementing these plans, LYNX must research and identify segments, examine the segment potential, as well as complete the corridor prioritization and transit demand throughout the East Orlando community.
Matt Friedman, a spokesperson for LYNX, adds, “I am still waiting to hear back from planning regarding any long-term plans. Regardless, it will come down to who is going to fund the service.”
Recently, a highly anticipated late-night bus service has put its mark on many local students and residents, however. The Student Government Association at the University of Central Florida, in partnership with LYNX, has established KnightLYNX, a bus service operating from 8:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. This new program, which will operate throughout fall, spring, and ‘Summer B’ semesters, serves as a safe nightlife alternative for students, as well as other East Orlando community members.
KnightLYNX consists of two routes with stops around campus, nearby shopping plazas including the University Palms and Waterford Lakes shopping centers, as well as an assortment of apartment complexes. The KnightDrive Director at UCF, Adam Brock, is optimistic about expansion possibilities. “We aren’t looking to change the route this semester, but we are creating a future plan for the program which would involve additional routes and nights of service,” explains Brock.
The four buses, two designated to each route, have a capacity of 28-seated passengers, or a maximum of 42 passengers with standing room. Although money to fund the service comes from UCF Student Activity and Service Fees, non-students may take advantage of the bus as well for a minimum charge.
“All UCF students with a valid UCF ID card can ride the bus as much as they want for free. Anyone who does not have a UCF ID card must pay $2 each time they get on the bus,” says Brock. “This program has gotten very popular and can only grow as our marketing plan plays its part week after week. In the first two weeks of operation, we have serviced over 700 students.” Friedman explains the goal of KnightLYNX was, “an effort to provide all students with a safe, reliable form of transportation.”
Whether you are traveling to work, school, or even just the grocery store, transportation is a decision we make every day. But, if you’re looking forward to a LYNX bus taking you there in the near future, however, the decision might be a bit easier for you until a dedicated funding source can be identified.
Article by Carol Galbicsek