Friday, August 8, 2014

SunRailRiders - Kissimmee SunRail passengers have a sweet deal

Kissimmee SunRail riders have a really sweet deal.

Even though SunRail doesn’t run to Kissimee yet, Kissimmee residents are already taking advantage of SunRail. They’re riding an express bus from downtown Kissimmee to the Sand Lake Road SunRail station in south Orange County.

Actually, it’s a little more than your average express bus, Lynx 208 is a luxury motor coach and we checked it out recently.

We picked it up at the Kissimmee Intermodal Station – that’s just fancy talk for a mini terminal where most of the buses serving Osceola County come together. And man, is it busy in the morning. This intermodal station is adjacent to the Kissimmee Amtrak station where SunRail is scheduled to begin service in 2016.

Lynx 208 is actually a big orange Mears motor coach – you know the type with the high-back reclining chairs. It even has free Wi-Fi, a feature they need on regular Lynx buses.
The ride on Lynx 208 costs $3.50 -- a little more than the regular Lynx bus, but you also get a free transfer to SunRail.

Though the motor coach we rode only had a handful of riders, everybody enjoyed it. We chatted with a couple of ladies who said this new Lynx service and SunRail has really changed their lives by relieving them of the stress of driving to Orlando every morning. And they’re saving a fortune. They explained that their employer is paying their SunRail fare (employers get a tax incentive for this) and all they have to pay for is the express bus service.

One woman said she used to spend $75 per week for gasoline. But now it’s only costing her $40 per month for the express bus. Cha-ching!

After leaving the intermodal station the express bus makes one more stop at a park and ride lot on  Shady lane in Kissimmee before hopping on Florida’s Turnpike and zipping over to Sand Lake Road.

The ride took about 30 minutes and there was a SunRail train waiting in the station.
The coordination and cooperation between Lynx and SunRail is great to see. Here’s hoping that more people will get onboard so we can keep it running.

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