SunRail to also have 'flex buses' - FOX 35 News Orlando

SunRail to also have 'flex buses'

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MAITLAND, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -

Several cities are looking at what are called "flex buses," as a way to get people from planned SunRail stations to their final destinations, once the train starts running in 2014.  Maitland's station will be a little more than a half mile from it's downtown, so they are looking for ways to get people there, and to the largest employment center in the city, the Maitland Summit area.

Maitland Community Development Director Dick Wells explains that you can call ahead for a bus, or when you arrive at the station.

"If you go to a flex bus station and tell it you're ready to get on the bus, it will arrive in 12 minutes or less."

The vision is to have small buses or vans that people can call on demand to go to any of the city's major areas.

"The idea is that you can do it from your smart phone. If you don't have smart phone access then the stations will be equipped with some equipment there."

Augusto works in the Maitland Summit area and calls himself a SunRail supporter. He says he would give it a shot, but doubts he would use the service regularly.

"I'd definitely try it. With a normal commute with your normal car, a 15 to 20 minute commute would probably equate to 35 to 40 minutes, even an hour. So I guess it would be per person, per their situation."

Stephanie works about a mile from the proposed station and was lukewarm to the idea of riding a train then a bus, even though she is exactly the kind of customer SunRail is looking for. She commutes each day from Deltona to Maitland.

"I would definitely take it into consideration. I mean, I currently drive a car, so I'm not too worried about it, but if there was a situation where I needed to catch a ride, sure, sure definitely."

Maitland isn't really sure how much this will cost the taxpayers or how much fares would be to ride the flex buses. They gave city commissioners a number of $153,000 a year as a starting point. It could cost as much as 30 percent more, or even could cost nothing, if federal grants and a high ridership number paid the cost.

Casselberry, Lake Mary, and Altamonte Springs are also considering flex buses, once SunRail comes on line.

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