Four cities in Orange andSeminole counties are ready to take on what are called "flex buses"to get people to their final destinations. Altamonte Springs City Manager FrankMartz says without extra mini buses to take people to their final destinationsin Altamonte Springs, Sunrail will be little more than a commuter train peopleride out of his city.
"For many of the cities along the Sunrail line, if you can not get eastand west to their employment centers, their business centers, areas of highresidential population, Sunrail is just a train that runs north and south. Forit to work, or at least for the cities north of Orlando it has to run east andwest."
Maitland, Casselberry and Longwood will also participate in the trial program.You would call and order a bus from your cell phone or computer. Theoretically,the bus would be waiting or arriving within 10 minutes to take you near yourfinal destination. It is a test program that no one, even Martz is surewill work.
"That's why you do a demonstration. I think we can be stuck in a viewpointof not finding any innovative solution, not looking for anything that willwork, or looking for things that will work, and that's what we are in thepursuit of. How do we get our people in and out of Sunrail?"
The cities will pay half of the operating cost in the one-year demonstrationproject, and the state will pay the other half. State Senator Jeff Brandes (R)of St. Pete wonders if long term we are not missing the boat by allowingprivate vendors to own and operate a program like this.
"I think that the world operates better on private market options, and sowhen we see even public agencies options like Lynx won't even support this typeof activity and won't take this type of activity on, we have to question isthere really a market demand for this?"
Lynx originally planned to run flex bus, but backed out when it could not useits "Neighborhood Link" technology to run it. Sunrail beginsoperation next Spring. It still is not clear if the flex buses will be ready bythen, or what passengers would be charged to ride them.