Sarah lived in San Francisco all her life before moving to Orlando 5 years ago and has a lot of experience using both cities' transportation
Orlando's Public Transportation
Orlando is one of the most visited cities in the United States; in 2021 alone, more than 5 million people visited the city. Orlando is in the top 10 most-visited cities in the United States, so there is a high population of tourists constantly coming in and out of the city.
However, unlike some of the other cities in the top 10 like New York City, San Francisco, Boston, or Chicago, Orlando has a very poor and almost nonexistent public transportation system. For a city with such high tourism, the city should have a decent public transportation system in place for tourists who don't have a car.
For example, most tourists that visit Orlando come from out of state or different countries, and it can be very expensive and inconvenient to have to rent a car to get around the city and not everyone can afford it. Also, some people from other countries or even people from around the United States might not have a driver's license and aren't able to drive so they really can't get around the city.
Unfortunately, Orlando's poor public transportation system makes tourists feel obligated to have to rent a car while they are visiting the city, which adds a huge and unnecessary expense to their already expensive vacation.
Orlando's public transportation system, which is called LYNX, runs to most of the big tourist attractions in the city, including Disney World, Universal Studios, Sea World, and the Florida Mall. It is true that, as a tourist, you could definitely use the LYNX buses to get to where you want to go.
However, most tourists don't like to use the public transportation system because it is very inconvenient. When staying on Disney property or in the Universal Studios-owned hotels, it's not necessary to use the public transportation system to go anywhere unless they plan to go to the other theme parks in the area.
Also, a big issue with the LYNX buses is they aren't like the normal public transportation systems that people are used to in places like San Francisco or New York City. Public transportation in those cities comes very frequently.
For example, at least every 5 to 10 minutes most of the time on the busy lines, and maybe every 20 minutes on the less traveled bus lines. In San Francisco, I usually only waited about five minutes for a bus on the busy bus line that ran from my house to downtown but in Orlando, the LYNX bus only runs about every half an hour.
This is very inconvenient; if you miss your bus by just a couple of minutes, you have to wait a really long time for the next one, which wastes a lot of time.
Another issue with the LYNX buses is they can be unreliable. I rarely ever had an issue in San Francisco with their public transportation system because the buses and underground trains almost always came on time and were reliable.
However, with LYNX, it's pretty common to get to the bus stop, wait for the next bus and it just doesn't show up. It's frustrating because you have no idea what's going on: Where is the bus? What happened to it? Is it just late? Is it ever coming?
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Most of the time, the bus is just running a few minutes late but a couple of times the bus that was supposed to come at that time just never showed up at all. I had to then wait an additional half an hour for the next LYNX bus. So instead of waiting just 30 minutes, I have now wasted an entire hour just waiting at the bus stop.
Unfortunately, without a car, there is no other way to get around the city, so the people that live in Orlando are just stuck with the terrible LYNX buses and the terrible public transportation in Orlando.
As a tourist, it's understandable for them to get frustrated with the LYNX buses because they paid a lot of money to be in Orlando and now they're wasting a lot of time waiting for unreliable buses.
As a person living and working in Orlando, it can be extremely frustrating too because, without a car, the only way to go to work is by LYNX bus or Uber. However, Uber gets expensive very fast, and now with rising gas prices and inflation, Uber costs have also gone up a lot.
Uber has never been a good way to get to work, so people living and working in Orlando have no choice but to depend on LYNX and this lack of reliability makes people late for work.
Unfortunately, as the saying goes, "Time is money," so the boss doesn't care about why you're late and about how bad the LYNX buses are. He or she just wants you there on time or else you'll be fired from the job that's paying for your rent and other living expenses.
Orlando needs a better public transportation system like the other big cities in the United States. I never had an issue going to work or getting around the city of San Francisco while living there because the public transportation system is so good and many people just use the buses to commute to work.
Many people don't have cars or don't use them except on the weekend because it's not necessary. I wish that Orlando could have something like that in their city.
Takes Forever to Go Places
With LYNX, you already have to wait half an hour for a bus if you were unlucky to have missed the bus. But then it also takes forever to get to your destination. The bus makes many stops and things are far away, so getting from point A to point B can take at least half an hour, sometimes 45 minutes or an hour.
For example, to get from Sea World to Disney Springs takes about 15 minutes by car but by LYNX bus, it takes about 40 minutes, so more than double the amount of time it takes by car.
As a person living and working in Orlando, this is way too long because you want to get from point A to point B as fast as you can. You don't have time to waste and if you don't have a car, it's not possible to use LYNX to buy your groceries. The time it takes to wait for the bus and get to your house, all of your groceries would be spoiled and the trip to the grocery store would've been in vain.
When I was living in Orlando before I married my husband (who has a car), I would either have to ask someone to drive me to the grocery store or take an Uber. Due to not being able to go on my own, I had to buy enough groceries to last me at least two weeks so that I wouldn't need to keep asking other people or paying for Uber so frequently.
In San Francisco, I never had this issue. I could go to the grocery store by bus, get my groceries, and come back home in under 90 minutes because of how quick the buses were there. I never stressed about if my groceries would spoil or if my frozen goods would melt.
Even though San Francisco is much colder than Orlando, I loved that I could do all my errands easily and be independent.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Sarah Wong