TAVARES — LakeXpress, the County’s public transportation service, is seeking volunteers who are willing to be “mystery riders” to evaluate the service from a customer's perspective and provide feedback to County staff.
“Much like the mystery shoppers of retail, the undercover mystery riders would take trips on LakeXpress,” said Ken Harley, Director of the Lake County Public Transportation Division.
Armed with a checklist of criteria that includes cleanliness, driver courtesy, stop announcements and on-time performance, the information mystery riders gather would be used to help staff identify and correct problems. To volunteer as a LakeXpress “mystery rider,” call the Lake County Public Transportation Division at (352) 742-6580.
“This program will give us the opportunity to identify what LakeXpress riders experience,” Harley said. “We want to know what is currently working and what isn’t, and what we can improve.”
LakeXpress’ four routes include Route 1 running from The Villages to Eustis, primarily on U.S. Highway 441; Route 2 circulating in downtown Leesburg; Route 3 circulating in downtown Mount Dora; and Route 4 running from the Altoona Post Office on State Road 19 to the community of Zellwood on U.S. Highway 441 where passengers can transfer to LYNX route 44. LakeXpress operates Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 7:45 p.m. Fares for LakeXpress are $1 for all trips. Half-fares are available for riders 60 years or older, students and individuals with disabilities (buses are equipped with lifts). Free fares are available for children under five years of age, who are accompanied by a fare-paying chaperone.
LakeXpress will provide three routes during the Leesburg Bikefest on April 23-25. Fares for all routes are $1 each way or $3 for an all-day pass. One shuttle will run every 20 minutes between downtown Leesburg and Gator Harley-Davidson, located at 1745 U.S. Highway 441. In addition, two other shuttles with 30-minute service will run along U.S. Highway 441 from downtown Leesburg to Lake Griffin State Park and from downtown Leesburg to the Holiday Inn Express and JJ Fin’s Dockside in Tavares.
The two U.S. Highway 441 shuttles will provide transit to many lodging facilities and restaurants as well as the campground at the state park. Park N’ Ride locations at Lake Square Mall, located at 10401 U.S. Highway 441 in Leesburg, and Sims Furniture Galleries, located at 1715 Citrus Blvd. in Leesburg, will provide local and out-of-town festival patrons an improved option to access the event.
For more information about LakeXpress or to view a bus schedule, call (352) 326-8637 or log on to www.RideLakeXpress.com.