TAVARES — The Lake County Board of County Commissioners approved a measure this week to allow the Department of Economic Development & Community Services, Public Transportation Division, to waive student fares (with valid ID) on LakeXpress this summer from June to August.
“This is the second year we have offered this program,” said Ken Harley, Director of the Lake County Public Transportation Division. “The summer ridership counts in 2009 from students were surprisingly high. It’s been a successful program in motivating and encouraging our local students to become loyal users of the service.”
The free LakeXpress fares during the summer last year netted more than 8,000 student trips (2,212 in June, 3,364 in July and 2,538 in August). The purpose of offering free fares to students is to help educate them about the benefits of using public transportation. By encouraging students to try LakeXpress, County staff hopes they will find that it is a cost effective means of travel, it is safe and it has significant benefits to air quality, public health and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
“It’s a great way to get these kids used to riding buses instead of using their cars,” said County Commissioner Linda Stewart. “We need to teach students throughout the County about the important role public transportation has in our community.”
LakeXpress operates Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 7:45 p.m. The LakeXpress service includes four routes. Route 1 runs from The Villages to Eustis, primarily on U.S. Highway 441. Route 2 circulates in downtown Leesburg. Route 3 circulates in downtown Mount Dora. Route 4 runs 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.
Fares for LakeXpress are $1 for all trips. Half-fares are available for riders 60 years or older 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.
For more information about LakeXpress or to view a bus schedule, call (352) 326-8637 or log on to www.RideLakeXpress.com.