APTA | Passenger Transport
July 20, 2009

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Nine major public transit positions available in this week's classified ads!
 

COUNTDOWN TO 2009 ANNUAL MEETING

Conference Host System: LYNX Keeps Moving to Provide Quality Service
BY MATTHEW P. FRIEDMAN, Manager of Media Relations, Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority (LYNX), Orlando, FL

A lot has changed at the Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority (LYNX) since APTA last held a major meeting in Orlando—the 1999 Annual Meeting and EXPO.

In the fall of 2004, the agency opened the doors to LYNX Central Station (LCS), its state-of-the-art terminal and administrative building. Located just off Interstate 4 in the heart of downtown Orlando, the modern and sleekly designed facility is considered a work of art for the region with its rolling roof and neon blue and hot pink lighting. In fact, the LCS has won numerous engineering and architectural design awards. More than 85,000 passengers travel in and out of the facility each day.

The newest crown jewel of LYNX facilities opened in late 2007 on a 24.1-acre site. The LYNX Operations Center (LOC), which will welcome visitors during the APTA Annual Meeting, was designed to park 250 buses and maintain up to 600 vehicles. Our current fleet contains 268 buses. The operations center has159,925 square feet under cover and houses 26 maintenance bays and 19 lifts.

Most importantly, in mid-August the LOC will become the home of the nation’s first biodiesel blending station owned, operated, and produced by a single public transit agency. This will allow LYNX to use “on-demand” blending to fully convert its fleet to biodiesel and to distribute custom blending to a partnership of other local governmental agencies.

LYNX is extremely proud of this opportunity to showcase the endeavor with a technical tour. Construction of the $2.5 million fuel blending station began June 9, funded with a grant from the State of Florida’s Governor’s Energy Office.

The agency anticipates that the station will allow the annual replacement of more than 1.2 million gallons of diesel with a clean, renewable, carbon-neutral energy source, effectively lowering carbon dioxide emissions by 16 percent. West Virginia University will scope the project to study the exact emission improvements achieved by converting to biodiesel.

Ultimately, LYNX expects the biodiesel site to help the agency decrease its dependence on foreign energy suppliers and support Florida’s economy with jobs in this new fuel and technology sector by providing the market needed for the state’s farmers to grow crops for biodiesel production. This, in turn, offers the incentive to develop and produce second- and third-generation crops that will further increase efficiency.

Because LYNX will have the blending station on site, the agency can create custom blends for testing purposes and can increase ratios seamlessly in the future. In addition, if LYNX ever experience fuel supply disruptions (as in 2004, when hurricanes caused delivery problems), it can operate its buses on 100 percent biodiesel until the fuel supplies are restored.

A Brief History
Now for a brief history of LYNX. The agency was founded in May 1972 as the Orange, Seminole, Osceola Transportation Authority, and became Tri-County Transit in 1984. The agency began doing business as LYNX in 1992, officially changing its name to the Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority in March 1994.

LYNX provides public transportation services for Orange, Seminole, and Osceola counties, as well as small portions of Lake, Polk, and Volusia counties. Daily fixed route bus service provides more than 85,000 passenger trips each weekday, spanning an area of approximately 2,500 square miles with a resident population of more than 1.8 million.

Other LYNX services include LYMMO, a free downtown Orlando circulator; a carpool and vanpool program; ACCESS LYNX paratransit; the PickUpLine community circulator; and Road Rangers roadside assistance on Interstate 4.
 In 2008, LYNX set its 24th ridership record in the past 25 years, delivering more than 27 million passenger trips.

Hopefully, all of this can convince you to come to Orlando and visit your friends at LYNX. If not, Oct. 4-7 is a time for beautiful fall Florida weather. This should certainly seal the deal.

See you all in Orlando.

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