This Orlandoan is both a bus driver and bus passenger

For the past month we’ve taken a first-hand look into getting around Orlando without a car, and today we’re profiling an Orlandoan who lives both sides of the public transit journey here in Central Florida.

Belinda Gwyn is a Lynx bus driver who commutes to the Lynx Central bus station downtown, on the same Lynx buses that she drives. We talked with her about the moment that required her to change how she gets around.

What made Belinda stop driving and switch to walking?

Belinda was driving around town last April, and swerved to avoid hitting a dog. It resulted in  an accident that totalled her car. A year later, she says she misses driving her car, but can’t afford to buy a new one or car insurance, so she’s been  riding the bus, and occasionally ride sharing, to get around town and to get to the Lynx downtown station for her bus driving shifts.

What’s it like driving and riding the bus?

The experience has definitely been a change for Belinda who has been a bus driver for most of the past five years. She said that depending on the bus as a commuter has helped her be a more compassionate bus driver.

“It really helps me as a driver for Lynx to understand these passengers that run after the bus, or those people who depend on us to get to work,” Belinda said. “It makes my job easier because I’m going through what the passengers are going through.”

So what’s Belinda’s route?

She lives off East Colonial near the Audubon Park area and so she hops on the bus near the Fashion Square Mall to get downtown to the Lynx Central station.

Does she have any tips for bus riders?

Belinda said to make sure you give yourself extra time to get to your destination in case of traffic or if you miss a bus and have to wait 20 to 30 minutes for another.

She also tries to encourage people to call the Lynx customer service hotline if they don’t have internet access, or if they just want a quick answer to questions like the bus schedule, pricing information, and on routes.

Her other great tip? Have a good soundtrack.

“Music really helps keep me going. I usually try to listen to stuff that matches my mood, but usually I like to keep it upbeat,” Belinda said.  

Want a firsthand look at Belinda’s commute? Head to our Instagram highlights to check it out.

By Lance Dixon
Lance is the director for The New Tropic. Send story ideas and/or memes to lance@thenewtropic.com