Want to go car-less in Orlando? Here’s what we learned when we gave it a try

Some of us probably remember that campaign slogan from a few years ago, “Orlando: You Don’t Know the Half of It.” The idea behind the campaign was to promote Orlando beyond its theme parks, and lately we’ve been feeling that way about our public transportation options.

We don’t know the half of it when it comes to transit. Only 4 percent of Orlandoans use public transit to go to work, and about 87 percent of us are hopping into our cars — either solo or carpooling — to get around town, according to the U.S. Census.

That’s probably because while we have some public transit options, they aren’t the most convenient.

The Sunrail is a great option for getting around certain parts of town, but the key word there is certain. The train doesn’t run on weekends or holidays, and while it will take you into Orlando’s surrounding areas, you still have to figure out how to get from the station to your final destination.  

Some of those gaps may be filled through pedestrian improvements proposed in Mayor Buddy Dyer’s Vision Zero plan, but that’s a longer term plan with an emphasis on aimed at eliminating traffic deaths by 2040.

And even though there are plenty of folks working to improve Lynx and Lymmo, the agency still has budget issues and not enough buses to really serve our area.

But there are benefits to using public transit. You’re doing your part to reduce your carbon footprint by not driving your car, you can probably avoid some nightmarish traffic by taking Sunrail, and if you’re headed to an area like downtown, you don’t have to go through the epic task of finding an affordable parking spot.

So that got us thinking: What would it take for more of us to get around the City Beautiful without our four-wheeled favorite mode of transportation? That’s the question we’ll be digging into with you this month.

To kick us off, our director Katie and our video producer Kayla took us along on a ride from their houses to Orlando’s airport without using a car.

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