POINCIANA – Business leaders in Poinciana have a new mission, to get local companies to start advertising more.
But this isn’t a campaign to encourage them to advertise in general. They have a specific goal in mind: to advertise on the Lynx buses that operate in the community.
The reason, said Wendy Farrell, chairman of the Poinciana Area Council, is that “Lynx is running a huge deficit right now, and we need to get businesses involved in advertising on Lynx.”
If not, she said, it’s unclear if Lynx can continue sending buses into the community, and considering that Poinciana has more than 84,000 residents, Farrell said, a lot of local residents rely on that as a transportation option.
“We don’t need to lost them,” she said. “They play a vital role down here. We need to be sure they stay viable.”
Representatives of Lynx – the public transportation agency that services Lake, Orange, Osceola, Polk, Seminole and Volusia counties, with daily fixed-route local bus service – recently held a workshop to announce that for residents in the Poinciana area, there was good news — and bad news.
The good news, said Poinciana resident Annette Brown-Best, who attended the meeting, is that more people are riding Lynx these days.
“The ridership is up 20 percent,” she said, adding that if anything, Poinciana could use more Lynx buses, and more often.
“We need more buses, or the flex bus, because it’s twice as big and they bend in the middle, so it’s like two buses put together,” Brown-Best said.
But the problem, she added, is that Lynx is operating under a deficit and needs more revenue to close that gap.
That’s why businesses in Poinciana are being encouraged to advertise on the Lynx buses to help the agency’s revenue stream, Farrell said.
“Otherwise, they’re going to say we can’t afford to put any more buses here with a $3 million deficit,” she said.
Brown-Best said right now, Lynx not only operates on the Osceola County side of Poinciana, taking residents from the Wal-Mart off Cypress Parkway to the Osceola Mall, but also on the Polk County side, providing an improved transportation option to the residents there as well.
Poinciana is made up of 10 villages that cross Polk and Osceola counties.
“They’re going into Village 3, which is in Polk County,” Brown-Best said. “It makes quite a few stops in Polk County. It stops by Palmetto Elementary School. And that’s Osceola County taxes paying for the bus service. But the people in Polk are paying fares, so it’s not like they are not making money.”
But even with that, she said, “Lynx is running at a deficit and they have financial problems, and they have to figure out how to make more money, and I don’t think they are pursuing the idea of new advertising like they should.”
Farrell said the Lynx system is likely to become even more critical for Poinciana when the state finishes construction on a station for the SunRail commuter rail line, which crosses Orange, Seminole and Volusia counties, before stopping at the intersection of Poinciana Boulevard and Orange Blossom Trail.
A strong bus route, she said, will help take people from the train station into the heart of Poinciana and the commercial section on Cypress Parkway and Pleasant Hill Road.
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