How SunRail riders will get to their final destinations

By Caroline Rowland, Reporter
Last Updated: Wednesday, April 30, 2014, 5:56 AM EDT

Central Florida's first commuter rail will roll out of the station on Thursday.

The 32-mile track will run from DeBary, in Volusia County, to Sand Lake Road, in Orlando. There will be 12 stops along the way.

State transportation leaders said they hope at least 12,000 people ride the train on the first day. But, potential passengers want to know where they can go once they get off the train.

How will riders get from the train stop to their actual destination -- especially if it's not within walking distance?

That's one of the biggest concerns the Florida Department of Transportation is hearing. So, can the SunRail get riders to some of the area's biggest employers?

"Having to worry about schedule: Is it going to get me there in time? What's the weather going to be like?” said John Lewis, CEO of Lynx, adding that it's a big jump for people.

Lynx bus systems has been working closely with SunRail to adjust routes to cater to the train stops. Every station will offer bus service.

Some will run every 15 minutes, others every hour. It will depend on the station.

Buses will take SunRail riders to SeaWorld, Universal, the University of Central Florida and local malls. There won't be a bus for Disney, though.

"We will make those connections, you will have access," Lewis said. "You just have to make sure you're taking the right train to get to the right bus."

Lynx is also offering an alternative to the bus: VanPool. It will cost more, but it will give more flexibility and is designed to cater to companies. In Maitland, Longwood and Casselberry, they are working on a flex-bus system to cater to SunRail riders, but a launch date hasn't been decided.

State transportation officials do anticipate some challenges and adjustments once service begins, but they're hoping people give it a chance.

"We're pretty confident that this will work out, that it will evolve, and it will mesh very well," said Steve Olson, of the Florida Department of Transportation.

Riding the bus after the train won't cost riders anything because the train fare covers a bus transfer. Or, if a rider is downtown, the LYMO bus system is always free and has expanded its service for SunRail. It will be stopping at the Church Street station every five to 10 minutes during peak hours.