MOUNT DORA — LakeXpress, Lake County’s public transportation service, unveiled its newest route Tuesday in Mount Dora and while local residents are seeing the immediate benefit, businesses in the bustling downtown of Mount Dora are warming up to the potential the new bus line brings to the area.
“It will be interesting to see how the Mount Dora route performs — we were pleased to have 44 riders on the first day of service,” said Ken Harley, Director of the Lake County Public Transportation Division. “With all the shops, dining options and tourist attractions that downtown Mount Dora has to offer, I think the potential is there for it to be one of our most popular routes.”
The LakeXpress bus in Mount Dora rolls into downtown past Lake Dora.
The new Mount Dora circulator is the third route for LakeXpress, and it will be free for an introductory period until Friday, Aug. 1. Routes 1 and 2 opened a little more than a year ago on May 21. Route 1 runs from The Villages to Eustis, primarily on U.S. Highway 441, and Route 2 circulates in downtown Leesburg.
The new Mount Dora route possibly opens a new customer base for downtown businesses as residents from the northwest corner of the County can now travel with ease to Mount Dora courtesy of LakeXpress. However, local business owners are envisioning multiple benefits of the new service.
“At Aveda Salon, we are an eco-friendly business, so something like public transportation is an exciting alternative that could benefit the environment,” said Michele Wilson, owner of Pure Aveda Salonspa, located at 206 W. Fifth Ave. in Mount Dora.
Across the street, Century 21 Branch Manager Kathryn Schwalb said LakeXpress could give her employees alternative transportation to work and help visitors to Mount Dora explore the entire city as well as much of Lake County.
“I think LakeXpress is a wonderful idea to connect Lake County because it is terribly spread out,” she said.
LakeXpress operates Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 7:45 p.m. Fares for LakeXpress are $1 for all trips. Half-fares are available for riders 60 years or older, students and individuals with disabilities (buses are equipped with lifts). Free fares are available for children under five years of age, who are accompanied by a fare-paying chaperone.
For more information about LakeXpress or to view a bus schedule, call (352) 326-8637 or log on to www.RideLakeXpress.com.