WINTER PARK, Fla. — Get off the road and on the rails or a bike — that’s the message from the Florida Department of Transportation this week as part of Mobility Week.

FDOT is asking people to test out public transit for free on Thursday, in hopes of utilizing public transportation more regularly instead of their own vehicles.

What You Need To Know

  • Nov. 2 is "Try Transit Thursday," a day where Central Floridians can try several methods of public transportation for free

  • The initiative started eight years ago in Central Florida and has since expanded across the state

  • Try transit is an initiative in correlation to Mobility Week, where people can learn about transportation safety and additional options to get around their community

  • During the initiative, people are encouraged to walk, bike, take the bus or take the train

Officials say this started out as something small eight years ago, mainly focused on Central Floridians. However, now the initiative has expanded across the state with more than 400 partners involved.

Mobility Week is a time of year where city, county and state transit leaders provide transportation safety information to the public, and within that week “Try transit Thursday” is an opportunity for people to try different modes of public transportation for free; including SunRail and Lynx buses, to name a few.

It’s an effort to encourage people to actually use public transit more often according to FDOT’s passenger operations manager, Libertad Acosta-Anderson. She said this would not only benefit residents' pockets as riders, but it would also help to crack down on a major issue in Central Florida — traffic congestion.

“It’s good for the environment. It’s good for you because it’s more active transportation,” she said. “It is also, it helps reduce congestion. So, if more of us kind of spread out with other modes of transportation, then we’re not all on the same roads."

Acosta-Anderson said she has seen a shift in people being more willing to try SunRail as their method of transportation since the “try transit” initiative has been in place. She shared that recent data also indicates Lynx ridership has doubled for buses with express lane routes. 

Acosta-Anderson said it does take a little planning for people using public transportation for the first time, but that most of the machines are easy to use, and a lot of route information can be found online.

“It does take a little thinking about it, planning a trip as opposed to taking your car, but it is possible," she said. "I tend to plan ahead and think whether I can walk or bike, and then combine it with transit."

Residents are encouraged to not only travel by bus or train, but also by walking or biking.