Orlando is a car city, there's no getting around it – it can be time-consuming, inconvenient or expensive to get where you want to be if you don't have the use of an automobile. But slowly the city is making strides in the area of public transit, adding commuter train SunRail to the long-established Lynx bus system. Private solutions are gaining ground too, in the form of Juice Bike Share, Uber and Lyft, and Zipcar as options to cab company Mears.
Now that we have all these options, sometimes combining two or more is key – find a SunRail connector on the Lynx schedule to fine-tune your destination, or bring your Juice Bike rental onto SunRail with you. Peter Martinez, the founder and program director of Juice Bikes, recommends the Orlando Transit App for your phone – it's like a beefed-up Google Maps with an overlay of SunRail, Lynx/Lymmo buses, Mears, Juice and even Uber maps, schedules and connections.
It seems likely that all of these choices will become more interesting to car-addicted Orlando as the I-4 Ultimate project drags on – construction is estimated to continue through 2020 – and as more and more bike trails are completed and connected to each other.
Lynx | Find maps, routes and schedules for the city's flagship transit system at golynx.com. If you plan to spend more than an hour or two downtown, look into the Lymmo, four free looping lines that circulate throughout most of the 32801 area. (Did we mention it's free? We like free.)
SunRail | Orlando finally got commuter rail, and while it still has issues – there's just the one north-south route, and it only runs Monday-Friday from about 6 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. – still, it's a great first step. And the trains are spiffy as hell. Find stops and schedules at sunrail.com.
Zipcar | The car sharing service has roughly 30 cars in various locations including downtown, Winter Park, UCF, Orlando International Airport and Lake Buena Vista; reserve at zipcar.com.
Juice Bike Share | Reserve a bike, release a bike from the rack, ride it and return it. Rates vary, but you can pay $8 for an hour of one-time use, or $15 a month for an hour of use every day. (Need more time? There's a plan for that.) Go to orlando.socialbicycles.com for all of the details, and get extra style points for matching your outfit to the vibrant orange bike frames. Also, check cityoforlando.net for maps of the Cady Way Trail, Orlando Urban Trail and other bike trails maintained by the city – as well as news of new ones coming online, like the multi-use path planned to run along Bumby Avenue.
Uber and Lyft | We don't need to explain this to you. Note, however, if you are new to Orlando or just visiting: You can Uber to Orlando International Aiport, but you can't get them to pick you up from there (unless you sneakily pick a nearby off-property meeting point, or spring for Uber Black, moneybags).
Mears | You can't hail a cab on the street in Orlando, but you can call Mears or reserve a car at mearstransportation.com. If you aren't the sneaky type (see above), Mears is also your best bet for a ride home from OIA.