The service information below is correct at the time of writing - 11 November 2014.  However, services do change from time to time, so anyone intending to use bus services should check independently before their visit.  The website address for LYNX buses in Orlando is www.golynx.com .

This article refers to the International Drive resort area, consisting of

- International Drive south of Premium Outlets - International Drive (Oak Ridge Road) and north of Premium Outlets - Vineland Avenue.  (International Drive itself continues some distance further south, but there is little commercial activity here at present, and no bus services at all).  There is one very short section of International Drive not served by buses, between Sea Harbor Drive and Central Florida Parkway, but it's only a short walk either way to a bus stop.
- Universal Boulevard south of its intersection with International Drive and north of Pointe Plaza Ave.
- Westwood Boulevard
- Sea Harbor Drive

BUS OPERATORS SERVING THE INTERNATIONAL DRIVE AREA

There are two regular bus operators:

- LYNX (the city bus service) which operates a comprehensive network of interlocking services covering much of the greater Orlando area, and that includes Orlando International Airport, all the attractions and most of the shopping venues in the area.

- I-Ride (an independent limited service aimed at tourists, but which strangely doesn't actually go to most of the major tourist destinations).  I-Ride operates two routes both of which are confined to the immediate area surrounding International Drive.  There is no published timetable, so planning is simple: you just have to go out and wait until one turns up.

Primarily because of the very limited route coverage of I-Ride – it goes nowhere near Disney nor to any useful “regular” shopping locations for example -  the better choice for most visitors is to use LYNX buses. 

In the International Drive area, LYNX service 8 pretty much duplicates the I-Ride Main Line route and is complemented on the main commercial part of International Drive by route 42.  Compared to I-Ride, LYNX services are more frequent, operate for longer hours, and most consider them generally less crowded and more comfortable.  If you choose to buy LYNX passes (recommended) then there is little point in the extra expense of an I-Ride pass.  On the odd occasion you may need to ride an I-Ride trolley (for the novelty, or after 8pm Sunday when LYNX gets very infrequent) just pay the cash fare, $2.

LYNX bus stops are around 200 yards (or metres) apart on average - and many are co-located with I-Ride trolley stops. LYNX operates a request stop system - you have to clearly signal the driver if you want to get on, and ring the bell when you want to get off.  All buses are wheelchair-friendly.  LYNX stops are indicated by a coloured bus icon and/or paw-print logo and each stop shows the route numbers that call there.  All buses stop at all stops along their route (except in very few locations where, for example, it's necessary for the bus to be in a certain lane to make a turn and so it can't access the stop). 

Although some hotels offer shuttle services, these are often expensive and even those that are "free" are often very limited in their timings.  If you are going to be using buses with any frequency to get to and from the attractions, then LYNX remains the best option as it gives you almost total freedom to come and go as it suits you.  You can, of course, use "free" shuttles when they suit, and LYNX as an alternative when they don't.

LYNX BUS ROUTES IN THE INTERNATIONAL DRIVE AREA

(Directions are given for journeys starting in the International Drive area.  All journeys can, of course, be made in the reverse direction as well!)  

The following areas of the International Drive resort area are served by the following LYNX bus routes:

- International Drive between Premium Outlets - International Drive and Destination Parkway – LYNX 8 and 42
- International Drive between Destination Parkway and Premium Outlets - Vineland Avenue – LYNX 8
- Destination Parkway interchange – LYNX 42 and 111
- Westwood Boulevard north of Central Florida Parkway – LYNX 111 (hourly service with additional trips at weekday peak times)
- Universal Blvd in the area of Vista Cay – LYNX 111 (hourly service with additional trips at weekday peak times)
- Universal Boulevard between its intersection with International Drive and Pointe Plaza Ave – no LYNX routes, but it is only a short walk across to International Drive itself.  Many hotels on Universal have rear entrances and parking lots which are close to International Drive.
- Westwood Boulevard south of Central Florida Parkway – LYNX 8 (alternate buses only – check with the driver)
- Sea Harbor Drive – LYNX 8 and 50.  The stop closest to Central Florida Parkway is also served by 111.

-- Attractions --

Sea World, Aquatica and Discovery Cove - bus 8 (every 15-30 minutes).  LYNX buses set down on the street adjacent to entrances - you will have to make your own way through the car park to the turnstiles.

Disney's four major parks - Bus 50 (every 20 - 30 minutes) to the Transportation & Ticket Center (TTC). Use Disney's free bus/boat/monorail to the parks.  If there is no Disney bus service available at the TTC for Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom, walk about five minutes to the Polynesian resort and use their resort - attraction service.  Catch bus 50 at any one of three or four stops on Sea Harbor Drive (near Sea World).   From elsewhere in the International Drive resort area, catch bus 8 to Sea Harbor Drive, and transfer there to bus 50.

(Last buses back to I-Drive from Disney:  The last bus 50 leaves the Transportation & Ticket Center at midnight daily and they are every 20 - 30 minutes beforehand.  Connecting service 8 runs this late only on Monday - Friday.  If you need to connect northwards on I-Drive then you should leave Disney no later than 11pm on a Saturday and 8pm on Sunday.)

DownTown Disney - bus 50 calls there en route to/from the Transportation & Ticket center.

Disney's Water Parks - as above to the Transportation & Ticket Center, and then take the 5 minute walk to the Polynesian resort and catch a Disney bus there.  (Note:  You may be able to transfer to a Disney bus to one or other water park at DownTown Disney, but this is subject to confirmation by Disney bus staff.  If you can, this WILL save a lot of travel time.  However, as Disney bus routes can change with little or no published warning, you must check this out independently beforehand).

Universal - 8 or 42 to a stop two lights North/East of WetNWild (look out for the Sheraton Hotel - distinctive tallish almost cylindrical building with a wire-frame globe on top - you need to get off a couple of stops after this) at the intersection of I-Drive and Grand National Drive; If coming from the south (hotels are south of this point) you'll need to cross the street. Take 37 going West/South (destination - Pine Hills / Hiawassee Rd).  37 runs every 30 minutes Monday - Saturday, and hourly on Sundays.  Minimise waiting time by consulting the published schedule.  And don't be afraid to ask the driver where to transfer.

Busch Gardens -  To get here, you'll need the Busch Gardens shuttle express which picks up at three places in the area -  at Publix on Vineland Avenue (opposite Premium Outlets - Vineland Avenue), at Sea World; and at the CSI Experience on International Drive north of Sand Lake Rd.  (There are other points, too). This is a once-per-day scheduled service, but you need to book in advance by phone or online to be sure of getting a seat and to confirm pickup and timings which vary seasonally. The fare is very low and it's free for holders of certain multi-park admission tickets (e.g. the type of Orlando FlexTicket which includes Busch). This service is not part of LYNX, but you can, of course, use LYNX to get to the pickup point if necessary. More details and online bookings here:  https://secure.mearstransportation.co...

-- Other locations --

Orlando International Airport - 42 northwards from all stops on I-Drive north of Destination Parkway OR 111 (hourly with additional trips at weekday peak times) from Destination Parkway or any stop on Westwood Blvd north of Central Florida Parkway (e.g. near the Doubletree Resort).  If it's convenient to catch it, 111 is far quicker than 42. 
(If starting out at the airport, note that the LYNX stops are located on the A-side of the Main Terminal, on the Ground Transportation Level (Level 1), at
Commercial Lane spaces A38-A41)

US192 in Kissimmee (e.g. for Old Town, Celebration) - travel to Disney's Transportation & Ticket Center as above and then get LYNX 56 every 30 minutes to US192.

-- Shopping --

Premium Outlets - Vineland Avenue - 8 southwards

Premium Outlets - International Drive - 8 or 42 northwards

Florida Mall - 42 northwards from all stops on I-Drive north of Destination Parkway OR 111 (hourly with additional trips at weekday peak times) from Destination Parkway or any stop on Westwood Blvd north of Central Florida Parkway (near the Doubletree Resort).  If it's convenient to catch it, 111 is far quicker than 42.

Millenia Mall - 8 or 42 northwards to Premium Outlets - International Drive then 24 (hourly) to Millenia. Note the last 24 going back towards I-Drive from Millenia is at 6.18pm Mon-Sat and 5.48pm Sun. If you are later than this, you'll need to use a cab. To minimise cost, you could take a cab back to Premium Outlets - International Drive and then go the rest of the way by bus.

WALMART - The easiest store to get to by bus is on John Young Parkway. You need to be on bus 37. This service calls at one stop on I-Drive, and that's two traffic lights north/east of WetNWild at the intersection with Grand National Drive (look for the Sheraton hotel, which is a distinctive cylindrical building with a wire-frame globe on top; transfer a couple of stops past this). If necessary, take an 8 or 42 to get to this stop. Catch the 37 as it goes in the north/east direction (so, if you are coming from the south, stay at the same stop). After going through a residential area, the bus ends up going east on Sand Lake Rd. It turns south onto John Young Parkway and passes the front of the store, before turning left past some modern offices and then stopping at the rear of the store. This is where to get off. Ask the driver if necessary. And get the bus back from the same stop (check the bus's destination carefully; for the return trip, it is Pine Hills / Hiawassee Rd). 37 is every 30 minutes Monday - Saturday and hourly on Sundays. Note also that this location is fairly close (but not walkable) to the Florida Mall, which is where the 37 bus is going. If visiting both, it might save some time combining  the two into one outing.

 

LYNX SCHEDULES (TIMETABLES)

Download schedules for all these and other LYNX services at
http://www.golynx.com/maps-schedules/...

Note that schedules only give scheduled times at certain timing points.  There are many stops in between these.

LYNX TICKETS

For best value and convenience

A weekly pass costs $16 (adult fare) and is valid for a week's unlimited use of the entire LYNX system. They have to be bought in advance;  adult passes are sold at the Official Visitor Center by trolley marker #20, 1/2 a block north of Bahama Breeze on I-Drive, set at the back of the parking lot.  There is an orange, blue and black "i" sign by the main road. They are also sold at the ABC Supermarket at 6500 Carrier Drive (note: this is NOT the same as ABC Liquor nearby on International Drive itself).
Or, you can you can buy online at  http://www.golynx.com/buy-tickets/  (pick the $16 7 day pass).  They will mail to overseas addresses.  In any case, passes are validated on the bus the first time of use and the period of validity starts then.

If paying on the bus, LYNX costs:

$2 (adult fare) one-way regardless of distance. Transferring buses (eg from 8 to 50 at Sea World for Disney) is at no extra cost so long as you ask for a transfer ticket when you board and pay.

or

$4.50 for an all-day ticket (if you are going to make more than 2 one-way trips in a day)

You can buy one-way fare and one-day passes from the driver. No change given. If buying a Day Pass, tell the driver you want one BEFORE you start feeding money into the machine.

Children aged 6 and under travel free.

Concessionary Fares

Concessionary fares are available to qualifying persons aged 7 to 17 inclusive, and to those aged 65 and over.  Concessionary fares are exactly half the adult rates for all tickets and passes.

In order to qualify for any concession, LYNX policy as stated on the website is that official LYNX ID must be carried in all cases.  These are only issued in person at LYNX Central Station in DownTown Orlando.  The logistics involved in obtaining this may not be justified by the relatively small cost saving.  However, LYNX Customer Services have also advised that overseas visitors may present official ID issued by their local transit authority and this will be accepted.  And an unofficial source advises that any official proof of age is sufficient.  Certainly, if merely paying a cash fare, presenting non-LYNX ID is worth trying.  

However, in respect of 7- and 30-day passes, the rather less than official position suggests there is an element of risk involved in attempting to use such a pass without LYNX ID and visitors may prefer to either allocate time to obtain an official ID or simply to buy full-fare passes instead.  It's also worth noting that discounted passes are not sold at most outlets; they can be purchased on-line and at LYNX Central Station.

 

FINALLY

All the services mentioned above have a weekday daytime frequency of every 30 minutes or better except where stated and run every day of the week, including holidays. Most also run well into the evening. The last 50 out of Disney, for example, is at midnight every day.

Your hotel concierge desk may well offer you I-Ride passes.  They may even deny there is any alternative to this and taxis/shuttles to get about.  Although they are inexpensive, once you have LYNX passes, you won't also need I-Ride passes. On the odd occasion that you do feel the need to ride the trolley (for novelty or late Sunday) you might as well just pay cash fare. LYNX stops in pretty much all the same places as the I-Ride, so you can use LYNX for any trips you would otherwise use the I-Ride main line for.

LYNX services on I-Drive run until the small hours of the morning (earlier at weekends). They do get less frequent later on, so do take copies of the schedules with you. Obviously, if you are starting out close to a transfer point (e.g. if you are at the Sheraton Studio City, then you are already close to the 37 stop) you'd walk rather than taking the first bus detailed above.

It's worth emphasising that LYNX bus drivers are helpful, patient and co-operative for the most part and will answer questions and give guidance. You will quickly get the hang of it.