The Lake Express may not take you everywhere you want to go, but it has come along way since it started five years ago.
“We've gone from 81 trips all day long to 1,300 something now. So we've increased a lot,” said Lake Express fixed route coordinator David Hope.
On Thursday, they were offering free rides in exchange for a food donation to encourage residents to give the bus a try.
Tom Paonessa of Leesburg credits the bus with with saving his life after he got cancer.
“I sold my car to pay for my rent. I was unable to work for nine months,” Paonessa said.
So he took the bus back and forth to his radiation treatments 43 times.
Today he's cancer free, but still riding the bus. He loads his bike on the front of the bus, so he can get to his destination from where the route stops.
“They do a great job. They take care of all my transportation needs,” Paonessa said.
Most of the county's riders use the bus for economic reasons, not environmental ones. Public transportation is said to save four billion gallons of gasoline a year in America.
Paonessa may get a car again, mostly because the buses don't run on the weekend. However, he said if he does, it will be a hybrid.
Meanwhile, Lake Express executives said they are trying to make “Dump the Pump” a realistic option for more than just a day.
“That's the goal long term with the advent of SunRail and everything else. There are plans to get you to there,” Hope said.
Lake Express will offer free rides again Friday for everyone who brings a non-perishable food item to give to Kids Against Hunger.
Fares are usually $1.