Polk Citrus Connection

Welcome aboard Citrus Connection!

CREATED: 10/13/2019
LAST UPDATE: 05/04/2022

System Overview

Citrus Connection is the combined entity that operates public transit services within Polk County. Prior to 2015, transit services were provided by three completely separate agencies – the Lakeland Area Mass Transit District (LAMTD), Winter Haven Area Transit (WHAT), & the Polk Transit Authority (PTA) – the latter which provided limited rural transit connections in the county. While the PTA – which serves as the governing body for Citrus Connection – was established in 2007, the three above entities operating independently of each other created major challenges for Polk County & its transit riders – eventually leading to the unification of operations under LAMTD, using the Citrus Connection name.

System Structure & Transit Centers

The Citrus Connection system is primarily hub-spoke, with centralized hubs to allow for seamless transfers. There are three main transfer hubs within the system – one in Lakeland, the second in Winter Haven, & a third (but smaller) hub in Haines City. There are also numerous smaller transfer points within the network.

In Lakeland, the LAMTD enacted Re-Route 2020 on October 7, 2019 – which helps to simplify the maze of routes that were established over time, while allowing overall span of service to increase on selected routes. The Re-Route 2020 initiative involved combining several bi-directional routes into three dual looping circulators, while making needed improvements on other routes.

In Haines City, several routes that serve the eastern portion of Polk County & originate out of this particular hub are contracted out to Transitions Commuter Solutions. These routes were previously contracted out to the Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority (also known as LYNX). While normal Citrus Connection fares apply to these routes (unless otherwise noted), real-time transit vehicle tracking is done independently (yes, you will need to download two separate smartphone apps – one for the mainline CC system & another for the contracted routes). I’ll explain a bit later in this section as to how to do that.

System Maps & Schedules

From RideCitrus.com

Situated in the heart of Downtown Lakeland, the Downtown Lakeland Station is the main hub for all of the LAMTD based routes. This station is unlike many other transit stations/hubs because it does not possess a normal parallel bus bay configuration. Instead, each bus pulls into a designated slot – just like a diagonal parking space – loads & unloads customers, then backs out of the slot to proceed out of the station.

Looking east at the northern half bus slots.

The Downtown Lakeland Station currently serves the following routes. Please note that I do not have bus slot assignments at this time due to the Re-Route 2020 initiative.

  • Gold Line
  • Purple Line
  • Blue Line
  • Pink Line
  • Peach Line
  • Silver Line Express
  • Green Line (all variants)
  • Red Line (all variants)
  • Yellow Line (all variants)
  • Orange Line (all variants)
  • Lime Flex Line
  • Cyan Flex Line

Other Transfer Points

While the Re-Route 2020 initiative focused on reorganizing the Lakeland-based bus network, the east Polk bus network remained relatively unchanged – with exception to the introduction of Route 17X, & the shifting of Citrus Connection’s contracted bus operations from LYNX to Transitions Commuter Solutions. Additionally, LYNX decided to contract out flex route 603 to Transitions & having Citrus Connection oversee it.

I suspect that in the coming couple of years, a similar route optimization/redesign effort will be launched in east Polk.

  • Winter Haven Station
    • Purple Line
    • Route 15
    • Route 22XW (Express)
    • Route 25*
    • Route 27X (Express)
    • Route 30
    • Routes 40/44 (Combined)
    • Route 50
    • Route 60
  • Haines City Transfer Hub
    • Route 15
    • Route 16X (Express)
    • Route 17X (Express)
    • Route 18X (Express)
  • Central Park Plaza
    • Red & Yellow Lines
  • Lakeside Village
    • Red & Orange Lines
  • Lake Miriam Shopping Center
    • Gold & Lime (Flex) Lines
  • Lakeland Square Mall
    • Blue & Gold Lines
  • Auburndale Transfer Point
    • Purple Line
    • Route 50
  • Bartow Transfer Point
    • Route 22XW (Express)
    • Route 25*
  • Lake Wales Transfer Point
    • Route 17X (Express)
    • Route 35
  • Dundee Transfer Point
    • Route 17X (Express)
    • Route 27X (Express)
  • Loughman Transfer Point
    • Route 18X (Express)
    • Route 19X (Express)

* For Route 25, only the 1st AM departure originates from the Winter Haven Station. All other trips originate in Bartow. Those wishing to connect to Bartow at all other service times will need to board a Route 22XW bus.

Note, not all transfer points are listed above. Please consult the system maps or Google Maps for additional transfer opportunities.

Span of operating service

Most Citrus Connection routes operate Monday through Friday only, with some routes having Saturday service. Route 30 to Legoland is the only route that has Sunday service.

Most urban local routes in Lakeland & Winter Haven generally begin during the 5:00am hour & run through the 7:00pm hour. Rural routes meanwhile, may only run between the 6:00am hour & the 5:00pm hour. Routes with weekend service & the various express services have very limited runs & some routes only operate with one or two buses.


Citrus Connection currently utilizes a Tap & Go smartcard-based fare system. Please visit RideCitrus.com for current fares & fare policies.

Bikes on Buses

All Citrus Connection buses are equipped with bike racks that can accommodate standard 16′ to 26′ two-wheeled bikes. Special permits are not required. Please read my Transit 101 post regarding bikes on transit before you go.

Transit Fleet

Citrus Connection’s mainstay bus fleet comprises of Gillig Low Floor vehicles as well as couple of ElDorado EZ Rider II (BRT style) buses. The agency also has a few secondhand Gillig buses that were acquired from LYNX. The gallery below features all bus types – even those that have been retired.

Real-Time Transit Vehicle Tracking/Arrival Predictions

So as mentioned earlier, the mainline Citrus Connection bus routes utilize one app for real-time transit vehicle tracking & arrival predictions, while the contracted routes in east Polk use another. Here’s the lowdown on both:

  • Citrus Connection – MyStop (InfoPoint)
    • This app is for all of the CC routes, except the contracted routes – which are Routes 16X, 18X, 19X, & the 603.
    • Search MyStop in the Apple AppStore (iPhone) or Google Play Store (Android).
    • When opening the app. select Citrus Connection from the list of available transit agencies.
  • Transitions Commuter Solutions – Passio.Go
    • This app is for CC Routes 16X, 18X, 19X, & the 603, which are contracted out to Transitions.
    • Search passio.go in the Apple AppStore (iPhone) or Google Play Store (Android).
    • When opening the app. select Citrus Connection from the list of available transit agencies.
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