If you are looking for a humdrum ride, you might not want to hop on a Lakeland bus anytime soon. You might find a musician playing or an artist painting in the seat right next to you.
It's all part of a weeklong project called "Art on the Bus."
On Friday, Bev Hendricks played her violin as a bus made its way from the downtown station to the Lakeland Mall.
"I think it's great," said Cathy Burroughs, a regular rider. "I enjoy music."
Later that day, a flash mob fashion show was planned at the station. Models would appear from nowhere, music would be piped through the loudspeaker system overhead.
The goal of "Art on the Bus" is twofold: To bring art to people who might not seek it out on their own, and to put riding the bus in a positive light.
"We want people to see that our buses aren't scary places," said Tom Phillips of the Citrus Connection. "They're clean. People are smiling. It's a public education campaign."
And hopefully a way to increase ridership, something the Citrus Connection has been working to do. Over the last few years, ridership has dropped because of federal funding cuts, and possibly because of internal problems.
Lakeland's mayor, Gow Fields, says the more people who ride the bus, the less the city will have to spend on new infrastructure.
"How many times can you keep widening the same road, and how many buildings do you have to take down to do that?" he offered.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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