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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Two readers share their thoughts on Ocala/Marion County’s transportation needs

In response to multiple letters that discussed the pros and cons of bringing commercial flights to Ocala International Airport, two readers submitted letters to voice their thoughts on Ocala/Marion County’s transportation needs.

“After reading the recent letters, I can understand why commercial airlines don’t want to service Ocala. Flights departing from Gainesville are quite a bit higher than flights out of other major cities. It’s all about profits. I’m surprised that someone has not started a hopper service using smaller, more economical to operate aircraft. It would be a great business for someone that is retired and looking to add a little to their income that enjoys flying. I understand that there must be insurance to cover passengers that want to fly. I personally wouldn’t mind paying a couple of hundred bucks to get to Orlando or Tampa to catch a commercial flight. If a retired pilot offered the service to those of us that can afford to pay for the service, it would be a win-win. I’ve said this before also: If the Greyhound bus station and Amtrak were more accessible like it used to be, our seniors that don’t drive would have another option for transportation. When I caught Greyhound and used a taxi service to get into town, it cost me right at $20. It’s too far out of town at the Pilot truck stop on Highway 326 at I-75 for those that don’t know. We need to think about those of us that don’t drive and have a limited income, and families that live out of town. Have a blessed day,” says Ocala resident Martin Marszalek.

“The people who are having a problem with not having an airport should be the ones that seek solutions. Don’t blame me and most of Marion County because we don’t want one in our backyard because we just don’t think it’s necessary. We’ve always gotten along just fine driving to Orlando or Tampa, and now we’re blessed with Gainesville. And if no one has tried it, Jacksonville’s fairly easy to get to. I’m encouraged by the new rail service from Orlando to Miami and hope that it could be expanded from Ocala to Orlando. That would be great not only for airports but for the attractions and shopping. It would probably be 99% easier to get someone to bring in a larger bus shuttle to Orlando and Tampa than convincing an airline to come here. The shuttle could be stationed, or have a lot more pick-ups in the southwest area where this “problem” seems to be perceived,” says Betty Thomas, Ocala resident.