OK, so here’s what we don’t get.
We don’t understand how our state and local leaders could launch SunRail commuter train without a plan to expand the schedule from 5 to 7 days.
Yet that’s what they apparently did because every time we mention expanding the service they whine about not having the money and needing to renegotiate track usage agreements with CSX. How come they didn’t plan this on the front end?
It’s not like our leaders had to reinvent the wheel. SunRail is almost identical to the Tri-Rail commuter line launched by the Florida Department of Transportation in 1989. Tri-Rail, which transports commuters in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties, started with weekday service and expanded to 7 days within a year. Where’s the institutional memory?
We’re tired of watching our leaders drag their feet when we – the people – say SunRail needs to be expanded to weekend and late night service. SunRail was built and is being operated with a combination federal, state and local dollars and rider fares. You know who provided that money? We did! So it seems like what we say should make a big difference.
For the record, of 26 commuter train lines in the United States:
- · 20 have weekend service
- · 3 limit weekend service to Saturday
For heaven’s sake the Northstar Line commuter train in Minneapolis has a daily ridership of 2,500 and operates on 7-day schedule. By contrast SunRail has a daily ridership of 4,300 and we only run on weekdays.
In this community we’ve gone through great effort and expense to build a world class international airport, a world-class public university, a world-class convention center, a world-class basketball and events arena, a world-class performing arts center, yet we the people are expected to settle for a half-ass commuter train that runs only on weekdays.
We deserve better.