Monday, October 27, 2014

SunRail needs to sound off quicker when there are delays

SunRail’s success and ridership depend on one word – reliability.

We’re the first to say that SunRail can’t be held responsible when somebody carelessly, or intentionally, blocks the tracks.

But SunRail can mitigate the situation by promptly communicating with riders when delays occur.

That was not the case early Monday morning with a southbound train was delayed by a vehicle blocking the tracks.

One of our favorite riders tweeted the delay news at 7:06 a.m. SunRail didn’t send their first tweet until 7:24 a.m. By then our favorite rider sent a second tweet at 7:14 a.m.  During that time two other riders also tweeted delay information – before SunRail.

Some may say, “Oh come on, it’s only a ‘few’ minutes.” But minutes count, especially when people are heading to work in the morning. Folks have deadlines and early-morning meetings. Hourly workers get penalized for clocking in late.

At least if people know there’s a delay they can call and email their places of work to let team members and bosses know they’re stuck on the train. Beyond riders on the train, let’s not forget people stranded on platforms waiting for the delayed train.

Keep in mind that if the southbound SunRail train is delayed, there’s a good chance the delay will cascade and affect northbound trips because the southbound train becomes the northbound train when it reaches the end of the line at Sand Lake Road. (SunRail deserves credit for quickly getting things back on schedule this morning.)

We have no idea how the SunRail operations center in Sanford is set up, but there should be one person in the operations center at all times whose only job is to communicate with riders when there are service delays. Rider communications are a big part of reliability. Remember, SunRail is hauling people, not sacks of cement.

Once a train experiences a delay of more than 5 or 6 minutes that person should be tweeting.  We would rather have SunRail over communicate than leave riders uninformed.

Communicate, communicate, communicate.

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