SunRail will become a boondoggle unless it gets expanded to full service -- trains running on the weekend and late-night hours.
SunRail’s current weekday-only, rush-hour centric schedule is barely adequate. We’ve talked to many riders and would-be riders who find the current weekday schedule frustrating. “What’s the point?” many ask.
There are many times during the work week when we could have used SunRail to go to business appointments in Sanford, Longwood, Lake Mary, Winter park or downtown Orlando, but we opted to drive because if we took the train we would have to endure a 2-hour wait to get back to our home station at Sand Lake Road. We know people who rode SunRail to lunch in Winter Park, or downtown Orlando, and then got stranded because there was no return trip for 2 hours. Is that any way to run a railroad?
Originally everyone assumed that nurses and other medical staff members at ORMC and Florida Hospital would be big users of SunRail. Certainly some do, but many do not because trains aren’t scheduled to fit the real-world work cycles for nurses and other health-care professionals at the hospitals. SunRail tinkered with the schedule a little, but it’s still not attracting the throngs many anticipated.
There is a SunRail station 2 blocks from the Amway Center and the new Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Orlando But you can’t use the train to attend events because either the train won’t be available to take people home after the event, or the train doesn’t run on weekends.
We know that the rationale to build SunRail was to alleviate anticipated congestion during the I-4 Ultimate project, but we expected more from commuter rail than what we got. SunRail’s shortcoming are starting to make the train irrelevant, and that’s a shame because SunRail’s potential is enormous.
More than 3,400 riders and would-be riders have signed the petition calling for an expansion of SunRail service. Nearly 5,000 of you packed the trains on Nov. 28 during the #RideBlkFri campaign – 2,000 more than SunRail’s average daily ridership.
Fortunately the SunRail bosses are now preparing a proposal to add 4 daily round trips on weekdays and 9 roundtrips on the weekend. To move forward with this plan the SunRail managers need approval from their local government partners in Volusia, Seminole, Orange and Osceola counties and the city of Orlando. #expandsunrail
If the approvals come through, SunRail expanded service could begin next summer. Are you willing to reach out to your local officials to tell them to OK expanding SunRail service?