Friday, December 12, 2014

Tri-Rail has better platforms than SunRail

We like Tri-Rail stations better than our SunRail stations because they offer more amenities for riders.

The platform canopies at Tri-Rail stations are fantastic. Compared to the canopies on SunRail platforms that only provide a thin ribbon of shade on a scorching hot Florida afternoon, the Tri-Rail platform canopies are five times wider and offer generous protection from the sun and rain.

Check out the wide platform canopy

Notice the lightning rod on platform canopy
We noticed Tri-Rail platforms have lightning arrestor systems, something we think SunRail should add considering the furious thunderstorms during Central Florida summers.

In addition to water fountains, the Tri-Rail platforms have soft drink and snack vending machines. There is no rule that prohibits people from snacking on the trains, and despite this, the trains appeared to be clean and free from litter.

While Tri-Rail doesn’t have platform Ambassadors to assist riders, they do have uniformed, armed security guards posted at each station. Those guards answer questions and assist passengers who encounter problems with the ticket-vending machines.

To assist with customer service, the Tri-Rail system has a handful of ticket booths at strategic stations that are staffed with "living and breathing" human beings to assist passengers with questions and problems.

Customer-service booth at Tri-Rail station

Bridge keeps Tri-Rail passengers off tracks
Probably the most impressive feature at Tri-Rail stations are the passenger overpasses to get from the north to southbound tracks or the parking lot. These overpasses eliminates any reason for passengers to ever set foot on the tracks. Passengers don’t even have to walk up the steps to the overpass. There are elevators on both sides. No doubt the overpasses are very costly, but what price tag do you put on passenger safety when you have a railroad track corridor that is used by Tri-Rail, Amtrak and freight trains?

Yet we do need to temper all this praise for Tri-Rail with an important observation. Many of the Tri-Rail stations are showing signs of aging. We noticed many rust spots and surfaces that need to be repainted. The lesson is, you can’t slack off on short term, or long term maintenance.

Rust spots about at Tri-Rail stations

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