Friday, January 2, 2015

SunRail haters gonna hate

Don’t be misled by the SunRail haters.

This past Friday morning one of the haters tweeted that SunRail was a failure because he had just been passed by a SunRail train that was carrying only 7 passengers. (This guy must be pretty impressive because he was able to count 7 people on a passing train.)

Twenty minutes later a SunRail rider posted a photo on our Facebook page showing a standing-room only crowd on a southbound SunRail train in Longwood. The accompanying photo shows the mob scene when that train arrived in Winter Park.

The haters want us to believe that SunRail is a pitiful failure.

We’re the first ones to admit that SunRail has had its share of problems. We ding them on a regular basis. But SunRail gets better and better and more Central Floridians are embracing the train – especially with the expansion of service hours to the late night and the recent service to support the Citrus Bowl game.

Yet the haters are relentless. This fall they used news reports covering SunRail ridership dips to help torpedo a proposal to enhance public transit in the Tampa Bay area.
Don’t expect facts to deter the haters. When they’re finally forced to concede that people are riding SunRail, the haters will change their tune and start saying they’re OK with SunRail “as long as it pays for itself.” Typically public transit system fares cover about one-third of the cost it takes to run the system.

Let’s deal with facts. There is almost no public transit system anywhere in the WORLD that pays all of its expenses out of the fare box. The two exceptions we could find are in Asia where the public transit agency not only runs the trains, but also owns and develops all the real estate around the train stations.

Public transit is a service that is paid for by the public. Police and fire are also services paid for by the public. The big difference is that public transit does generate some revenue – fares – to help pay its expenses. Who in their right mind would say we’ll keep police and fire service “as long as it pays for itself?”

Tell the SunRail haters to go play in traffic.

See you on The Rail.

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