Thursday, February 19, 2015

How much does SunRail care about rider convenience?

Open letter to SunRail Project Manager Tawny Olore

Dear Ms. Olore,

Were SunRail stations designed for the comfort of real people, or for the convenience of engineers? Certainly rider convenience and safety were not the paramount concerns.

Tawny Olore

One of the worst examples of the passenger-UNfriendly design can be found in the SunRail station at Church Street in downtown Orlando -- ironically the busiest station during the morning and evening commuter rush hours.

Let’s not even talk about the station’s confusing configuration where the northbound platform is at Church Street and the southbound platform is a block away at South Street. Let’s instead focus our attention today on the fact that riders can’t use cash to buy a ticket on the southbound platform.

Show up on the southbound platform hoping to catch a train to Orlando Health or Orlando International Airport and all you have is cash in your pocket and you’re out of luck because both ticket vending machines only accept credit or debit cards. There isn’t even a sign telling you that you can buy a ticket with cash on the northbound platform.

Maybe there’s no sign because getting to the northbound platform poses a huge problem. Following the pedestrian crossing signs you have to walk the equivalent of four (4) city blocks, cross busy South Street and active railroad tracks to use the cash machine.

Southbound machines

As a SunRail official you don’t have to buy a ticket, but for your convenience you can click here to see a video of the path riders with cash have to follow. (By the way, it’s nearly a 10-minute walk to and from the cash machine.)

You’re an experienced engineer, we’re not. But common sense says the easiest solution is to add a cash ticket machine to the southbound platform. We’ve raised this issue before with your public relations staff, and they give us fluff instead of real concern about the safety and convenience of southbound riders who need to buy tickets with cash.

Please don’t study this to death. We showed you the problem, we’re counting on you to act with all deliberate speed and address this situation by installing a cash machine on the southbound platform at Church Street.

SunRail riders

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