Read ‘em and weep, and weep we did when we looked over this summer’s SunRail Ridership stats.
SunRail was expected to exceed an average of 4,000 daily riders within its first year. That first year ended four months ago and we’re still not there yet. SunRail has certainly had some impressive ridership spikes along the way, but a bright future can’t be built on spikes.
· June 2015 the average daily ridership was 3,660.
· July 2015 average daily ridership was 3,904.
· August 2015 daily ridership was 3,635.
Certainly a ridership dip was expected in August when children returned to school, but enough with “the dog ate my homework” excuses. With hundreds of thousands living and working next to and near to the SunRail corridor reaching 4,000 average daily riders shouldn’t be an impossible goal.
More development – both businesses and residences – are coming on line along the SunRail corridor and we’re confident that will help ridership. In addition, two years from now the southern extension of SunRail will add four stations to the train system. Hopefully the northern extension up to DeLand, and the extension to Orlando International Airport, will come on line in the near future.
Right now we know SunRail haters are happily clucking about the ridership numbers, but those of us who love SunRail are determined to have the last laugh. In 12-step programs the first step they say is to admit the problem. So we’ve admitted it. The SunRail bosses have hired a consulting firm that’s supposed to be working on increasing ridership. Hopefully the consultant is using the right strategy and tactics. We wish them luck.
Meanwhile all of us need to continue to encourage friends and colleagues to ride SunRail.