Monday, May 23, 2016

Are days numbered for ridership consultant?

When the SunRail Commission meets on Wednesday we wonder what they’ll do about the public affairs consultant hired last summer for $125 per hour for 40 hours per week to increase SunRail’s ridership. ($20,000 per month, sweet!)

Even though the consultant has distributed thousands of free tickets to get more people to “try the train”, ridership has decreased. In April there were fewer than 2,000 people using SunRail on a daily basis.

To be fair, the ridership decline isn’t the consultant’s fault. Many more people would actually like to use SunRail, but the real problem is that SunRail has a terrible schedule. People have to wait up to 2 ½ hours for trains between the morning and evening rush hours. For most would-be riders it simply isn’t practical or convenient to use SunRail during off-peak hours.

As we have previously, noted the off-peak waiting time between trains could be reduced to 1 hour by hiring additional train crew for $250,000 per year. Getting more people to “try the train” with the current schedule is futile. We would rather see money spent on more train crew than on a pricey consultant.

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