Saturday, September 17, 2016

SunRail service on "some" Saturdays doesn't thrill everyone

The response to the news that the local business community is working on a plan to provide SunRail service on “some” Saturdays may not have been what was expected.

Empty SunRail station on the weekend
Immediately after we posted a video of a SunRail consultant disclosing the tentative plan some riders demanded to know why the plan would only cover “some” Saturdays.

While we’re grateful for any progress on getting SunRail weekend service, we also understand the frustration.

Everybody calling for weekend SunRail service isn’t trying to get to the Winter Park Farmers’ Market. Many riders need SunRail on Saturday AND Sunday to get to work.

Let’s not forget SunRail connects Central Florida to our two largest hospitals – Florida Hospital and Orlando Health.

How many people have been in a hospital that is open “some” Saturdays?

Caregivers need to be able to take the train to the hospital 7-days a week, on holidays and late at night. Those hospitals are 2 of Central Florida’s largest employers – a ready source of riders for a train that runs all the time.

SunRail also connects Central Florida to Orlando International Airport – another huge employer. Get off at Sand Lake Road and the bus ride (free with a transfer) to the airport takes less than 10 minutes.

Some airport employees are currently using SunRail, despite its painfully limited schedule. A lot more airport employees would be jumping aboard if the train had a more sensible schedule. Lots more airline passengers would be using the train too, if they could count on it.

SunRail leisure riders – going to the farmers’ markets, museums and events at Amway Center – are icing on the ridership cake.

We’re delighted that the Central Florida’s business community has taken an active role in trying to get weekend SunRail service rolling. But please don’t let the people who need the train to get to work on the weekend become an afterthought. They are our community’s backbone.

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