Back in September during the big dog-and-pony show to announce SunRail would run on some Saturdays, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said that since the #SaturdaySunRail is privately funded, SunRail could delay the train if a sporting event went into overtime.
Turns out that’s NOT true.
This week a SunRailRiders fan pointed out that this Saturday (Dec. 3) the last northbound train of the evening will depart from downtown Orlando before the ACC Football Championship football game at Camping World Stadium (Citrus Bowl) is likely to be over.
The game starts at 8 p.m. Fans have to catch a shuttle bus to and from the stadium, which is a couple of miles from SunRail. The last northbound SunRail train leaves downtown at 10:58 p.m. Saturday.
When the SunRail rider contacted SunRail, here’s the response he got:
"Thank you for contacting SunRail Customer Service and sharing your concerns. We regret to hear that the December 3, 2016 schedule does not meet your travel needs. SunRail on Saturdays is sponsored by our local government funding partners, business leaders and other community stakeholders which is a privately funded initiative. As such, the schedule for December 3, 2016, is centered around the specific sponsored events. We apologize for any inconvenience."
Then we contacted SunRail/FDOT to ask about Dyer’s promise the train would be delayed to accommodate riders.
Here’s FDOT’s response:
“One of the goals of this pilot program is to provide Saturday service to-and-from as many major events as possible. SunRail leadership and the program sponsors have worked to map out a service schedule that achieves that goal.
“That said, SunRail has a limited window in which trains can run, as well has how many days in a row crews can work. Generally speaking, the corridor window is approximately 5 a.m. until midnight. As far as crews and staffing go, extra Saturdays have them working six days in a row. If they work into Sunday, it would affect their availability for regular Monday service.
“While college football games are date certain, times for major games are often set later based on TV coverage.
“In this instance, the conclusion of the ACC championship game will occur past SunRail’s available operating window for the corridor and staffing. We regret that the game and the train schedule are not able to line up exactly. It should be noted that fans still have the option of taking SunRail to the game via one of the downtown stations, if they wish…. We cannot speak for what the Mayor might have, or might not have, said.”
Don’t these people talk to each other?
The mayor is the chairman of the SunRail Commission. Now it turns out he doesn’t know what he’s talking about…
Making promises you can’t keep, and a complete disregard for customer service (possibly leaving hundreds of riders stranded downtown), is a great way to lose the public’s confidence and support.
If you’re taking SunRail to the ACC football game on Saturday, our advice is: Make sure your Uber or Lyft account is set up, because there’s a good chance you’ll need the ride-share services to get home.
This is another reason why we need funding for full-time SunRail service.
If you want SunRail service 7-days-a-week, hourly service during off-peak hours and late-night trains, please click here.