Tuesday, December 6, 2016

#SaturdaySunRail is a train wreck

#SaturdaySunRail crashed and burned.

Last Saturday’s (Dec. 3) #SaturdaySunRail ridership was the worst ever. There were only 1,768 boardings.

Realistically that means roughly 880 people rode SunRail because “boardings” represent every time someone gets on the train. Almost everyone takes the train going AND coming back.

Considering that it cost about $20,000 to run SunRail on a Saturday, it might have been more cost effective to order an Uber for each of last Saturday’s riders.

For the record, here’s the #SaturdaySunRail ridership history:

Don’t fall for the talking points from the consultants and spin doctors at SunRail/FDOT. The ridership collapse does NOT prove that the public won’t support weekend SunRail service.

The poor ridership proves that big brains behind #SaturdaySunRail don’t seem to know what they’re doing.

The truth is #SaturdaySunRail was the worst planned, worst executed and worst promoted program we’ve ever seen.

From the beginning, SunRail/FDOT and Team SunRail – the public private partnership funding #SaturdaySunRail – could not provide an advance calendar of the Saturdays SunRail would be running. They’ve skipped up to 3 Saturdays in a row.

When they did announce #SaturdaySunRail would run, you found out only a few days before Saturday. Worst yet, almost every Saturday SunRail DID run, it had a different schedule.

Sometimes the schedule wasn’t customer friendly.

Last Saturday (Dec. 3) for example, SunRail service was offered to benefit fans going to the ACC Championship football game at downtown Orlando’s Camping World Stadium. However, the published schedule showed there was a good chance that the SunRail service in downtown would end before the game was over.

Who does that?

Why would any sensible fans use SunRail if they weren’t sure they could ride the train home?

Transit success depends on consistency and reliability.

We hate to report this ridership calamity. We’re passionate supporters of SunRail and we’re very disappointed that #SaturdaySunRail was run into the ground.

Other passionate SunRail riders who follow this blog have written: “It’s as though they want SunRail to fail.” We think those riders are on to something.

With thoughtful planning and a consistent schedule – including an early train for people headed to work at Florida Hospital, Orlando Health, Orlando International Airport and other service-industry jobs -- #SaturdaySunRail could be a smashing success.

Instead we have a train wreck.

By the way, they plan to run #SaturdaySunRail this Saturday (Dec. 10) and on Saturday (Dec. 17). Tuesday morning an FDOT spokesman sent us a note explaining that for the next 2 Saturdays #SaturdaySunRail will be using last week's Saturday schedule. Click here to see that schedule

Good luck with that.

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