Maybe we’re getting ahead of ourselves, but we think the southern extension of SunRail down to Poinciana in Osceola County is going to be a hit.
OK “hit” may not be the best choice of words when writing about trains, but we think the southern extension will be very successful.
Granted many people said the same thing about the first leg of SunRail from DeBary to Sand Lake Road that launched 4 years ago. Clearly, that first phase fell short of expectations – ridership has been generally disappointing.
We’ve attended all the “tour the train” events that SunRail has held to familiarize prospective riders in south Orange County and Osceola County. People are very excited. The final open house is this Saturday night (6/30) at downtown Kissimmee’s SunRail station. For details, click
The new southern leg – which won’t start carrying riders until July 30 – is different for two reasons.
1. The prospective riders along the southern had the benefit of hearing about SunRail for four years. They know what it can do, and what it can’t do. Like the rest of us, they’re disappointed that SunRail doesn’t run on the weekends and late at night.
2. Many of the folks who will ride SunRail from Osceola are more sophisticated public transit users than many who live along the rail corridor for SunRail Phase 1.
Surely you know there are many New York transplants in Kissimmee who are accustomed to routinely using the subway and bus in New York City, regardless of whether they own a car. Many residents who located directly to Kissimmee from Puerto Rico were accustomed to using Tren Urbano, the light-rail system that has been serving San Juan, Guaynabo and Bayamon since 2004. (Shows you how far behind the times we are here in Central Florida.)
There’s also research that shows many people who live in Osceola work at Orlando International Airport so SunRail is a much better alternative than playing bumper cars from Kissimmee to the airport. Hop the train, get your free transfer to the airport bus at the Sand Lake Road station.
I bet you it won’t take long for folks in Volusia, Seminole and Orange County to find out the Kissimmee SunRail station is a super-secret gateway to Disney World. For details, .
The southern expansion required SunRail managers to adjust the overall schedule, which has resulted in some benefits, including northbound service after 10 p.m. This a win for Orlando Magic fans who live north of Orlando. They will be able to take the train to and from games. If you live south of downtown Orlando, you’ll still be out of luck. For the new SunRail schedule, .
The southern extension is sure to be a winner with senior day-trippers from the DeBary area who have been spending leisurely afternoons on Park Avenue in Winter Park for four years.
Now we’re not saying that Broadway in historic downtown Kissimmee – just a half block from the Kissimmee SunRail station – is anything like Park Avenue in Winter Park, but it is a sweet treat. for a video tour.
Let’s put it this way, Kissimmee 2018 is a long way from it’s Cowtown reputation of 30 years ago. Restaurants on Broadway serve cuisines that range from barbecue to Mediterranean, with New American in between.
Plus, there are some unique places to shop.
While you’re browsing keep a sharp eye out for the cattle grazing throughout downtown. When you get there, you’ll get the joke.
See you on The Rail.
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