Check out the accompanying photo. These are the local elected officials who serve on the SunRail Commission that oversees the local passenger rail service.
When is the last time you’ve seen any them waiting with you on the platform for the SunRail train to arrive?
Usually, the only time you see them on SunRail is when they’re posing for a publicity photo.
At least two of those officials are chauffeured around by a police detail. During the January rail commission meeting,
So, you may wonder, if they don’t ride the train on a regular basis, then how are they qualified to make decisions on the train service that the rest of us receive? (This the same problem with the board that oversees Lynx bus system.)
For decades Central Florida public transit has been largely ignored (and drastically underfunded) because the local officials who vote on the budgets and policies don’t use public transit.
We think the lack of rider representation on the rail commission is a big part of the problem with SunRail – especially its weekday schedule and lack of weekend service.
The train exists to serve riders, so riders should play a direct role in setting the policy for local transit. The advisory boards for SunRail and Lynx are not enough. What those advisory boards have to say is just that – advice. Advice is easily pushed to the side.
Riders need voting representatives on the boards that oversee SunRail and Lynx. That’s the only way that the public can be assured that the real-world concerns of riders will be addressed seriously.