50,000 SunRail Rider Trips in First Week
May 8th, 2014 | WMFE, Orlando- SunRail officials say the commuter line is so packed with riders, people riding for fun might want to wait until paid service begins.
[SunRail Car at Winter Park Station. Photo: Grant Gentry, WMFE]
SunRail is seeing 10,000 rider trips a day during its free service period.
The Florida Department of Transportation reports 50,099 boardings total in the first five days of operation.
Regional FDOT Public Information Manager Steve Olson says ridership is higher than expected.
“At the end of the day, when we’re trying to bring those commuters on home who have counted on us in the morning, we’re turning some jams where it’s standing-room-only, there are no seats, and we are turning sometimes commuters and a lot of leisure riders away.
He says high ridership and people needing special assistance can cause delays.
“And then you come to a stop and throw in a half dozen bikers who decided to tour round winter park and then get on the train and go back home in the afternoon, and it really makes for a mix and match type of situation, standing room only your train.”
SunRail is running three passenger cars during peak hours, one more than expected when the free period ends May 16th.
Olson says while extra cars have been added- and even extra trains in some cases- it’s hard to balance the needs of sightseers and commuters.
His suggestion- for those who just want to try it out, wait until pay service begins on May 19th, when passenger numbers are expected to drop back a bit.
Olson adds that ticket vending machines should be ready to go and the website will also be ready to sell tickets by the time pay service begins.
The packed trains didn’t deter Altamonte Springs resident, Peggy Adams.
She says even though the cars were full she still enjoyed the ride.
“Yeah we had to stand coming down and it was rather crowded but I got a place to hang on and it was kind of neat,” said Adams.