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As SunRail ridership declines, operators ask why

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SunRail is running on this Columbus Day morning.

It’s a holiday for some workers, but the commuter train is running Monday as usual.

Steve Olson of the Florida Department of Transportation says operators don’t know how the holiday will affect ridership.

He says ridership is down since SunRail opened in May, and operators are trying to figure out why. They think it might be the recent soggy weather or schools going back into session.

“Certainly after a strong start I think the expectation was maybe we would be at that point where we were. Maybe a little higher. So we may be scratching our heads a little here and saying, Why the fall-off?”

Construction scheduled to begin next year on I-4 could boost SunRail.

Olson says operators also are considering expanding train service to nights and weekends. He says they’re looking into how much it would cost.

Eventually the Florida Department of Transportation will phase out its support of SunRail. Olson says that means local govenments would have to approve any change.

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Amy Green

About Amy Green

Reporter and Producer

Amy Green covers the environment for 90.7 News. She is an award-winning journalist who has worked as a regular contributor for NPR, PEOPLE, Newsweek, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor and many other top news organizations. Her in-progress book on the Everglades is under contract with Johns ... Read Full Bio »