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SunRail can solve its problems for half the price of a new LYNX bus.

A new LYNX bus costs $500,000.

It would only cost about $250,000 to convert SunRail from a bitter joke to a serious and effective transportation system for Central Florida.

Face it, SunRail is a ridership failure. Despite a pricey marketing campaign, SunRail’s average daily ridership is less than 2,000 people.

Unless you’re a “suit” headed to a 9 to 5, Monday to Friday job, SunRail probably won’t work for you. And our leaders are good with that.

Hundreds say they want to use SunRail during the day but they can’t because after the morning rush hour you have to wait up to 2 ½ hours between trains in Florida’s unbearable heat.

Many others want to use SunRail after office hours to attend social and entertainment events, such as the ongoing Fringe Festival. However, in December 2015 SunRail canceled the #NightTrain that ran until 11:30 p.m.

Instead all those would-be SunRail riders are adding to maddening congestion on beleaguered Interstate 4, US 17-92 and other north-south thoroughfares. Traffic congestion wastes time and money and is harmful to our local economy.

Even though Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, chair of the SunRail Commission, may not remember, SunRail Project Manager Tawny Olore said $250,000 is what it would cost to hire enough train crew to provide hourly service between the morning and evening rush hours and restore the #NightTrain.

Hourly SunRail service maximizes the more than $1 billion invested to create SunRail. The SunRail trains were built to carry people. Those trains are a waste when they are sitting idle in the railyard.

More frequent and convenient SunRail service creates an opportunity for LYNX to redeploy some of its buses from north-south routes to offer more service to riders who live east and west of the SunRail corridor. Ideally buses would pick up people east and west of the rail line and bring them to a SunRail station where they could catch trains heading north and south. That, friends, is how a real public transportation system works.

We certainly aren’t suggesting that LYNX sacrifice purchasing one new bus to fix SunRail. Honestly LYNX needs hundreds more buses and drivers to provide the level of comfortable, reliable and fast service that our residents deserve.

However, it’s beyond ridiculous that the city of Orlando, Orange, Seminole, and Volusia counties and state leaders can’t (or won’t) scrape up $250,000 to turn SunRail from a failure to a success.

See you on the Rail…or sweating in the sun waiting for the train.

 

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