HUD Southeast Regional Administrator Ed Jennings, Jr., at opening ceremony of SunRail
SunRail, Central Florida's first commuter train
Leave it to Orlando to beat all expectations related to new attractions. When the SunRail rolled for the first time into the 12 stations in Central Florida on May 1st, local officials were hoping for 4,300 daily users. They got 10,000. It is a free ride for a couple of weeks. A second chase train has been added; users so far seem very happy to avoid traffic during rush hours and have expressed their willingness to pay $2 for each one-way fare with a $1.00 zone charge for each county line crossed, starting May 17, 2014.
HUD Regional Administrator Ed Jennings joined Congresswoman Corrine Brown, Orlando Mayor John Dryer, state, and local officials for the grand opening ceremony. HUD's $2.4 million planning grant awarded in 2011 to the East Central Florida Regional Planning Council now comes to fruition. These funds are being used in part to assess the affordable housing needs near the stations, to align economic and workforce development strategies, to improve access to jobs and community services; and to link existing transportation plans to optimize local transit, bicycle, and pedestrian access to SunRail stations.
SunRail's primary purpose is to get people from home to work, and then back home again. Its' peak operating hours are 5:30 - 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 - 7:00 p.m. During those times, trains run every half hour. During off peak, trains run every two hours.
Daily commuters can take advantage of frequent-rider discounts through weekly, monthly or annual passes. Other discounts are available for seniors, persons with disabilities, students and children. Each train has the capacity to carry up to 300 passengers seated. The passenger cars are ADA compliant with wheelchair lifts. All trains have free WiFi Internet access, so commuters can work or play on their way to the office.
Commuters have a number of options for getting to the SunRail station. Seven of the first 12 SunRail stations - at Sand Lake Road, Maitland, Altamonte Springs, Longwood, Lake Mary, Sanford and DeBary - feature free parking for those who want to drive. Bicyclists can either take their bikes on the train with them or secure them to a bike rack at the station. SunRail is working with Votran and LYNX to provide bus service to all SunRail stations.
For detailed information on the new service, visit: SunRail.com
For information on East Central Florida Regional Planning Council visit: www.ecfrpc.org