As we are all now aware, SunRail (aka the leaders at FDOT) has proposed a schedule change cancelling the #NightTrain, and substituting a southbound 1:00 p.m. train from DeBary. With this change, they also intend to adjust the morning schedule forward by 15 minutes. This proposed change only offers a diversion from the problem of the gaps in service, as opposed to offering real solutions, and ignores recommendations of the Customer Advisory Committee (CAC).
When we learned about this schedule change at our last meeting, the CAC unanimously disapproved and renewed our prior recommendation to add a train an hour later at 2:00 p.m. from DeBary, which would serve northbound afternoon commuters during the 3:00 hour. To date, SunRail management has ignored our recommendation and signaled that they intend to push forward with a new schedule in late December. This would be a mistake.
It is not difficult to see why it is necessary to add the train we have recommended and to close the afternoon service gaps.
The 7:00 a.m. train from DeBary and the 4:15 p.m. train from Sand Lake are the busiest trains. This is because these two trains comport best with the normal 8-hour shifts worked by commuters.
The 6:00 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. southbound trains do not have return trips any earlier than the 4:00 hour, which creates significant gaps between the end of a normal commuter’s shift and the first return trip home. These gaps are clearly the biggest obstacle to increasing ridership in the service. Commuters want to be able to leave work and go home when they done working, not one to two hours later!
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