Ridership Plummets For SunRail’s 3rd Offering Of Saturday Service

By on November 21, 2016 in WNDB News


sunrail photo credit FDOT

Florida – SunRail ridership for Saturday service was strong the 1st 2 weekends, but it took a big dip this past Saturday.

The 1st time Saturday service was offered (November 5) 3,225 people took advantage of it. The 2nd time it was offered (Nov. 12), 3,452 people rode the trains. This past Saturday, Nov. 19th, was the 3rd time Saturday service was offered, and ridership was only at 2,100.

According to David Porter, Publisher of SunRailRiders.com (a blog that is not affiliated with SunRail or FDOT), that collapse in ridership is due to an operations failure and a break down in communications by SunRail and Team SunRail, the public-private partnership that’s funding Saturday service.

“The ridership started out really strong,” said Porter. “Started out with numbers that kind of equalled what you’d get on a daily run.” But then ridership suddenly plummeted by 1,352. Porter says the main thing contributing to that poor ridership is communication – he says not enough people know about this special service, no one’s doing enough to spread the word, and when Saturday service is announced riders are only informed a few days in advance. “It’s like having a party and not sending people invitations ahead of time,” quipped Porter. “Not many people are gonna show up at your party if they don’t know you’re having a party in the first place.”

Another challenge is that there is mandatory maintenance work that needs to be done on the tracks, and that’s typically done on the weekends.

And finally, Porter thinks riders are looking for something reliable. “People want something they can count on,” he says. “Not something that changes day-by-day, week-by-week.”

Porter hopes that SunRail and Team SunRail will learn from this and get the word out… Otherwise Saturday service may soon become a thing of the past.

Copyright Southern Stone Communications 2016.


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