Sanford – SunRail trains will be abuzz with activities May 1, as the Florida Department of Transportation, local elected officials and celebrity guests join with passengers on-board trains for a day-long celebration marking SunRail’s First Anniversary of service.
“I applaud the Central Florida community and the SunRail team on a successful inaugural year,” said Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Jim Boxold. “We look forward to great things in the future as we continue to work together to meet the needs of the traveling public.”
The celebration was designed to thank the more than 1 million Central Floridians that have used SunRail since May 1 for their daily commutes, a day of fun, or simply ventured on board to explore restaurants, shops and other amenities located nearby SunRail’s 12 station stops in Volusia, Seminole and Orange counties.
“Without our riders, we wouldn’t be here today,’’ said Florida Department of Transportation District 5 Secretary Noranne Downs. “We are thrilled that more than 1 million people in our first year of operation have turned to SunRail and found it to be a cost-effective, efficient and convenient transportation alternative to getting around town.”
SunRail began service on May 1, 2014, with two weeks of free trips. The outpouring of community support was staggering – with a record high of more than 17,000 passengers boarding SunRail on Friday, May 16, 2014. Paid service – with fares starting as low at $2 – began on May 19, 2014 and was quickly followed by community calls to expand service on weekdays, and extend operating hours to the weekend. On Dec. 22, 2014, an additional late evening train was added to the line-up as a pilot project, and the Department is currently working with local funding partners in Volusia, Seminole, Orange and Osceola counties, as well as the city of Orlando, to explore further service expansions.
In the first year of operations, local partners also paid for SunRail to serve several special events, including the 2015 Winter Park Sidewalk Arts Festival (25,857 riders), the Orlando City Soccer home opener game (8,515 riders), and the Buffalo Wild Wings game at the Citrus Bowl (807 riders) on New Year’s Day.
“Keeping Orlando moving continues to be a priority for the City of Orlando with SunRail as the backbone of our growing transit system,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, who also is chairman of the Central Florida Commuter Rail Commission. “With just a year of operation under its belt, SunRail has connected more of our residents with access to jobs and opportunity, spurred development and investment and laid the foundation for enhancing and growing our transportation options throughout our entire region.”
In addition to providing Central Floridians with a transportation alternative to the region’s congested road network, SunRail also has spawned more than $3.2 billion worth of new investment around station stops. Since 2010, 18 development projects have been completed within a 10-minute walk of Phase 1 SunRail stations; 9 more are under construction, and 21 additional projects have been announced or are being reviewed by local governments.
Those who ride trains during the First Anniversary celebration will be greeted at many stations by free water, coffee and other giveaways. Special giveaways of SunRail mementos will occur on board (while supplies last). In addition, entertainment teams from the Orlando Magic, Orlando City Soccer and the Orlando Solar Bears will make surprise appearances throughout the day. Regular rates apply on May 1.
Thank you to our SunRail riders!
WHAT RIDERS ARE SAYING ABOUT SUNRAIL
“I ride SunRail for less wear and tear on my car and to get off I-4.”
Longwood to Orlando Health
“I read or do work every day on SunRail…the train makes the commute a little bit more relaxing.”
DeBary to Sand Lake Road
“It’s so convenient. I can actually get a lot of work done…I answer all of my emails before I even get into the office, so when I get into the office I can be immediately productive, and not spend time catching up.”
Sanford to Church Street Station
“I take SunRail 5 days a week. SunRail frees up my time to be able to either relax or get some work done, make phone calls or do whatever I need to do.”
“The SunRail workers are all very friendly.”
DeBary to Church Street Station
“I enjoy the peace and quiet and don’t have to deal with traffic. It gives me time to relax.”
Maitland to Sand Lake Road Station
“It’s a great experience, it’s always clean and fast…We have a shuttle service for our employees at ABC Fine Wine and Spirits to connect the train to and from work. It’s great. I love it.”
Florida Hospital to Sand Lake Road Station
“Save yourselves the hassle and headache of driving, and ride the train.”
Downtown to Sand Lake Road Station
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