SunRail trains were abuzz with activities May 1, as the Florida Department of Transportation, local elected officials and celebrity guests joined with passengers on-board trains for a day-long celebration marking SunRail’s First Anniversary of service. The celebration was designed to thank the more than 1 million Central Floridians that have used SunRail since May 1. It was a good first year.
So, what’s ahead for Central Florida’s commuter rail system?
SunRail continues to focus on growing our ridership, maintaining on-time performance and clean trains, courteous staff, as well as working with our local partners. The “last mile” connectivity—how to get from the station to your final destination—is a renewed focus in year two, as well. An additional late evening train was added to the line-up late last year. 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. Work also continues to expand the system—Phase 2 as it is called—south to Poinciana in Osceola County, and north to DeLand in Volusia County. The possibility of SunRail trains running to Orlando International Airport is under study, too.
Transit Oriented Development is also important. SunRail has spawned more than $3.2 billion worth of new investment around station stops, including a major development in Lake Mary. Since 2010, 18 development projects have been completed within a 10-minute walk of Phase 1 SunRail stations; nine more are under construction, and 21 additional projects have been announced or are being reviewed by local governments.
So, as SunRail heads down the track in year two, look for big things in the future and “thank you” to all those who made this first year possible.