New numbers show more trouble for SunRail as ridership fell in February compared to January’s counts. The dip in average daily ridership during service in February shows SunRail remains far from its monthly goal of 4,300 riders per day.
According to SunRail’s February conductor’s report, the average daily ridership last month was 3,561 boardings. Realistically, if most riders took the train round-trip, that’s about 1,781 people per day.
These numbers are down from the January counts. SunRail’s January conductor’s report detailed an average of 3,789 daily boardings, still short of the monthly goal. The average January ridership finally increased from November and December average ridership of around 3,200. The January average did not include the New Year’s Day “free” service offered by SunRail and paid for by the City of Orlando. SunRail drew few riders for the Citrus Bowl with only 807 total rides, or about 400 people.
There could be something to be learned about why SunRail service seems to spike on a few days each month. In February, Monday the 16th had the highest daily ridership with 4,621 boardings. This was the only day all month to surpass SunRail’s average ridership goal. One other day, Friday the 13th, came very close with 4,263 total boardings. However, even though there were a few days with higher ridership, the median daily boardings last month is lower than the average at 3,447 boardings.
SunRail may be counting on big ridership numbers this weekend as once again free service will be offered for the Orlando City soccer MLS debut, the Magic game and the ballet at the Performing Arts Center. On Sunday, SunRail will run special service every 90 minutes, starting at 12:30 p.m. and ending at 10:50 p.m. Trains will make stops at all 12 stations during those times.
Ridership numbers will have to start increasing for SunRail in the coming weeks or else there could be more trouble for the train and local officials who are beginning to talk about expansion and additional service. Of course, local elected officials at the City of Orlando and Orange County have yet to detail their plans to pay for SunRail and all other current transportation obligations in the coming years.