On this muggy Wednesday morning in Central Florida, the SunRail commuter train made its debut as it carried VIP passengers from DeBary to Sand Lake Road, including Mayor Buddy Dyer.
The grand opening of the SunRail stations marks a historic achievement, according to Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs and Congresswoman Corrine Brown, who both praised the development of the rail despite the construction and noise Orlando residents endured during its conception.
“Now, we don’t have to make phone calls while we’re driving; we can take a little extra time to catch a snooze or do anything we need to do before we leave for work,” Jacobs said. “It’s an absolute lifesaver.”
Orange City Council Member Ron Saylor mentioned that SunRail was a major improvement upon Orlando’s previous forms of commuter transportation. He said it usually costs about $16 for the average worker, between parking downtown and paying for gas, to get from one side of town to the other – and with the four stations cropping up alongside I-4, this should save people money and time. (One advantage for him specifically is that SunRail stops right by his favorite restaurant, Gram’s Kitchen in Orange City.)
SunRail runs 32 miles along a north-south corridor of Orange County. The rail is a hybrid train, running on diesel fuel and electricity.
“In two years, it should be able to go to the airport and back,” Saylor said. That would be part of Phase 3 of the Florida Department of Transportation’s plan.
Tickets begin at $2 per ride. In partnership with Lynx buses, pick-up times would ideally coincide with the hourly schedule currently set in place by Lynx transportation.
Published in Orlando Weekly‘s photo gallery section.