Reporter

FDOT: SunRail ridership and property values up

SunRail is celebrating five years of service May 1.

SunRail ridership continues to climb, according to a March press release from the Florida Department of Transportation that credits the bump partially to the 17-mile southern expansion into Osceola County and a new schedule.

Ridership during revenue service in January and February 2019 reached all-time highs, with the average daily ridership over 6,000 per day, according to FDOT.

Friday ridership alone in 2019 is averaging more than 6,300.

“The ridership numbers are very exciting, and we are anticipating even higher numbers in March and April as these months are typically among the strongest for SunRail,” said company CEO Nicola Liquori in a press release last week.

Weekend service is still notably absent from its offering of expanded services, but SunRail has launched other initiatives to get people on the train, including a special southbound, late night train after weekday Orlando Magic home games.

SunRail also launched partnerships with a local trolley to serve downtown Sanford from SunRail’s Sanford station, as well as the Train to Plane LYNX connection between the Sand Lake Road station and Orlando International Airport (OIA).

SunRail is working on other partnerships and opportunities with the University of Central Florida and Valencia College ahead of their expected downtown Orlando campuses openings this summer.

“We want to be proactive in our marketing efforts, and we continue to seek out public and private transportation partners to promote our service,” Liquori said.

According to the release, SunRail continues to work with local funding partners including leadership from Volusia, Seminole, Orange and Osceola counties.

Local funding partners are scheduled to take over operations in 2021.

SunRail is also boosting nearby property values, according to an FDOT study conducted late last year.

Property values around the first 12 train stations increased $2.4 billion — 63 percent — from 2011-17, and FDOT estimates that $1.19 billion of that is due to SunRail. In 2016, for example, the station area property values grew at twice the rate as surrounding neighborhoods, the study found.

For more information about SunRail, including fares, schedule and station locations, visit www.sunrail.com.