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First Trip on SunRail  

A Central Floridian’s first time on the State’s public transit 

As a twenty-two-year-old Florida native and a public transportation enthusiast, I’m almost ashamed to say I’ve never used any public transit in the Sunshine State. Like almost 90 percent of Floridians, my car has been my main form of transportation. However, with gas prices on the rise, a broken AC, and a newfound passion for expanding the state’s transportation infrastructure, I thought it was time I gave the train a try. 

Unfortunately, this story gets off to a bad start (but I promise it’s only up from here!) I needed to use my car to get to the station. I know, a story about utilizing public transit that begins with a car, ironic. However, without using a car to get to the nearest station, I would’ve faced a forty-minute walk, then a thirty-minute bus ride and finally the commute I needed, the train. The alternative was driving 11 minutes. I chose the latter. 

Once parked in the garage near the Kissimmee station, it was smooth sailing. An employee waiting nearby noticed my amateur train behavior and offered some help signing me up for my first trip. The process was simple: get a card (preferably a reusable one which they incentivize with a fare discount), tap it and hop on. 

The train inside is spacious, generally quiet and comfortable. It’s a double-decker vehicle with some seats situated around tables for work-on-the-go, a designated quiet section and free Wi-Fi. All cars are wheelchair accessible and offer plenty of space for those who ride their bikes to board. After a stop or two, a SunRail employee individually checks all new passengers to ensure they’ve tapped on and, in traditional southern fashion, wishes passengers a great rest of their day. After a short, slightly shaky ride later, I tapped off at my stop and arrived in Orlando. 

The SunRail is an easy, enjoyable mode of transportation if you can get to it. With only 16 stations, most potential riders will face the same dilemma I did: How do I get to my stop? Some stations are easily bikeable, three stations have access to Lynx’s Neighbor Link on demand service and other stations have alternate options for connectivity. See your station’s details on the SunRail site here: https://sunrail.com/stations/. If those options do not work and you have a vehicle, most stations offer ample parking for riders who drive.  

Overall and with the pre-train drive caveat included, I would trade the congested, anxiety-inducing drive to Orlando in my hot car for a pleasant trip on the train any day. If you’re close to a station or can afford to make a short trip to one, I hope you take a ride on SunRail soon. 

SunRail operates on weekdays with stops scheduled every half-hour, although stops reduce in frequency at midday. Round trip costs range anywhere from $3.75 to $9.50 depending on the number of zones traveled with several discounts available to reduce these costs. For more information about SunRail, please visit their website: https://sunrail.com/   

 

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