One of the most-asked questions about SunRail since it began running last week, and even before that, is why the trains won't run on weekends.
While few work commuters would have use for weekend train service, pleasure-riders could take it to Winter Park for the Saturday morning farmers' market.
Others could take it to the Church Street stop for dinner or some bar hopping. Or a weekend Orlando Magic game. Who wouldn't feel better about getting that second big beer at the game if you were able to get on a train instead of climbing into your car?
Still others could use it to visit patients at Florida Hospital and Orlando Health, each of which has a station.
But while it sounds so simple, a spokesman for SunRail says it's deceptively complicated, And expensive.
The state Department of Transportation has a 10-year, $195 million contract with Bombardier to operate SunRail. That contract is based on the current schedule. Add weekend service and you have to add more money to the contract to pay for conductors, fuel, cleaning and other costs of running a train system.
Which isn't cheap.
Plus, it's unclear how many people would use the trains for weekend pleasure. Remove commuters from the equation and you have far less certainty when it comes to ridership.
When it comes to SunRail there's been a tendency for people who want it all and to want it now. Service to the airport. Service to UCF. Service to International Drive. Service to Universal and Disney. Weekend service.
It's reasonable to assume that the current route is a first step. If it works, if there's demand (once fares take effect May 19) there may be the political will to expand to weekends and extend the train's hours and destinations.
Just remember how hard it was politically to get where we are today.Copyright © 2015, CT Now