Riders pack train on SunRail's first day

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ORLANDO, Fla. - On the first day of operation, the cars of the new commuter train have been filled and that pushed some of the trains behind schedule, forcing riders into long waits for an open spot.
 
Some people told Channel 9 that they were upset because they were caught at some stations waiting for hours to get back on the train.
 
SunRail officials were apologizing over loudspeakers because some people appeared to have climbed aboard and were riding all day. Those traveling on SunRail get to ride for free for the first two weeks of operation.
 
Officials said they believe part of the problem was also with people trying to figure out the hours the train runs.
 
"It's very good. It's very fast and convenient," said commuter Rick Lagunzad.
           
Many of the early-morning riders were headed to work. A number of those workers were Florida Hospital employees, some of whom said they plan to use SunRail on a regular basis.
 
"Every day, unless of course something unexpected comes up that I need my car, but that's the plan, to use it every day," said Patty Magonia.
 
But even at midday the trains were packed. Many people had to be turned away from the southbound trains because they were full.
 
"We came out as an activity, just with the kids to give them a chance to ride the train," said Amanda Martin-Sahm.
 
A one point the trains were running about 40 minutes behind. But those who did get a chance to ride told Ray it was a good experience.
 
"I think once the train is opened up for real service there will be a lot more balance. And I think that's what this is all about, so they can test to see if they need improvements they need to make," said rider Frank Thompson.
 
Riders brought bikes, workers brought laptops and children took naps.
 
"It’s fast. It's convenient. It’s beautiful. It’s a very lovely experience. Anyone out there, if you have time to get on the SunRail, I’d recommend to do it," said passenger Laurence Stokes.

Some have been waiting a long time to take the ride.

"I wanted to check it out. It’s been developing in my neighborhood for several years, and I see the SunRail vehicles go through on my way to work a lot," said Johnson.

SunRail officials of course are hoping things level off in a few days, but that interest remains high enough to make the commuter train a success.