SunRail officials pleased with ridership after free rides end

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. —

SunRail is halfway through its first week with paying customers. Channel 9's Tim Barber took a ride on the new commuter train to see how things differ from last week, when riders rode for free.
 
The number of riders is down considerably now that it costs to ride SunRail, but a representative for the Florida Department of Transportation said the number of riders they have seen this week is encouraging.
 
Miranda Deemer rode the train for the first time Tuesday.
 
"I think it was pretty cool. When you step on it, it feels like you are walking on Jello," said Deemer.
           
Deemer, 14, said she wanted to ride SunRail last week when it was free but the train was so full she was turned away.
 
Sanford resident Michael Mathews said he was among the crowds aboard SunRail last week.
 
"You didn't have a seat last week. You had to stand up and hold the pole," said Mathews.
 
Rodric Curry and his friend rode the train last week and were back on board Tuesday. They said they are glad the days of the free rides are over because it makes for more comfortable travels.
 
"Beats driving, saves gas, saves money, insurance, it's the way to go," said Curry.
 
An FDOT representative said the end-of-year goal for ridership is 4,300 daily boardings.
 
On Monday, the first day SunRail charged passengers, there were about 4,100 riders.
 
Officials also told us they are continuing to educate people about SunRail safety, which is on the minds of many riders after a SunRail train collided with a car in Maitland Monday.
 
Miranda Deemer and her father Eric Deemer, Volusia County residents, said they will continue to use the train.
 
"I would say on occasion I would definitely use it. It was a fun trip," said Eric Deemer.
 
"I wanted to go tomorrow, but he is like, 'You have school work to do,'" said Miranda Deemer.