SunRail riders pack Winter Park restaurants, businesses

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WINTER PARK, Fla. - SunRail is being credited as a small economy booster for restaurants and businesses around the Winter Park SunRail station, but some question whether it will last.

Eyewitness News found dozens of visitors and diners in Winter Park who said they used SunRail to get there. But business owners question whether the spike in traffic will continue when SunRail's two weeks of free rides come to an end.

Lynn Stallings said taking SunRail would be worth the fare.

"I-4 is miserable," Stallings said.

Many restaurant managers in Winter Park said they've seen a bump in dinner traffic since SunRail debuted.

"In two weeks we've been down here twice, giving business here rather than Seminole County," SunRail rider Jackie Warren said.

WFTV found SunRail riders from Sanford and Lake Mary who came to Winter Park for dinner. It's a city they wouldn't even think of driving to.

"We like Winter Park. We just don't like driving, it's kind of a far drive," rider Brittany Brooks said.

Many riders said the Winter Park SunRail stop is one of the most popular.

"At the moment, of all the stops, it has the nicest area around," rider Luis Fernandez said.

A few business owners said they're weary of the extra business sticking around long-term.

"I think it's the hype that's making everybody do it. I think as soon as Monday comes, people are going to stop," Brooks said.

During it's first week, SunRail trains averaged more than 10,000 boardings per day. Many are anxious to see if the interest continues when rides are no longer free.