• SunRail officials look at costs of extended hours, weekend service


    ORLANDO, Fla. - An online petition has motivated SunRail officials to take a look at what it might take to run the commuter train service later in the evenings and on weekends.
    Currently SunRail operates during business hours on Monday through Friday. The trains don't run on holidays or weekends, but based on response to the petition, there are a lot of people who want to see the service extended.
    "Especially on the weekends because there's lots of shopping people can't always come during the week," said SunRail rider Caroline Duvall.
    Now SunRail officials are taking a look at what it would cost to extend operating hours to evenings and weekends.
    "I think the whole region is looking at ways to fund this," said Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs at a meeting Monday.
    Currently local partners in the SunRail venture are only signed on to help pay for Monday through Friday service.
    For a rider traveling the full length of the SunRail system from DeBary to Sand Lake Road and then back the cost of a ticket is $7.50. Officials said adding extra hours to the train's schedule could mean higher costs for travelers.
    "Maybe we would want to charge a premium," said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. "I don't know if the technology would allow us to charge more on Saturday or Sunday or after 10:00 or after 9:00.
    SunRail officials said they have no idea yet how much extended service would cost to operate. Channel 9's Karla Ray learned that running a train for a special event costs around $3,000 plus $1,000 in fuel costs for each round trip.
    "Most things are geared that way, high demand, high price, sure," said resident John Briganti.. 
    Officials said they hope to have an idea of what the costs of extended hours of operation would be by the end of August.

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    SunRail officials look at costs of extended hours, weekend service