• Saturday SunRail service could become reality

    Updated:

    CENTRAL FLORIDA - SunRail wants private businesses to help test out Saturday service. The agency is collecting donations for a new pilot program.

    Channel 9’s Michael Lopardi found out the extra train could run in about two weeks.

    Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer told Eyewitness News the goal is to capitalize on all the events scheduled for downtown in the next few months.

    “Events would probably be a main motivator to take the train on Saturday, I think at least,” SunRail rider Steven Lopez said.

    Dyer sent a letter to local businesses asking for donations between $25 and $25,000 to pay for the expanded service.

    “Saturday seems to be one of those types of service that seems like it would make a lot of sense especially during the fall time frame,” Dyer said.

    The mayor said Saturday service could cost up to $14,000 each day and riders would have to pay to board. Eyewitness News asked the mayor why he’s asking businesses for donations.

    “The public funding is only for commuter operation Monday through Friday. Any additional service has to be paid for in some fashion because the fare box doesn't do that,” Dyer said.

    SunRail transported roughly 3,500 riders’ downtown on a Sunday in June for the vigil following the Pulse mass shooting attack. That's comparable to what the train carries on most weekdays.

    “I know some people who would take advantage of like, ‘Hey, I get to do extra work on Saturday,’ but not really sure how many people would be doing that,” Lopez said.

    SunRail is also hoping to lure new riders and turn them into regulars.

    Saturday service would run from noon to midnight and if the pilot program takes off. 

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