by ELISSA SALAMY | The National Desk
WASHINGTON (TND) — The SunRail commuter rail system in Orlando, Florida is currently running a $50 million deficit each year, according to a report by Fox 35. A year after the system was launched in 2014, SunRail reduced its hours to just run on weekdays due to a lag in ridership. Pre-pandemic ridership was about 1.4 million every year, an average of 5,609 daily trips. Now, on average, fewer than 1,000 people ride on SunRail every day.
"Tickets to ride this system cost between $2 and $5. It's really cheap to ride it, but nobody wants to ride it," said Adam Andrzejewski from OpentheBooks.com. "Every 10 years, this thing's costing taxpayers a half-billion dollars a year."
The rail system brings in around $16 million in revenue each year, according to reports, but costs for the SunRail system are budgeted for over $66 million.
"For every dollar of cost, riders pay 25 cents, taxpayers pay 75 cents on every dollar. So this is a million-dollar boondoggle," said Andrzejewski to The National Desk's Angela Brown.
A partnership is reportedly in the works between SunRail and Brightline, a privately-run rail route between Miami and West Palm Beach. The partnership could expand SunRail to service the Orlando International Airport, Walt Disney World, Sea World, and Universal Studios. But Andrzejewski is critical of
"Think about this: they lose a tremendous amount of money with every ticket they sell on their subway, and they want to expand it?" said Andrzejewski. "I think it's a bad idea."
Watch the full interview above.