Rail Rider

Deltona resident Julio Perez, 37, has ridden SunRail from DeBary to Orlando for nearly two years.

Julio Perez, 37, is a regular customer of SunRail.

He heads to the DeBary Station five days a week and usually catches the 7 a.m. ride to Orlando.

“They slowed the schedule to three trains in the a.m. and three trains in the afternoon,” the Deltona resident said. “It decreased big time” in the last few months, “but it kind of makes you feel a little safer.”

SunRail resumed its regular service – 15 stops to and from DeBary in Volusia County and Poinciana in Osceola County – Monday, May 11.

Mr. Perez was one of about 10 who hopped on the SunRail May 14.

“The train used to be packed,” he said. “There were 200 to 300 on the train during rush hour. People were standing.”

SunRail has taken extra care to reduce the possibility of spreading COVID-19. The frequency of cleaning on board has increased as well as at station platforms, according to a new release from Jessica Ottaviano, a communication specialist with District 5 of the Florida Department of Transportation. Interiors are being disinfected nightly and hand sanitizer dispensers have been added, two to each car.

Station ambassadors have the supplies to disinfect all station equipment and frequently touched surfaces throughout the day, the release stated. Also, materials about the spreading of germs from the Florida Department of Health have been installed along the corridor.

“I think they did a good job handling everything,” said Mr. Perez, who wears a mask. “It’s new for everybody. They did a good job.”

Becky Colon, 41, said she’s been using the commuter rail for about two months. She works in Orlando.

“It’s been good,” said Ms. Colon, a Deltona resident. “There’s hardly not a lot of people on it anymore,” and then added, “I enjoy the ride there and back.”

Rita Luongo, 86, was taking her second trip to Orlando.

“It’s fine,” said Ms. Luongo, a DeBary resident. “It’s cheap. It’s gets you to where you wanna go. A lot of people have stopped using them (the rail).”

SunRail is a 48.9-mile commuter rail system in Central Florida. The 32-mile first phase of SunRail, which opened in 2014, serves 12 stations and link DeBary to Sand Lake Road, south of Orlando, according to the SunRail website. Phase II South, which opened in 2018, serves four additional stations, south to Poinciana.

FDOT is continuing to review funding options for Phase II North, which will add an additional 12 miles of track and connect DeBary to DeLand.

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