I walked to the Longwood Station to catch the 12:49 Southbound train. Once I arrived, I ventured to one of the machines on the platform to buy my ticket. I was instructed to "Touch screen to begin." After touching the screen several times in multiple spots with no response, a SunRail Ambassador informed me that the machine has a twenty second lag. While I was waiting for the computer to catch up, the person ahead of me completed buying their tickets at the adjacent machine. The second machine seemed to be working properly and I was able to easily buy my ticket. Round trip from Longwood to Winter Park cost $5.50. As I finished up my transaction, the lag on the first machine finally caught up and moved on to the next screen (much more than twenty seconds). If this issue occurs on both machines at once, getting people to buy train tickets will get difficult.
|Buggy ticket kiosks.|
|Southbound SunRail arriving in Longwood.|
|Southbound SunRail leaving Winter Park.|
We still had a little more time before our return train so we wandered a bit further up Park Avenue and stopped into a new candy store called Rocket Fizz. Apparently this is a franchise which wasn't very apparent from the store itself. I'm afraid it may give Sassafras Sweet Shoppe some competition in the specialty candy market. Rocket Fizz was at least triple the size, was located on Park Avenue as opposed to a side street, and had a very large selection. I'm hoping both of Winter Park's candy shops can coexist...
Overall, my first paid ride on the SunRail went as planned with some minor hiccups. The ticket machines that take minutes to respond is one of those hiccups. This wouldn't work well if the stations were busy and lots of people needed to buy tickets all at once before a trains arrival. There was also the error message for a ticket that was definitely paid for when trying to tap on for the return trip in the Winter Park Station. Even if it wasn't paid for, it wasn't like anyone was checking tickets. It seems like SunRail's ticketing system runs on trusting that people are paying like they should. Unlike subway systems that I've been on, there are no turnstiles or gates to go through to board SunRail. If someone was to board SunRail and leave without a ticket, I would be surprised if any SunRail employees would notice from what I saw today. I know in theory, the conductors are supposed to come around and randomly check tickets. I didn't see a conductor in our car on both of the trains I rode. I wonder if they're going to eventually get stricter with actually checking tickets, or if SunRail is basically going to continue running on the honor system? It should be interesting to watch, and regardless, I'm looking forward to my next ride somewhere on SunRail!