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Brightline’s high speed, 30-minute rail rides between the downtowns of Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Miami will resume Nov. 8, the company announced Wednesday,
Tickets are now on sale through the company’s website and a mobile app, with introductory prices during November starting at $10 and topping out at $27 for the line’s premium service. Brightline is even offering a “first free ride” through Dec. 31 if customers download the app and create an account.
The company halted service in March 2020 due to Covid-19, eliminating the jobs of about 250 people. Despite the extended time out of service, management says it can recapture the momentum it built among customers after trains first started to run in 2018. Since its inception, the company says it has carried 2 million people.
“There is a lot of enthusiasm for Brightline’s return and we are excited to welcome back past riders and all our new riders on Nov. 8,” said president Patrick Goddard in a statement. “Our relaunch opens a new chapter for Brightline that includes an enhanced guest experience, from the moment they book their travel plans on our app, to the moment they reach their final destination.”
In August, management said the trains would resume operations in November, but did not give a date. In a run-up to the resumption, the company started testing its full South Florida schedule this week, which explains the appearance of empty Brightline trains running along the 67-mile tri-county segment of the Florida East Coast Railway line.
Brightline said it is installing a series of local door-to-door ride services to take customers from homes or offices to and from the railroad’s three South Florida stations.
Without providing much detail, Brightline said in a statement that the service “will include a fleet of both private and third-party vendor vehicles supporting point-to-point service beyond the train.”
At the railroad’s MiamiCentral station, customers will be greeted by a 26,000-square-foot Citizens Culinary Center. There will also be an EllaMia coffee shop, a Cindy Lou’s Cookies shop, a Umiami Burger, a Sam’s Crispy Chicken and a Cicci di Carne deli and butcher shop.
The company has not yet offered any information about restaurant services at its Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach stations. But its website is promoting a “new hi-tech convenience store” at each station that offers snacks and beverages. To enter, customers can scan their phones or swipe their credit cards.
Despite the service add-ons, it remains unclear how quickly and how many customers will return to Brightline.
Economic development promoters in all three counties continue to count the line’s resumption and expansion as a plus for recruiting companies that may want to relocate to South Florida. But during the pandemic, downtown office work was converted to remote work at home as professional service firms closed their offices for health and financial reasons.
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In South Florida, construction is continuing on new stations in Boca Raton and Aventura, both of which are scheduled to become operational in 2022. The line also plans to build a station at PortMiami to serve the cruise line industry.
Throughout the service suspension, Brightline has continued construction of its 170-mile extension between West Palm Beach and Orlando.
The company has taken delivery of a new train set from Siemens, the manufacturer. The two new locomotives and four coaches recently arrived in South Florida from California. Four more sets are reportedly scheduled for delivery later, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Ultimately, there will be ten sets in operation every day after the Orlando segment becomes operational in 2022.
The company has so far spent $5 billion in private funds on its Florida ventures.