Brightline to begin serving passengers January 13

Brightline to begin serving passengers January 13

Brightline to begin serving passengers January 13

Take a virtual ride with us at 11 a.m. Friday on Brightline's higher-speed passenger train, which will hold its inaugural run for dignitaries.

Brightline - the country's only privately owned and operated passenger railroad - on Thursday announced its long-awaited start date as well as ticket prices and schedules for limited, introductory service.

Early this year, construction will begin on an extension to Orlando, as Brightline hopes to tantalize Miamians with a three-hour trip to Orlando International Airport.

Brightline attributed the glitch to "overwhelming excitement". Officials tell local news outlets the company will make 10 round trips daily and nine trips on weekends.

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Brightline has not released monthly pass prices for its trains yet, nor has the company said when the introductory fare will end.

The company also promoted Patrick Goddard to president.

Brightline's trains feature a variety of amenities, including retractable platforms that facilitate easy boarding, bike racks, wide aisles and free wireless internet.

"To all South Florida residents and visitors who are exhausted of sitting in traffic, I invite you to take a ride", said Patrick Goddard, the company's chief operating officer, and newly-promoted president, at the opening ceremony.

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"We believe the comfort and convenience of our travel experience, paired with premium hospitality, will set a new standard for passenger rail service", Goddard said in a statement.

The train, which opened the first leg of a system that will eventually take travelers from Miami to Orlando in around four hours, has opened up tickets starting Saturday at $20 round trip ($10 for one way) for the 66 seat Smart Coach and $30 round trip ($15 for one way) for the more spacious 50 seat Select Coach.

Though popular in South Florida and in Brevard County, Brightline has faced staunch opposition and legal challenges from the Treasure Coast, where many residents believe the railroad would endanger public safety, pollute the environment and decrease quality of life.

Right now, the service is just between Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.

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