Updated: Jul 29, 2022
An iconic yellow train on one of the first journeys since the reopening.
Photo by Jillian Cain
Brightline returned to the transportation scene at the beginning of November to offer an improved way to get around. From West Palm Beach to Fort Lauderdale or all the way to Miami, Brightline has ambitions to revolutionize South Florida’s transportation systems.
Brightline suspended train service in March 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic but used the off-time to transform its offerings. The company is enforcing COVID-19 precautions by requiring passengers and staff to wear masks inside stations and onboard. Employees must be vaccinated.
The relaunch has brought enhancements such as new food and beverage options, bike and carry-on storage, pet-friendly accommodations, and free high-speed Wi-Fi. Complimentary door-to-door service begins in December.
Brightline President Patrick Goddard said passengers are enthusiastic about Brightline’s return. “It’s getting busier,” he said. “The market is on fire, and we are ready to meet that demand.”
Additionally, Goddard said the company’s improved guest amenities create a travel experience unlike any other. Passengers can purchase tickets on the new Brightline website and mobile app. The first ride is free when travelers set up an account and buy tickets on the mobile app for Smart ride offers through Dec. 31. Introductory ticket prices start at $10 for Smart rides and $27 for Premium rides for a limited time.
Alongside the structural changes and improved amenities, Brightline is the first U.S. company to offer a comprehensive transportation service by getting people to and from the station. The new door-to-door Brightline service includes private and third-party-vendor vehicles to carry passengers to and from stations. Brightline has partnered with several vendors, including Circuit and Tesla, to provide an all-electric first- or last-mile shuttle service up to 3 miles from the train stations. Passengers can choose a private Tesla Model Y or a shared six-seater shuttle.
“We need to take care of the guests, meet them where they are and take them where they are going. It’s not enough just to take care of the train trip,” Goddard said in a Brightline+ unveiling press conference.
The service is offered through Brightline+ starting in December and can be booked on the Brightline website or app. A shared vehicle is free; private rides are $10.
“One transaction, one ticket, one payment, one application,” Goddard said.
Brightline train service strives to improve the environment. Stations use solar power, and locomotives run on electricity and clean biodiesel. Brightline says it helps to remove 3 million cars from the road annually and has a direct economic impact of $6.4 billion over the next eight years.
The journey begins at the bright and airy West Palm Beach station at 501 Evernia St., a 60,000-square-foot transportation hub in the heart of downtown. The station offers connections to the Palm Tran bus, the Palm trolley and the Tri-Rail and is steps away from the waterfront, the Clematis district and the government center. The station also is within walking distance of iconic Worth Avenue and the Northwood Village rental community. Riders have easy access to Rosemary Square, Centennial Park and the popular RH Rooftop Restaurant.
The Fort Lauderdale station is at 101 NW 2nd Ave., alongside such attractions as the Museum of Discovery and Science, Broward Center for the Performing Arts, NSU Art Museum, and FATVillage Arts District. Beaches, shopping, arts and parks are accessible via Broward Transit buses and the Sun Trolley.
The Miami Brightline station is at 600 NW 1st Ave. in Miami Central. The new 11-acre complex offers shops and boutiques alongside the first dining hall in the city. A new 26,000-square-foot culinary center will house restaurants inspired by renowned chefs like “Iron Chef” Masaharu Morimoto, Katsuya Uechi, triple-Michelin-starred Dani Garcia and Dario Cecchini. Connections to Metrorail, Metrobus, Metro Mover and the Miami Trolley are available, and a connection to Tri-Rail is underway. The station is near the Adrienne Arsht Center, the Perez Art Museum, the Frost Museum, Bayfront Park, American Airlines Arena and PortMiami.
A Boca Raton Brightline station is scheduled to open in 2022, and the planned Orlando station will be accessible around the same time.
For tickets and more information, visit www.gobrightline.com.