Sep 22, 2023 - News

Brightline launches train route from Miami to Orlando

Brightline trains at Orlando International Airport. Photo: Courtesy of Brightline

The new transit option between Miami and Orlando is finally open.

What's happening: Brightline, the privately owned high-speed rail company, debuted its new route today after years of anticipation.

Why it matters: The company is trying to win over some of the more than 40 million people who make the trip between Miami and Orlando each year — with about 90% of them driving, the Associated Press reports.

How it works: The biodiesel trains travel up to 79 mph in urban areas, 110 mph in more rural areas and 125 mph through central Florida's farmland, per AP.

  • In Miami-Dade, you can catch the train downtown or in Aventura. There are also stations in Fort Lauderdale, Boca and West Palm Beach. Its final destination is the Orlando International Airport.
  • A direct ride from Miami to Orlando takes about 3.5 hours, compared to a roughly four-hour drive depending on traffic.

Yes, but: It's also more expensive, especially for families.

Pricing: Round-trip business class tickets start at $158 for adults and $78 for kids ages 2–12, with groups of four or more saving 25%.

  • A family of four with two young children could book one round-trip ticket for $398.
  • Premium rides offering complimentary food and drinks start at $298.

What they're saying: Mark Merwitzer, policy manager for the nonprofit Transit Alliance Miami, tells Axios that Brightline should consider discounted tickets for county residents.

  • "We're trying to make this affordable for all Miami-Dade residents, not just those who can afford very expensive train tickets each way," he said.
  • While the expanded route is positive news, Merwitzer says his group is focused on improving the company's service in Miami.

What we're watching: How will Brightline's higher speeds and longer route impact public safety?

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