Brightline announces plans to reopen new and improved services
Brightline, the only provider of modern, eco-friendly, high-speed rail in America, unveiled its plans to resume service in November 2021, with brand new enhancements and upgrades.
During a virtual media update, Patrick Goddard, President of Brightline, outlined the company’s reopening schedule, set to start the first half of November 2021. The trains will be open for service between Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. Patrick also detailed Brightline’s multiple service improvements and investments, which include: new construction, expenditure in corridor infrastructure and safety, COVID-19 protocols, community engagement, as well as the implementation of a recruitment plan that will enable 200 new job opportunities in South Florida.
“We are thrilled to be gearing up to welcome guests back aboard Brightline,” said Patrick Goddard, President of Brightline. “Over the last few months, we’ve made upgrades to our guest experience and made significant strides in construction. Our goal remains the same, to take cars off the road while offering the most convenient way to travel in South Florida and a guest-first experience.”
Brightline will announce their specific date of service resumption in the upcoming weeks of August 2021. However, before agreeing on a final date both Brightline and the Florida East Coast Railway are working in coordination with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to commission the positive train control system and achieve system certification. Once the certification is granted by the FRA, Brightline will launch its revenue service.
Brightline’s new Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) platform
Among the many service enhancements made to Brightline’s trains, a modern MaaS platform will address guests’ first and last mile connections. Delivered in partnership with software company Iomob, the new service is intended to provide passengers with full door-to-door travel service, therefore eliminating the gaps created by the first and last miles and reducing environmental impact. The new mobility service will be powered by a brand new, state-of-the-art, digital platform that will make its app and website experience completely compatible. It is designed to provide door-to-door travel through improved access to stations, offering a selection of private luxury cars, shared shuttle services, golf carts and micro-mobility options.
Revised safety measures
As always, Brightline’s priority remains the safety of its customers and staff members. During its service suspension, the company enlisted Dr. Timothy McCormick, Chief Health Officer (CHO), a licensed physician with more than 25 years of experience in public health and occupational medicine. Timothy provides medical expertise and guidance for the implementation of operations, corporate and construction practices.
Another safety measure implemented by Brightline is the requirement for all teammates to be fully vaccinated prior to the reintroduction of service. Furthermore, the company has identified and will apply a series of COVID-19 protocols, including an almost touchless transportation system. Other safety measures include: increased cleaning, pre-packaged foods, touchless bathrooms, cashless payment and e-tickets. Per the existing federal mandate, staff and passengers will be required to wear masks in stations and onboard all trains.
Furthermore, each individual Brightline coach features: reserved seating, private four-person table configurations, and plexiglass dividers providing increased privacy and social distancing. In addition, 25 per cent of the air in Brightline’s coaches comes from fresh air intake ducts and unlike airplanes, the air is filtered before it is mixed with recirculated air. The company will also utilise a Needlepoint Bipolar Ionization (NPBI) system developed by Siemens, the manufacturer of the trainsets. Ozone-Free NPBI artificially creates millions of positive and negative ions and releases them into the forced-air circulation of an HVAC system. The ions or charged particles, neutralize pathogens, viruses and bacteria.
The company is continuing its engagement with local community partners along the rail corridor including, educating the communities on rail safety, mental health and sustainability. Over the course of the year in 2021-2022, Brightline will invest more than $6.5 million in safety enhancements.
New job opportunities
In the leadup to relaunch, Brightline is hosting career fairs throughout South Florida, as well as working with multiple community partners to recruit for nearly 200 jobs, offering starting wages at $18 per hour. This is partnered with a comprehensive total rewards package that provides added support to staff with access to resources that aid their professional and personal growth.
Patrick further added: “Brightline is building a modern, career friendly work environment and we are dedicated to developing a team that is diverse, inclusive and representative of the communities we serve. Our service-oriented culture is designed to give guests the most pleasurable experience in travel and we are excited to deliver on that promise again.”
Active construction operations
Brightline’s expansion stations in Aventura and Boca Raton continue to progress. The Aventura station is currently under construction, while the Boca Raton station is expected to break ground in the coming months of 2021. The construction to Orlando station has surpassed the halfway point and is on target to be complete by the end of 2022. Finally, discussions remain ongoing with local stakeholders regarding the expansion to Disney and Tampa.