Brightline launching high-speed passenger service on Saturday

The Brightline high-speed rail service will launch on Saturday with 35 minute, $10 rides between the downtown Fort Lauderdale and West Palm, but its website encountered opening day glitches on Thursday.

Brightline will be in the spotlight nationally as the only privately funded and operated rail service in the United States. In a few months,  trains will run to downtown Miami, where an 11-acre transit hub is under construction near the Miami-Dade County Courthouse. In a few years, passengers will be able to take 3 1/2 hour journeys from the Miami to Orlando International Airport and connect with the SunRail commuter service.

An upgraded select service for $15 includes wider seats, beverage service and access to a lounge. Seniors, active military and veterans will receive a 10 percent discount.  Kids 12 and under will receive a 50 percent  discount.

Brightline initially will have 10 daily roundtrips during the weekdays and nine on the weekends. While the news media will have a preview ride on Friday, the first public service will be 8 a.m. Saturday on a southbound train from West Palm Beach. The first northbound will leave Fort Lauderdale at 9:25 a.m.

Brightline also unveiled a website for passengers to book service. However, there was an apology on gobrightline.com on Thursday morning, saying that the response was overwhelming it. In the afternoon, Brightline had a message that said, “Due to overwhelming excitement, we’re experiencing site traffic delays and booking glitches. We have temporarily suspended booking rides where train times are displayed as ‘sold out’ while we work through the kinks.”

Brightline also said it launched mobile apps, but SFBW could not find them on the Apple or Google stores. A chat bot on the Brightline website said the app wasn’t available for download on the Apple store.

The trains are 100 percent Buy America compliant and were assembled by more than 1,000 employees at Siemens USA in Sacramento, California. More than 40 suppliers in over 20 states supplied the components for the state-of-the-art trains.

In addition to the launch date, Brightline also announces the promotion of Patrick Goddard to company president.

“We are thrilled to have South Florida preview Brightline with the launch of introductory service,” said Goddard, who is also COO. “We believe the comfort and convenience of our travel experience paired with premium hospitality will set a new standard for passenger rail service. Our team will continue to ramp up operations as we prepare to fully launch this transformative new infrastructure asset for South Florida.”

Want to read more about Brightline? Here are some previous stories about it and mass transit in South Florida:







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Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky



Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.