Brightline’s Miami-Orlando service about to launch, but will people pay?

MIAMI – Brightline trains are ready to ride as high speed trips from Miami to Orlando are set to begin on Friday after a series of delays.

First there was a dress rehearsal Miami-to-Orlando trip on Thursday.

Before the doors closed, Orlando-based passenger Robert Pittman shared his view.

“A lot of people love South Beach and the culture down here is insane,” he said, adding that he expects a lot of people to take advantage of the new trips.

Brightline’s inaugural route on Friday may provide the first sign of whether private passenger rail can remain a profitable business in a state built on highway travel.

The experience is like an airline, but on tracks: from security, to onboard snacks to prices that fluctuate with supply and demand.

A family of four heading to the theme parks, for instance, will pay more than $300.

The trip to Orlando arrives 30 minutes less than a car and it’s more expensive, depending on how many people go, so why would people choose to go to Orlando this way?

“You step on with your luggage and a few hours later, you’re there,” said passenger Heather Rouffe.

The convenience factor seems huge, as price wasn’t a deciding factor for some passengers.

“There’s a restroom on board so you don’t have to stop,” said passenger Barbara Bruna.

Some like the novelty of it, but in the long run, will people give up the independence of their own rides?

“It’s just the flexibility of being able to move around and have an option of creating your own schedule and have a car,” said traveler Bianca Fernandez.

About the Author:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."