VIPs take ride on new Brightline train from Fort Lauderdale to West Palm Beach

Service between 2 stops begins Saturday

By Todd Tongen - Anchor/Reporter

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - After four years and eventually billions of dollars, the first link of Brightline is on track. 

Sky 10 was overhead Friday as the sleek, yellow, 240-passenger, expandable car configuration train left the Fort Lauderdale station with VIPs on board bound for West Palm Beach. 

"I think today is the culmination of the vision and continuation of the legacy of Henry Flagler," Brightline President and COO Patrick Goddard said. "We are launching something that is at the intersection of transportation and hospitality."

Smart seating or coach one way is only $10 and includes free parking. Select or first class is $15 and it includes food, drink and free parking, but these prices are an introductory offer.

Passengers can also buy tickets at the kiosks inside the stations.

A ride from Fort Lauderdale to West Palm Beach takes 35 minutes. 

"This is a model that in select places can be replicated, where you have the sweet spot of the right distance, where it is faster than driving and much less hassle than flying," Robert Poole, a member of a transportation think tank, said. 

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler said Brightline is the first step for Fort Lauderdale establishing a multimodel transportation center.

"Tri-Rail serves a purpose in getting people to and from work, but when you start looking at downtown to downtown -- that is where people live, work, play, visit. That is where they go for entertainment," Seiler said. 

And what does a sitting congresswoman from the city with enormous traffic challenges think?

"It was very modern and calming," U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., said. "No road rage and you can do your work. I have a lot of work to do. You can read. It was wonderful."

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