(PRESS RELEASE)_MIAMI, FLA. – August 10, 2021 – Brightline, the only provider of modern, eco-friendly, high-speed rail in America, announced today its plans to resume service in South Florida later this year. During a virtual media update, Brightline President Patrick Goddard detailed the company’s reopening schedule set to start the first half of November for service between Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. Goddard also outlined Brightline’s multiple service enhancements and investments, including new construction, investments in corridor infrastructure and safety, COVID protocols, community engagement, and, as the company looks to resume, the implementation of a recruitment plan that will add 200 jobs in South Florida.
Brightline’s specific date of service resumption will be announced in the weeks ahead. Before selecting a final date, 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 initiate revenue service.
“We are thrilled to be gearing up to welcome guests back aboard Brightline,” said Goddard. “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.”
Among the many service enhancements Goddard outlined is the introduction of Brightline’s new mobility as a service platform that will address guests’ first and last mile connections. Delivered in partnership with software company Iomob, the new service is intended to provide guests with full door-to-door travel service, eliminating the gaps created by the first and last miles and reducing environmental impact. It will be powered by a brand new, state-of-the-art, digital platform that will make its app experience and website completely frictionless. The new mobility service 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.
As always, Brightline’s priority remains the safety of its guests and teammates. During its hiatus, the company enlisted a Chief Health Officer (CHO), Dr. Timothy McCormick, a licensed physician with more than 25 years of experience in public health and occupational medicine. Dr. McCormick provides medical expertise and guidance for the implementation of operations, corporate and construction practices.
Among its new safety measures, Brightline will require all teammates to be fully vaccinated prior to the reintroduction of service. The company has identified and will implement a series of COVID protocols, including an almost touchless transportation system. Safety measures include increased cleaning, pre-packaged foods, touchless bathrooms, cashless payment and electronic tickets. Per the existing federal mandate, teammates and guests will be required to wear masks in stations and on board all trains. Brightline features reserved seating, and the private four-person table configurations within each coach have plexiglass dividers, providing increased privacy and distancing.
Twenty five percent of the air in Brightline’s coaches comes from fresh air intake ducts and gets filtered before being mixed with recirculated air, unlike airplanes where air is entirely recirculated. Brightline will also utilize 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.
In the leadup to relaunch, Brightline is working with multiple community partners to recruit for nearly 200 jobs, offering starting wages at $18 per hour. This is paired with a comprehensive total rewards package that goes beyond the standard benefits by providing its teammates with access to resources that support their professional and personal growth. Over the coming months, Brightline will be hosting career fairs throughout South Florida. Available positions can be found at www.gobrightline.com.
“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,” said Goddard. “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.”
The company is continuing its engagement with local community partners along the rail corridor and educating the communities on rail safety, mental health and sustainability. Over the next year, Brightline will invest more than $6.5 million in safety enhancements.
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. Construction to Orlando has surpassed the halfway point and is on target to be complete by the end of 2022. Moreover, discussions remain underway with local stakeholders regarding expansion to Disney and Tampa.
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