A dozen Palm Beach Post reporters spent more than 29 hours riding Brightline’s trains and waiting at its stations to get a handle on how many people are riding the new passenger rail service. After 44 train rides, including one in every time slot offered by the passenger service, here’s what Post reporters say riders need to know:
Two classes of service: Each train has three Smart coach cars and one Select coach car. The Select cars feature larger seats and complimentary food and beverages. After 3 p.m. on weekdays and after 11 a.m. on weekends, Select passengers also get one free alcoholic beverage on the train. Smart-car travelers can buy food and beverage items.
Free snacks: Passengers with a Select ticket also get access to the business lounge at each of Brightline’s station. The lounges feature free snacks and drinks, including sodas, water, coffee and tea. Snacks include Luna bars and potato chips. Pastries are also available for morning passengers.
Cost: Introductory fares are $10 each way for a seat in one of Brightline’s Smart Service cars. One-way tickets for a Select seat cost $15 or $20, depending on the time of day.
Children receive a discount: Tickets for children 12 and under are discounted by 50 percent. Seniors, active military and veterans get a 10 percent discount.
Play areas for kids: Both of Brightline’s stations features a children’s play area with large foam building blocks.
Cashless stations: Make sure you have a credit card to buy a ticket or food and drinks in stations or on trains — Customers can’t pay with cash.
Pet-friendly: The company allows one cat or dog to travel with you per ticket. A pet can ride in a coach luggage tower, under your seat or on your lap for free. Both stations have outdoor pet-relief areas.
The bathrooms! They are big! There are four bathrooms on each train, and they are all ADA compliant. Each has a built-in changing area for children as well hooks for bags and coats. Both the trains and the stations feature touch-less sinks with faucets that both wash and dry your hands.
Bring your phone and laptop chargers: There are USB jacks and electrical outlets throughout the station and on the company’s trains to keep your devices fully charged.
Fast security check: You can clear security in a matter of seconds, even if you have a bag. Brightline’s security checkpoint is designed to be quick. You can pass through the security gates with your cell phone and keys.
You can bring your bike: Bike racks are available on the trains and at the stations.
Taking a late night train? The lighting in the Select car dims during late night trips. The lighting in the Smart cars does not change.
All of the stations smell the same — on purpose: Brightline created a fresh, clean scent for all of its stations. The lemon-like smell is one of the first things you notice when you enter.
Horns that roar: Each Brightline train has two locomotives (one on each end of the train) and four passenger cars. If you are sitting in the first car behind the locomotive that is pulling the train, chances are you’ll be able to hear the horn sounding at every crossing along the company’s route.
Travel to airport: The stations are not within walking distance of either the Fort Lauderdale or Palm Beach airports but it’s only a short drive by cab, bus or Uber.