NEW: Brightline has big discounts for first West Palm-to-Miami weekend


Brightline will start shuttling passengers to its station in downtown Miami on Saturday, May 19, with round-trip fares starting at $6 for its grand opening weekend — a price that is competitive with the cost of a Tri-Rail ticket.

To mark the final phase of its South Florida launch, Brightline plans to slash its one-way ticket prices on May 19 and 20 to $3 for its a seat in one of the company’s regular coach cars. One-way tickets for a Select seat, Brightline’s version of first class, will cost just $5. Tickets can be purchased online at gobrightline.com.

Patrick Goddard, Brightline’s president and chief operating officer, said the company also plans to have a series of events at the Miami station to mark its grand opening, including appearances from Miami Heat players.

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“It is going to be an amazing party,” Goddard said Friday during a media event at the Miami station.

Beginning Monday, May 21, introductory one-way fares from West Palm Beach to Miami will be $15 for a regular ticket and $25 for a Select seat. Select car features more spacious seats, as well as free snacks and beverages.

One-way tickets between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale and Fort Landerdale and Miami will be $10 for regular seats and $15 for Select.

“This is introductory,” Goddard said of the ticket prices. “It will hold for awhile, but don’t sleep on them, because they aren’t going to last forever.”

In the coming weeks, Brightline plans to release prices for its monthly and annual passes, Goddard said.

Parking at the company’s stations is free. One-way trips between West Palm Beach and Miami are expected to take about an hour.

The company plans to run eight round-trip trains a day between its three South Florida stations. Eventually, that number is expected to increase to 11 daily trains, Goddard said.

The MiamiCentral station is located at 600 NW 1st Avenue in the heart of downtown Miami. It is within walking distance of the American Airlines Arena and a short shuttle ride from PortMiami and the Wynwood Arts District.

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The Miami station will also connect to two other Miami-Dade rail projects — Metromover, a 4.4-mile electrically powered transit system, and Metrorail, a 25-mile rail line with nearly two dozen stations.

By early next year, Palm Beach County residents will also be able to ride a Tri-Rail train into Brightline’s Miami station. Tri-Rail will have its own train platform at the Miami complex, an addition that will provide a cheaper alternative for riders who don’t mind making multiple stops along the route.

Tri-Rail now runs between Palm Beach County and Miami International Airport. Of the 50 daily Tri-Rail trains, 26 are expected to travel to Brightline’s station.

Brightline’s ticket prices are more expensive, but the company offers customer service that some say some say rivals Disney. Its trains are designed to be fast, stopping only at Brightline’s stations in West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami.

Tri-Rail offers lower ticket prices but makes multiple stops before it reaches the Miami station. Roundtrip tickets start at $4.40. Weekend daily passes cost $5. Discounts are available for seniors, children, students and those with disabilites.

Palm Beach County Commissioner Steven Abrams, who serves as chairman of the governing board of the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority, which operates Tri-Rail, said the Tri-Rail platform at Brightline’s station will make it easier for people living in southern Palm Beach County to get to downtown Miami.

“It provides full connectivity to all rail passengers,” Abrams said.

The Miami station is expected to become a transportation hub and shopping and entertainment destination for tourists and locals. It spans six city blocks and will eventually feature two residential towers with 800 apartments and a third tower with 190,000 square feet of office space.

VIDEO: Brightline is here. Check out what it’s like.

A 50,000-square-foot marketplace, dubbed Central Fare, is planned at the complex. The marketplace will house 20 more than eateries.

Palm Beach County leaders say Brightline’s Miami opening will be a boon for the local tourism industry. In 2017, more than 800,000 tourists from the Miami and Fort Lauderdale area traveled to Palm Beach County, according to Discover The Palm Beaches, the non-profit that markets the county as a tourist destination.

“Now that the Miami station is open, we’re confident that this train will become a game-changer for us to draw more visitors from drive markets to our South, as well as those flying in to MIA or FLL looking to visit multiple locations in Florida,” said Jorge Pesquera, Discover’s president and CEO. “This will be a wonderful way to access special exhibitions, events and entertainment activities in The Palm Beaches.”

Brightline ultimately plans to offer trips between South Florida and Orlando. Construction on the Orlando leg has not started, but Goddard said the leg is expected to open in about three years.

SPECIAL REPORT: What we learned after 44 trips on the Brightline train

Brightline officials have said its service stands out from other rail ventures because it will be privately owned, operated and maintained. The company’s trains runs on Henry Flagler’s historic rail corridor, passing through the heart of many of South Florida’s coastal cities.

Brightline’s launch this year marked the first time passenger trains have run on the Florida East Coast Railway tracks since 1968, when passenger service was discontinued following a union strike.

The company is spending $3 billion to build the rail project and stations and is investing several hundred million dollars in real estate projects in Miami and West Palm Beach.

“This is a model that is commercially viable, privately finance-able and could change the fabric of transportation in the country,” said WesEdens, the co-founder, principal and co-chief executive officer of Fortess Investment Group.

Meanwhile, the city of West Palm announced Friday morning that the quiet zone to silence train horns along Brightline’s route will begin Monday at 11:59 p.m. Trains running on tracks between 15th Street and the southern city limits will not be required to blow horns. However, horns may sound within passenger stations or rail yards in an emergency.

West Palm is the first of six cities in Palm Beach County to establish the quiet zone.



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