Despite the tragic pedestrian death on the eve of Brightline’s kickoff, riders were excited and departures ran smoothly Saturday morning.
Brightline’s first ride to Fort Lauderdale took off on time with a few glitches for customers who bought tickets at the station. But even that couldn’t stop the excitement.
Brightline high-speed rail service West Palm to Ft Lauderdale charges intro fare of $10 each way, at least until service starts to Miami, in 6-8 weeks. pic.twitter.com/HkOF8QLTtD— Tony Doris (@TonyDorisPBP) January 13, 2018
“I’ve been really anxious to ride on it,” said Matthew Litwin, of Jupiter, who rode the 8 a.m. train to Fort Lauderdale. “The day is finally here.”
The first official train ride comes hours after a woman in Boynton Beach was killed by a Brightline train.
Ready to go- first Brightline train for public about to take off pic.twitter.com/FGQbzgJrIU— Alexandra Seltzer (@alexseltzer) January 13, 2018
Boynton Beach Police identified the woman as 32-year-old Melissa Lavell. Witnesses told police that Lavell appeared to be crossing the tracks after the guard rails were in the down position in an attempt to make it across before the train came.
Some riders were aware of the incident but they said it didn’t worry them.
“[The] Tri Rail has that same problem so you know I wasn’t too surprised that was going to happen,” said Litwin.
Lantana resident Elena Postal said she wasn’t too concerned either.
“I think people will always do stupid things and that’s a risk and it doesn’t look good from a PR standpoint but you can’t argue the laws of physics. If you put yourself in front of a train, there’s danger. There’s a risk.”
Brightline cars easy for disabled, with wide aisles and bathrooms and ‘retractable tongue’ ramp for level, gap-less boarding. pic.twitter.com/H848fBcY47— Tony Doris (@TonyDorisPBP) January 13, 2018
According to Brightline’s website, tickets for departing trains this afternoon from West Palm are sold out. The next available train to Fort Lauderdale is at 6:30p.m.