Brightline Florida update

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cirdan

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I think I DO know what the cause of delays on Brightline are. I think the majority is the inability to disembark and load passengers efficiently. When I rode, people sat in their seats until the train came to a full stop. This made folks on the platform think that no one was getting off. So they board and when the folks getting off are finally ready to get out, there's congestion and confusion in the vestibule. It's a cultural thing, I think - as many Americans aren't used to fast-turnaround loading and unloading on non-commuter type trains.
Maybe a solution here would be a passenger flow system, a bit like in the old PCC streetcars, in which passengers board at one door and disembark at the other so you never get a counterflow in the aisle. Or as you get on many urban buses for that matter.

Just a crazy idea.
 

bonzoesc

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I think I DO know what the cause of delays on Brightline are. I think the majority is the inability to disembark and load passengers efficiently. When I rode, people sat in their seats until the train came to a full stop. This made folks on the platform think that no one was getting off. So they board and when the folks getting off are finally ready to get out, there's congestion and confusion in the vestibule. It's a cultural thing, I think - as many Americans aren't used to fast-turnaround loading and unloading on non-commuter type trains.
My flight to Miami last week had an FA on the PA telling people to sit back down while we were still a few dozen feet from the terminal, and I can't imagine there are many Brightline passengers who haven't had that same experience.

I got a confused look from a few people on the Metrorail yesterday for choosing to stand up (under the cold air vent by the middle doors) for a two stop ride instead of sitting down, too.
 

west point

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OTP not good? Is there any construction areas that have some slow orders? Especially the additional stations being built. As of now there is only one intermediate station which is Ft Lauderdale at present. Is Brightline expecting that FTL may change after full operation so is not doing anything now to speed up station dwell?
 

daybeers

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OTP is not an issue I've heard with Brightline; interesting that they're sometimes 15-20 minutes late! That's too bad and seems easily avoided.
 

cirdan

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If the Ft Lauderdale stop is the problem, this doesn't bode well for the future, with many further intermediate stops being added. Brightline needs to get any avoidable delays sorted asap.
 

jis

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It would be interesting to see if Brightline can get laid back Floridians to start behaving like snappy North Easterners on the NEC :) Or instead they will accommodate by loosening their schedules some. An interesting sociological experiment.
 

cirdan

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It would be interesting to see if Brightline can get laid back Floridians to start behaving like snappy North Easterners on the NEC :) Or instead they will accommodate by loosening their schedules some. An interesting sociological experiment.
The more they need to loosen their schedule, the greater the penalty of adding intermediate stops. I wonder if the envisaged journey times will be feasible at all.
 

joelkfla

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I don't know whether holding boarding passengers back would be a net gain or a net loss, given the time to walk to the cars. I haven't been to FTL, but IIRC there wasn't a lot of space at the bottom of the escalator at WPB, so they'd either need to hold them at the top, or cordon off an area on the platform.
 

jis

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The more they need to loosen their schedule, the greater the penalty of adding intermediate stops. I wonder if the envisaged journey times will be feasible at all.
Since most likely not all trains will stop at all intermediate stops this issue may not be as severe as one could think it is. I think it will be a miracle if they can stick to the promised 3 hours between Miami and Orlando. They are yet to achieve the promised one hour schedule between Miami and WPB AFAICT.

In my experience all this boarding coutnerflow etc. is not the problem. The problem is that people disembarking decide to get up from their seats three minutes after the train comes to a stop, following the standard Florida laid back protocol. If you do not try to hurry them off the train and just hold boarding passengers off instead, all that will happen is that they will rise from their seats 6 minutes after arrival :D

I don't know whether holding boarding passengers back would be a net gain or a net loss, given the time to walk to the cars. I haven't been to FTL, but IIRC there wasn't a lot of space at the bottom of the escalator at WPB, so they'd either need to hold them at the top, or cordon off an area on the platform.
I think holding departing passengers at the escalators would be a net loss. The platforms are plenty wide and the car and door positions are marked on the platform and the whole idea is to have the boarding passengers ready and positioned to board before arrival. They could manage the flow within the car possibly by assigning boarding doors in the ticket, but beyond that the problem is getting disembarking passengers out of their seats before or by the time the train comes to a stop and not a few minutes after that.
 
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cirdan

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Since most likely not all trains will stop at all intermediate stops this issue may not be as severe as one could think it is. I think it will be a miracle if they can stick to the promised 3 hours between Miami and Orlando. They are yet to achieve the promised one hour schedule between Miami and WPB AFAICT.

I've said this before but I think it could be quite damaging if select trains started skipping stops. Right now headways are pretty much hourly with trains calling at the same minute past the hour which makes it easy to memorize schedules. If you start breaking through that you get all sorts of ugly and complicated things happening. It would also mean passengers using those stops would lose service and passengers going from one intermediate stop to another might have complicated connections, all of which would reduce overall attractiveness.

Maybe if you start running a second service in parallel as a faster service rather than cannibalizing the existing service, this might work. But There won't be enough trains for that.
 

jis

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And I have been saying all along that they will not make the marketing 3 hour number. So whether they miss it by 10 minutes or 20 minutes won't matter that much.

Initially there will be a single hourly service and they will make about four stops on the way. Stops other than Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach won't really have as much ridership at the Brightline fares. Those stations will have much higher ridership on the TriRail service.
 
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west point

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Delays getting off may be a passnger memory problem. Arlines always tell passengers to remain seated until arriving at gate, So many passengers will not feel train stopping with a good engineer. Hey no train person said we have arrived. Did not realize it before when`I know station is close I get up, gather belongings. Often am one of first to get off even even when sitting in middle or non exiting end.

EDIT: Of course there are those who should not get up until they are certain train has stopped.
 
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Brian_tampa

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The latest FDFC board meeting was held yesterday to authorize Brightline to sell up to $1B in private activity bonds for phase 2 only. The authorization was approved. Up to $500M for new money and $500M for refunded money.

I have attached the meeting document which includes many interesting bits of info. Especially pages 81-91 of the pdf document which describes in some detail current and future plans.

There is an organization chart just before this section that clearly shows the relationships between all BL companies and affiliates.

Of note, they mention speeds in excess of 150mph for the Orlando to Tampa segment. So maybe they are aiming for greater than just 150?

Also they have 2025 ridership projections for the Orlando to Miami route. About 2.3M (Edit) 4.3M riders between Orlando and South Florida, over 3.5M for within South Florida destinations.
 

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  • FDFC 08-08-22 Board Packet.pdf
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Sauve850

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It's easy to maintain schedule with max speeds, if you don't have external influencers. Honestly, I'm quite surprised at how poorly the existing Brightline on-time performance between WPB and MIA is. Yes, there are freight trains, but they are fewer and further apart than our Amtrak Class I hosts typically are. and they control all their own dispatching. I don't look at them every day, so they could be improving. But scheduling a 25 MPH buffer into the schedule can only recoup a few minutes here and there, not the "really" late 15-20 minutes+ that you often see.

I think I DO know what the cause of delays on Brightline are. I think the majority is the inability to disembark and load passengers efficiently. When I rode, people sat in their seats until the train came to a full stop. This made folks on the platform think that no one was getting off. So they board and when the folks getting off are finally ready to get out, there's congestion and confusion in the vestibule. It's a cultural thing, I think - as many Americans aren't used to fast-turnaround loading and unloading on non-commuter type trains.
On my many rides from WPB to both Ft. Laud and Miami I have not experienced these delays.
 

joelkfla

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I don't understand. :confused:

P.27 says, "Construction of these new stations in Aventura and Boca Raton is on track to be completed and ready for operation in the fourth quarter of 2022."

P.28 says, "The platform tower will provide our passengers access to the bridge to the train station as well as the contemplated bridge to Aventura Mall. Although the platform tower is not a part of our fourth quarter 2022 completion milestone, it is expected to be completed shortly thereafter and in advance of the contractual obligation to be completed by October 2023."

If the Aventura platform tower will not be completed in 2022, how will passengers get to and from the platform when it's ready for operation in 4Q 2022?
 

Brian_tampa

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This is the first I've heard that there are plans for an APM connecting the Orlando station to Lake Nona Medical City. ("Preliminary Limited Offering Memorandum" p.38; PDF p.85)
I remember hearing of this some time ago. I always assumed it was "pie in the sky" dreaming much like the many monorail projects proposed to go from the airport to the convention center or Disney over the years. Not sure how likely this is to ever happen.
 

joelkfla

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I remember hearing of this some time ago. I always assumed it was "pie in the sky" dreaming much like the many monorail projects proposed to go from the airport to the convention center or Disney over the years. Not sure how likely this is to ever happen.
Funny, then, that Brightline would mention a practically dead project in its bond offering.
 

daybeers

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As a northeast rider, it kinda baffles me there are delays due to passengers disembarking. On any train here, there's a line halfway down the car before the train stops. Maybe because the Venture coaches are smooth and quiet? Maybe because people aren't used to quickly getting off a vehicle they're not driving (be it a plane or a train)? I just really don't understand this issue and why it exists; aren't there staff onboard that can usher people to gather their belongings and head to the end of the car earlier?

It's another world down there...
 

cirdan

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As a northeast rider, it kinda baffles me there are delays due to passengers disembarking. On any train here, there's a line halfway down the car before the train stops. Maybe because the Venture coaches are smooth and quiet? Maybe because people aren't used to quickly getting off a vehicle they're not driving (be it a plane or a train)? I just really don't understand this issue and why it exists; aren't there staff onboard that can usher people to gather their belongings and head to the end of the car earlier?

It's another world down there...
Humans are essentially herd animals.

If one or two people start getting up, others will take note and do so too. It's the same on airplanes. When the plane has reached the gate position (or people assume it has) but the cabin crew have not yet said anything, or switched off the seatbelt sign, all it takes is one or two individuals to start getting up and getting their bags out of the overhead bins and many others will follow. Ditto with removing facemasks etc etc. There are psychological experiments showing people can copy even the absurdest actions if there are sufficient others doing them already. This can be used for both positive and negative behaviors.

The NEC has a lot of seasoned riders, and any newbies will be dragged along with the flow.

Maybe it just takes time until FEC has seasoned riders too.
 

VentureForth

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Well, after spot checking a few trains (it's hard because they don't show previous day's data), it looks like OTP on Brightline has improved considerably since rebooting last year. But, the time is padded by around 12 minutes over their goal of 1 hour.

Honestly, I figured a great number of South Florida residents are NEC transplants and would be better versed in train etiquette and processes.
 

railiner

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Just took Tri Rail back from Fort Lauderdale Airport Station (Dania), to West Palm Beach, and the local Tri Rail riders seemed to gather at the doors before the train came to various stops. It was the air traveler's, with lots of bags that hung back until the doors opened, and others got off. Our train was running late due to single tracking and signal issues, but once back on the regular northbound track, we got up to full track speed, and even managed to make up about 6 minutes of the lost time...
 

AmtrakWPK

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This is the first I've heard that there are plans for an APM connecting the Orlando station to Lake Nona Medical City. ("Preliminary Limited Offering Memorandum" p.38; PDF p.85)
Intriguing. It's about 3.5 miles as the crow flies between the MCO intermodal station (at the very south end of the airport) and the medical city at Nona, or closer to 6 miles if they parallel all the existing roads. (I spent some time with Google Maps and a Florida Atlas & Gazetteer.) The Lake Nona medical city IS a pretty large and dense area of medical installations - a large NeMours Children's Hospital, a separate NeMours Children's Health Center, the UCF Medical School, a U.F. College of Pharmacy, the UCF Lake Nona Hospital, the UCF Health Sciences Library, the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences, a LabCorp facility, and the new V.A. Hospital, along with research facilities, plus non-medical businesses including several restaurants, food courts, hotels, Signature Flight Support (business headquarters). Within a mile of there they've already built a thousand+ residences, with support businesses like grocery stores, and I suspect that area will continue to expand even more - there's room, and it is directly served by the Eastern Beltway around Orlando (State Road 417 toll road) as well as some secondary roads. The various medical facilities are on the East side of the 417 - the far side of it from the airport, but all are within sight of the 417. There is an existing automated 'people mover' that uses the roads inside the Nona medical area - the size of a small bus or large van, with no driver, to shuttle folks between the various locations. A people mover that would provide airport access without having to drive to MCO and park there would be a HUGE boon to the Nona area, especially the residents. I could easily see a large 'park and fly' parking lot located somewhere close by.
 

VentureForth

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Intriguing. It's about 3.5 miles as the crow flies between the MCO intermodal station (at the very south end of the airport) and the medical city at Nona, or closer to 6 miles if they parallel all the existing roads. (I spent some time with Google Maps and a Florida Atlas & Gazetteer.) The Lake Nona medical city IS a pretty large and dense area of medical installations - a large NeMours Children's Hospital, a separate NeMours Children's Health Center, the UCF Medical School, a U.F. College of Pharmacy, the UCF Lake Nona Hospital, the UCF Health Sciences Library, the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences, a LabCorp facility, and the new V.A. Hospital, along with research facilities, plus non-medical businesses including several restaurants, food courts, hotels, Signature Flight Support (business headquarters). Within a mile of there they've already built a thousand+ residences, with support businesses like grocery stores, and I suspect that area will continue to expand even more - there's room, and it is directly served by the Eastern Beltway around Orlando (State Road 417 toll road) as well as some secondary roads. The various medical facilities are on the East side of the 417 - the far side of it from the airport, but all are within sight of the 417. There is an existing automated 'people mover' that uses the roads inside the Nona medical area - the size of a small bus or large van, with no driver, to shuttle folks between the various locations. A people mover that would provide airport access without having to drive to MCO and park there would be a HUGE boon to the Nona area, especially the residents. I could easily see a large 'park and fly' parking lot located somewhere close by.
Disney is also planning their Parks headquarters in that area. It was imminent, now pushed back a few years. But with Disney shunning Brightline, perhaps it will be used by those who appreciate it.
 

joelkfla

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There is an existing automated 'people mover' that uses the roads inside the Nona medical area - the size of a small bus or large van, with no driver, to shuttle folks between the various locations.
It's an "autonomous" road vehicle, as you said like a small van. I think the capacity was around 10, seated around the perimeter; no standees allowed. It does have a driver though, or "attendant". They don't trust it to be fully autonomous, or at least didn't when I visited last year.

The attendant parked it and pulled out from the curb at the terminals, driving with a joystick. They only trusted it to drive itself when it was out on the street, and the attendant remained ready to take control. It traveled noticeably slower than the actual APM that runs between OIA's South & North Terminals. I don't recall exactly; I think it was around 10 or 15mph. It was also quite warm; they kept the a/c on low to preserve battery power. The attendant turned it up when I commented, but it didn't make much of a difference on the short ride.

Perhaps it's become speedier and more autonomous since my visit.
 
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