Brightline Ridership Number-Crunching and Analysis

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

Brian_tampa

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Sep 5, 2012
Messages
274
Is real estate income accounted any where or is that a separate item?
This is just for Brightline revenue from ridership (and maybe stations?). Real estate is a separate LLC. The bonds were sold only for the passenger rail service, specifically the south segment between Miami and WPB. Any real estate revenue might be hard to come by as each building might have a different LLC for its development.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Anderson

Conductor
Joined
Nov 16, 2010
Messages
9,554
Ah, hell...the paper mangled the numbers. I'll revise my analysis in an hour or two.
 

Anderson

Conductor
Joined
Nov 16, 2010
Messages
9,554
Ok, let's take another swing at this now that we have actual numbers in front of us:

Ridership has been indicated at 106,090 (versus the estimate of 106,200). This is basically a rounding error. Revenue was indicated at $1,143,000 (versus the estimate of $1,142,000). This is, in fact, probably an /actual/ rounding error given that it's down to a single count of the base unit of measurement (that is, $1000).

PPR was $10.77 for Q2; my comments earlier of $12.50-13.40 for June hold at this rate, and as a result so do my original notes about revenue trends and so on.

"Other revenue" is interesting. I forget when Brightline started charging for parking, but Brightline is bringing in $3.69/passenger under this column (which presumably includes F&B, both on-board and at-station, as well as parking). Interesting, "cost of sales" did increase, but substantially slower than otherwise.

Am not sure what falls under "miscellaneous income"; best guess is that it includes some stuff like interest on cash balances and the like.

If we eject depreciation/amortization from the calculation (their inclusion is dubious IMO), the net loss goes from $28.34m to $21.82m, a substantial improvement on Q1's (similarly-adjusted) $24.17m. Still not positive but not nearly as bad.

I am wondering how much of those first three line items (salaries/benefits, professional fees, and G&A/other) are/were tied up in construction and what the picture will look like once that isn't nearly as big of a "thing", since for all I can tell "Brightline Trains LLC" covers both PBI-MIA, MCO-PBI, and any putative projects TPA-MCO and/or JAX-PBI.

Edit: Something else which gives me a mild headache: Total expenses given are $27.55m, but restricted cash decreased by $35m while PPI increased by $55m. There was, materially, no change to long-term debt. Members' equity also increased by about $5m in the midst of this. I only took introductory accounting, but I am really getting a headache trying to sort through this and I'd like to brainstorm explanations with somebody if possible.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Anderson

Conductor
Joined
Nov 16, 2010
Messages
9,554
Code:
Southbound 01 Oct 18
0530  1 F,   0 W,  12 Y  Last check: 0050
0600  3 F,   0 W,  10 Y  Last check: 0056
0700  2 F,   2 W,  47 Y  Last check: 0057
0800  5 F,   5 W,  37 Y  Last check: 0059
0900 13 F,   2 W,   7 Y  Last check: 0104
1000  5 F,   1 W,   9 Y  Last check: 0106
1100  2 F,   0 W,   5 Y  Last check: 0107
1200  4 F,   4 W,  11 Y  Last check: 0109
1400  1 F,   0 W,   5 Y  Last check: 0114
1500  3 F,   0 W,   1 Y  Last check: 0117
1600  2 F,   0 W,   8 Y  Last check: 0126
1700  4 F,   0 W,   9 Y  Last check: 0130
1800  2 F,   3 W,   5 Y  Last check: 0133
1900  0 F,   0 W,   5 Y  Last check: 0135
2000  0 F,   0 W,   1 Y  Last check: 0136
2100  0 F,   0 W,   3 Y  Last check: 0138
     47 F,  17 W, 175 Y

Northbound 01 Oct 18
0713  6 F,   3 W,  22 Y  Last check: 0143
0813  1 F,   3 W,   5 Y  Last check: 0144
0913  0 F,   0 W,   6 Y  Last check: 0145
1013  0 F,   0 W,   5 Y  Last check: 0146
1113  2 F,   0 W,   2 Y  Last check: 0147
1213  3 F,   0 W,   5 Y  Last check: 0148
1313  2 F,   1 W,   4 Y  Last check: 0150
1413  4 F,   0 W,   5 Y  Last check: 0150
1613  4 F,   7 W,  19 Y  Last check: 0152
1713  3 F,   2 W,  27 Y  Last check: 0153
1813  3 F,   1 W,  25 Y  Last check: 0155
1913  2 F,   2 W,   4 Y  Last check: 0156
2013  0 F,   1 W,   2 Y  Last check: 0157
2113  1 F,   2 W,   4 Y  Last check: 0158
2213  1 F,   0 W,   2 Y  Last check: 0159
2313  0 F,   0 W,   0 Y  Last check: 0200
     32 F,  22 W, 137 Y
Note: All trains showing $20/25/40
Also note that this is the first time I've load-checked a Monday.
 

Anderson

Conductor
Joined
Nov 16, 2010
Messages
9,554
I'm shunting this over here, but the Virgin Trains US (VTUS) SEC filings basically gave us probable Q3 numbers via giving us Q1-Q3 numbers (since we can back out Q1 and Q2 on already-released data).  Unfortunately, the results are a little hazy:

Code:
Interpretation 1
       Pax Revenue  Total Revenue
Q1     $  663,700   $  768,000
Q2     $1,143,000   $1,540,000
Q3     $2,947,000   $2,925,000
Total  $4,754,000   $5,233,000
	Interpretation 2
       Pax Revenue  Total Revenue
Q1     $  663,700   $  768,000
Q2     $1,143,000   $1,540,000
Q3     $1,835,000** $2,446,000
Total  $3,642,000** $4,754,000
In interpetation 1, "passenger and customer related revenue" is aligned with passenger ticket revenue in the Q1/Q2 statements.  "Total operating revenue" is aligned with ticket revenue plus "other revenue".

In interpretation 2, "passenger and customer related revenue" is aligned with the combined total and "other" is an external revenue category (probably real estate).  In this case, I'm presuming something close to 25% for ancillary revenue (Q2 was 26%, so I think we could go with 25% or 30% as a logical estimate) so that I have *something* to work with.  Thus the pax revenue numbers get a shiny pair of asterisks since I'm having to guess.

In interpretation 1, the numbers don't make sense (ancillary revenue would have to be negative during Q3), so I'm going to go with interpretation 2.  This shows a 60% increase in pax revenue in Q3 (versus Q2).  I'm not sure how I feel about that (I'm probably comfortable-but-not-thrilled since it involves three months with operation to Miami and about six weeks of near-full operation).

Code:
      Actual   Est.   %
Q1    $0.66m  $5.98m  11.05%
Q2    $1.14m  $5.98m  19.06%
Q3    $1.84m  $5.98m  30.77%
As a worthwhile point, this actually suggests that (depending on what assumptions were in play to begin with) Brightline might at least be on track to hit a sustainable revenue level.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Anderson

Conductor
Joined
Nov 16, 2010
Messages
9,554
Ok, looking at the October numbers, ridership is just over 60,000 while revenue is at $1.0m for the quarter.  I would guess this puts Brightline on track to bring in somewhere between $3.5m and $4.5m for the quarter (depending on the trend and how the holiday interacts with everything).  Were the number to stay stagnant, Q4 ridership would be about 180,000:

Q1: 74,780
Q2: 106,090
Q3: Not yet declared, but probably around 120-140k.
Q4: 180,000 per October.

That'll probably put first-year ridership in the range of 480-550k; it probably also puts Brightline on course for ridership in the range of no less than 800-1,000k next year presuming a shallow slope (and no increase for the rest of Q4...something I can't really take a stab at given the presence of the holidays).

PPR is still looking like a sticky point.  At $12.50/pax in ticket revenue and another $4 in ancillary revenue, ridership would need to be something like 5.4m/yr to cover costs (I'm ignoring depreciation in this calculation), though I would note that I'm really wondering what's buried under G&A and whether those expense lines will drop off once construction wraps on the whole project.
 

chrsjrcj

OBS Chief
Joined
Mar 24, 2011
Messages
806
Wow. Much higher than October, and it looks like Q4 will exceed Anderson’s estimates. I wonder if they include the Polar Express in the ridership numbers?
 

Anderson

Conductor
Joined
Nov 16, 2010
Messages
9,554
I presume they did.  There's no reason to "sandbag" the numbers by excluding them (though to be fair, if disclosure were .  Each Polar Express train is two trainsets together, so you've got 480 riders times six runs per day times five days in November giving a maximum of 14,400 tickets sold.  Only two of those trains list as having sold out, but beyond that I don't know about ridership.  Bearing in mind that there is also the loss of some additional weekend trains to consider, I suspect the impact was no more than 10,000 riders in November.

So, since ridership was around 60,000 for October and 80,000 for November, I'd put quarterly ridership somewhere between 210,000 and 240,000 depending on whether ridership in November was a blip due to the holiday or reflects a trend.  NB that Brightline is now pumping Lyft to link between the stations in Fort Lauderdale and Miami and the relevant airports, so that can't help but help.



 
 

Anderson

Conductor
Joined
Nov 16, 2010
Messages
9,554
Code:
Southbound 08 Dec 18
0800  15 F,  11 W,  86 Y  Last check: 0037 (12/08)
1000  46 F,  30 W, 152 Y  Last check: 0040 (12/08)
1200  38 F,  36 W, 131 Y  Last check: 0057 (12/08)
1400  12 F,  17 W,  77 Y  Last check: 0103 (12/08)
1600  17 F,  33 W,  64 Y  Last check: 0105 (12/08)
1800  15 F,  11 W,  34 Y  Last check: 0107 (12/08)
2000   3 F,   7 W,  18 Y  Last check: 0108 (12/08)
2200  17 F,  11 W,  15 Y  Last check: 0109 (12/08)
     163 F, 156 W, 577 Y
	
Northbound 08 Dec 18
1013  21 F,  17 W,  82 Y  Last check: 0136 (12/08)
1213   7 F,  29 W,  19 Y  Last check: 0140 (12/08)
1413  30 F,  10 W,  27 Y  Last check: 0144 (12/08)
1613  15 F,  24 W,  83 Y  Last check: 0149 (12/08)
1813  22 F,  23 W,  84 Y  Last check: 0154 (12/08)
2028  11 F,  22 W,  90 Y  Last check: 0157 (12/08)
2213  11 F,  26 W,  61 Y  Last check: 0201 (12/08)
2343  14 F,   7 W,  46 Y  Last check: 0203 (12/08)
     131 F, 158 W, 492 Y
Notes:
-I couldn't generate a seat assignment on the 1000 SB train in Y.  Given the fact that W and F were almost sold out, my guess is that Y is sold out aiside from a wheelchair space.
-Ditto W on the 1200.
-Several trains seem to have 40 seats given over to W instead of 32 (the second set of tables in the middle of the car is switched over).
-As a direct comparison vs September, a similar-time load check provided the following:

Code:
22 Sep 18     114 F, 115 W, 363 Y
08 Dec 18    163 F, 156 W, 577 Y

22 Sep 18     104 F, 120 W, 391 Y
08 Dec 18    131 F, 158 W, 492 Y
Southbound ridership is up a bit over 50% vs. September.  Northbound ridership is up 27%, quite the disparity.  I would also note that I am seeing slightly more aggressive load pricing for Y now (Y's lowest bucket has been bumped to $17 for the full trip, up from $15 (and $10 before that); the highest bucket appears to be $35), though F seems to be mostly unchanged.
 

Anderson

Conductor
Joined
Nov 16, 2010
Messages
9,554
Code:
      Ridership    Ticket Revenue    PPR    Ancillary Revenue
18Q1     74,780   $  664,000    $ 8.80    $  104,000 ($1.39)
18Q2    106,090   $1,143,000    $10.77    $  392,000 ($3.69)
18Q3    159,586   $2,296,000    $14.39    $  634,000 ($3.97)
===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== =====
18Q4-A  200,000   $3,000,000    $15.00    $  800,000 ($4.00)
18Q4-B  220,000   $3,630,000    $16.50    $  880,000 ($4.00)
18Q4-C  220,000   $3,960,000    $18.00    $  880,000 ($4.00)
18Q4-D  220,000   $4,290,000    $19.50    $  880,000 ($4.00)
18Q4-E  240,000   $4,320,000    $18.00    $  960,000 ($4.00)
18Q4-F  240,000   $4,800,000    $20.00    $  960,000 ($4.00)
Projection A presumes that December "returns to form" and that November was a deviation with its ridership growth.  It also makes a low estimate on PPR (barely above Q3).

Projection B presumes that December follows in the footsteps of November and presumes an additional 10% increase in PPR.  C and D use additional bumps in PPR of 20% and 30%.

Projections E and F presume that ridership in December grows again.  They also post PPR growth (20% and about 35%, respectively).

My personal guess is D.  Christmas is going to play hell with the timetables but the Polar Express trains are going to help offset that with a solid slug of "premium" revenue.  I'm hard-pressed to see them adding another 20k pax month-over-month in that context.

Code:
Actual Ticket Revenue vs Estimates
      Actual   Est.   %
Q1    $0.66m  $5.98m  11.05%
Q2    $1.14m  $5.98m  19.06%
Q3    $2.29m  $5.98m  38.29%
Q4-Low$3.00m  $5.98m  50.17%
Q4-Hi $4.80m  $5.98m  80.27%
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Anderson

Conductor
Joined
Nov 16, 2010
Messages
9,554
Code:
Southbound 10 Jan 19
0500  0 F,  0 W,  13 Y  Last check: 0423/0447
0600  2 F,  1 W,  21 Y  Last check: 0426
0630  2 F,  2 W,  29 Y  Last check: 0428
0700  3 F,  3 W,  48 Y  Last check: 0430
0730  5 F,  6 W,  31 Y  Last check: 0431
0830  8 F,  3 W,  40 Y  Last check: 0433
0930  7 F,  7 W,  24 Y  Last check: 0435
1030  4 F,  1 W,  22 Y  Last check: 0436
1130  7 F, 11 W,  15 Y  Last check: 0438
1330  8 F,  0 W,   4 Y  Last check: 0439
1430  3 F,  3 W,  22 Y  Last check: 0441
1530  4 F, 14 W,  17 Y  Last check: 0442
1630 32 F, 32 W,  98 Y  Last check: 0444
1730 25 F, 24 W,  56 Y  Last check: 0446
1830  2 F,  0 W,  11 Y  Last check: 0448
1930  2 F,  1 W,   4 Y  Last check: 0450
2130  5 F,  4 W,   2 Y  Last check: 0451
    119 F, 112 W, 457 Y
	Northbound 10 Jan 19
0640  3 F,  0 W,  22 Y  Last check: 0456
0740  2 F,  4 W,  29 Y  Last check: 0458
0840  3 F,  5 W,   9 Y  Last check: 0500
0940  4 F,  5 W,  15 Y  Last check: 0501
1040  5 F,  0 W,  20 Y  Last check: 0502
1140  7 F,  5 W,   6 Y  Last check: 0503
1240  2 F,  6 W,   7 Y  Last check: 0506
1340  2 F,  2 W,   8 Y  Last check: 0507
1540  8 F,  7 W,  41 Y  Last check: 0509
1640  8 F,  5 W,  33 Y  Last check: 0510
1710  3 F,  0 W,  24 Y  Last check: 0512
1740  5 F,  5 W,  24 Y  Last check: 0513
1840  0 F,  2 W,  23 Y  Last check: 0515
1940  0 F,  0 W,   6 Y  Last check: 0516
2040  3 F,  1 W,   4 Y  Last check: 0518
2210 12 F, 27 W, 114 Y  Last check: 0520
2310 11 F,  2 W,  65 Y  Last check: 0522
     78 F, 76 W, 450 Y
NB The southbound 1630 train shows no option to choose SmartPlus.  Based on the rest of the train's ridership data, I suspect it is simply sold out.

Also note that there is a Miami Heat game at 1900 tonight (the 1730 train will get you to Miami before the game, but it's a little tight; the 1630 train is probably a safer bet and allows for grabbing a bite before the game).  Going by a 2:15 game length, the game should wrap around 2115...so the 2210 train is probably a safe bet for returning home, with some folks clearly opting for the later train "just to be safe" and/or to grab a drink or two after the game.  Likewise, I have little doubt that some folks are "winging it" on their return ticket.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Anderson

Conductor
Joined
Nov 16, 2010
Messages
9,554
Another point unrelated to the above: Looking at Brightline's ancillary revenue projections, loosely that comes to about $15-16m/yr plus about $6.50/passenger.  This isn't a perfect fit (that fixed income per year amount declines slightly in the first few years before slowly rising thereafter...the latter trend making sense as an inflation-adjusted item) but it's "close enough".

Now, whether that $15-16m is supposed to be from rental income, Tri-Rail access fees, both, or some mix of those and something else is anybody's guess.

Edit: A further observation that should be noted: In Q3, the growth of ancillary revenue on a per-passenger basis slowed substantially.  This happened alongside the introduction of SmartPlus, and I do not think that is an accident.  SmartPlus generally adds $5 to the ticket price but also effectively moves the F&B revenue for those pax from an on-board transaction to a ticket purchase transaction.  Going by the above numbers for today and taking them as representative, SmartPlus currently accounts for 16.3% of southbound pax and 12.6% of northbound pax...so you're theoretically moving $0.63-0.81 per passenger from ancillary revenue to ticket revenue.  Obviously, I don't think this is quite an accurate depiction since that pre-purchase will affect consumer behavior in various ways and it doesn't account for pax who don't get the drink/snack, but I think you could make a solid case for somewhere in the ballpark of 1/4-1/2 of that being "shifted" while the rest is induced revenue (albeit with some COGS that would normally be applied to ancillary revenue thrown in).  Note that some of the induced revenue is not just from encouraging folks to pay an extra $5 up front, it is also from the OBS being able to cover more pax because up to 32 (and I think sometimes 40; I think there have probably been a few trains where they've converted an additional pair of tables to SmartPlus) have paid in advance and thus don't require running credit cards.

Another edit, for further analysis on overall ridership trends:

As a note, I was able to run a very similar load check on 25 September between 0400 and 0500.  Total SB load at that point was 45 F, 23 W, 259 Y; NB load was 49 F, 22 W, 258 Y.

A back-of-the-envelope adjustment for traffic to/from the Heat game pulls about 40 F, 40 W, and 140 Y pax out of the mix SB and 20 F, 25 W, and 160 Y out NB.  Note that I am very much more comfortable with the NB estimates as things stand (there are only two relevant trains and traffic has tended to be thin at that hour) than with the SB trains (which potentially include reverse-commute traffic).

Not recalling when the accident was that damaged that car, however, it seems that the "large block of sold-out seats" on two of the trains that day may have been due to the car being damaged (with the train doing a round-trip) rather than "actual" seat sales.

Code:
Southbound
25 Sep 18 Unadjusted    45 F,  23 W,  259 Y
10 Jan 19 Unadjusted   119 F, 112 W,  457 Y
10 Jan 19 Adjustments  -40 F, -40 W, -140 Y
10 Jan 19 Adjusted      79 F,  72 W,  317 Y
Northbound
25 Sep 18 Unadjusted    49 F,  22 W,  258 Y
10 Jan 19 Unadjusted    78 F,  76 W,  450 Y
10 Jan 19 Adjustments  -20 F, -25 W, -160 Y
10 Jan 19 Adjusted      58 F,  51 W,  290 Y
Net of the Heat game, overall ridership seems to be up by about 43% southbound and 21% northbound over the last few months.  I'd need more data to definitively peg various effects and changes, however.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Brian_tampa

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Sep 5, 2012
Messages
274
December ridership and revenue report out yesterday. Almost 240k riders for Q4 2018.

December 2018 Ridership and Revenue Results 
 
For the month ended December 31, 2018, we carried a total of 98,076 passengers and generated total 
revenue of approximately $2.2 million. 
Brightline continued to demonstrate a strong increase in ridership and revenue during December. 
Ridership increased 22% over November as a result of growth across all customer segments as well as 
ridership on holiday season event trains. Excluding holiday season event trains in November and 
December, ridership increased approximately five percent month over month. Total revenue increased 
47% over November due to ridership growth as well as growth in ancillary revenue. 
Brightline is proud to have served south Florida with over 579 thousand rides in 2018 and we are grateful 
for the enthusiastic support from guests during our first year of service.
 

Anderson

Conductor
Joined
Nov 16, 2010
Messages
9,554
1@Brian_tampa[/USER] Could we get a link to the source for that?

As to the numbers, here's what we have:
October: 60,013 riders, $1.0m revenue
November: 80,660 riders, $1.5m revenue
December: 98,076 riders, $2.2m revenue

Total: 238,749 riders, $4.7m revenue

I can't speak to exact details, but it feels as though we ended up with option "C" being the closest to the mark.  The situation with weekend ridership will be interesting to see going into January...Brightline cites "seasonal event trains" as part of the growth, but invariably some of that came at the expense of weekend ridership due to equipment requirements, so things are a bit funky there.  Noting that there were "normal" operations for the first weekend-and-a-half of November, the adjustment to a 5% rise in ridership probably"actually" translates into about 6%.

Unfortunately, Brightline redid their website this week, and I'm still getting used to running load checks on the new site.

 
Last edited by a moderator:

Anderson

Conductor
Joined
Nov 16, 2010
Messages
9,554
1@Brian_tampa[/USER] I've seen that stuff before.  What I was hoping for was a link to the December release.

 

Brian_tampa

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Sep 5, 2012
Messages
274
If you are using the link I sent previously, click on the accept button then click on the financial disclosures tab for the Brightline bond issue. There you will find all of the financial and construction update documents since the PAB's were issued. If want the specific link to the pdf document for Q4 financials here it is:

Edit: this is the pdf link

https://emma.msrb.org/ES1233106-ES963090-ES1363983.pdf
 
Last edited by a moderator:

chrsjrcj

OBS Chief
Joined
Mar 24, 2011
Messages
806
January Ridership/Revenue totals:

For the month ended January 31, 2019, we carried a total of 73,568 passengers and generated total revenue of approximately $1.7 million. During the month, Virgin Trains continued to experience monthover-month growth in ridership excluding the impact of December’s high number of holiday event-related trips, while also achieving growth in average paid fares as we continue to ramp up both ridership and effective pricing. We expect current trends to drive strong ridership and revenue growth in the year ahead.
https://emma.msrb.org/ES1244061-ES972359-ES1373364.pdf
 

Anderson

Conductor
Joined
Nov 16, 2010
Messages
9,554
Just noodling this:
-I'm not surprised about the shuffle in ridership, but I am a little bit surprised that the "holiday specials" accounted for 25k riders.
-Going from October, the ridership increase is 22% over three months (or a rate of increase of about 5% per month per month).
-Particularly interesting: PPR appears to be up in January vs. December ($23.11 vs $22.43).  Some of this may be down to only having two significant figures on the revenue side, but it still seems to be an increase.
--The trend here is particularly pronounced vs. October.  The rate of increase is about 8.5% per month per month.

And of course, I'm wondering when the food court, etc. will be done at MiamiCentral.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Anderson

Conductor
Joined
Nov 16, 2010
Messages
9,554
Monthly Ridership Tracking
Code:
      2018    2019   2020
Jan  17,783  73,568
Feb  24,098  78,707
Mar  32,899
Apr  ??????
May  ??????
Jun  ??????
Jul         
Aug         
Sep         
Oct  60,013
Nov  80,660
Dec  98,076
Average daily ridership
Code:
      2018    2019   2020
Jan   935.9  2373.2
Feb   860.6  2811.0
Mar  1061.3  
Apr  
May  
Jun  
Jul  
Aug  
Sep  
Oct  1935.9
Nov  2688.7
Dec  3163.7
I can't find monthly numbers for April-September of last year. Once we get March's data (probably in 2-3 weeks), I'll try to check out another quarter's data. For a quick note, February 2019 is not really comparable to February 2018 (Miami wasn't in the mix yet in 2018 and service was a lot thinner). However, I would compare it to October 2018 and note that the trend is strong there.

I'm going to take a stab for now, however, at Q1 2019:

18Q1: 74,780
18Q2: 106,090
18Q3: 159,568
18Q4: 238,749

19Q1: 239,416

A low case would drop the numbers back to where they were in January or keep them in line with February. The former seems highly unlikely and the latter somewhat unlikely. I think a moderate case would keep them flat vis-a-vis February's daily rate (2811/day) and that gives 87,141 riders. A high case would go up by another 10% (3092/day) and give 95,855 riders. I'm going with the middle case above (February feels slightly ahead of trend) but I think I may overshoot slightly. I'd put the number somewhere around 84,000 (in line with the monthly rate increase of 7% that held October-January). This puts this quarter's ridership roughly at the same level as last quarter's ridership (give or take), but without the Christmas trains driving a spike.

A brief note on the dangers of trend extrapolation: Were the 7% trend to hold indefinitely, we would exceed capacity next summer. That trend line probably cannot hold beyond the end of this year (if it even holds that long), but it seems useful for now.
 
Joined
Oct 16, 2013
Messages
6
The Miami Herald had an interesting article with some good tidbits of information on Brightline (albeit with some pieces of poor math and misunderstanding):
https://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/article227318879.html

A few interesting notes:
  • March 2019 ridership was 90,000 (no revenues mentioned)
  • Brightline will promote its rebranding to Virgin tomorrow (Thursday)
  • Expansion to Jacksonville was mentioned; I know this plan has been mentioned in this forum recently but I have not read those plans in any recent news articles and I found it notably absent from the IPO prospectus
  • One bondholder, Nuveen Asset Management, owns $505MM of the $600MM outstanding issued bonds
  • The March 21st bond prospectus reportedly discussed three possible scenarios for Brightline:
  1. 2.1MM riders in 2019 at $25 per rider, losing $15MM in 2019 but earning $49MM in 2020.
  2. 2.1MM riders in 2019 at $16 per rider, losing $34MM in 2019 but earning $5MM in 2020.
  3. 1.4MM riders in 2019 at $25 per rider, losing $36MM in 2019 but earning $5MM in 2020.
Given Q1 is around 240,000 riders, I would think hitting even the third scenario would be very optimistic. It would be interesting if Brightline were to even entertain lowering prices congruent with their second scenario.
 

Anderson

Conductor
Joined
Nov 16, 2010
Messages
9,554
Let's plug 90k riders in March into the above figures. That gives us 2903 pax/day. That is a bit above the 7% trendline that I identified earlier. 1.4m would, in fact, be reasonably "on trend" with that (a quick tally gives 1.29-1.31m riders on that trend).

The site is not letting me upload the Excel file I generated, but I checked trend-lines for each rate of increase in average daily ridership, dating from October. 2903 is very close to the 8.5% trend-line of 2910.93. We've spent four of the last five months above the trend but I cannot do that much with November and December because of the Christmas trains.

If I were to revise to an 8% trendline, that would place ridership for the year at 1.41m. Revised to an 8.5% trendline you get 1.47m. So the 1.4m projection isn't unrealistic given ridership trends as of late.

Edit: Also, reading the Miami Herald article, those numbers are in line with my observations (including the higher ridership on the SB mid-morning train than the earlier NB train). However, it should be noted that they went with a reverse-flow train off-peak out of Miami. They literally picked the worst NB train before mid-afternoon (and arguably those trains are a bit better than my observations allowed for in January since I was stuck with overnight-only data records). For the record, I don't think this is bad reporting...it is just an unfortunate choice of train. If they had gone with either of the earlier train pairs, they would have found substantially more pax in both directions. They drew a train out of a hat and I could have told them what they would find.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Oct 16, 2013
Messages
6
Interesting, good insight Anderson. I've been thinking more in terms of additive increases rather than percentage increases; as ridership numbers go up, I would imagine the 7%-8.5% percentage growth would eventually become unsustainable. However, as you've indicated, the percentage growth trendline is still holding which is a good sign.

You noted one of my qualms with the article with the reporter going on reverse-flow trains at off peak times. My other two qualms with the article were around their analysis that January and February ridership fell below the adjusted November and December ridership results (I think they did not know that the Polar Express train also accounted for ridership in November as well) and then also on the reporter's analysis of driving versus taking the train-- the reporter mentioned the costs of parking to take the train but oddly failed to acknowledge the cost of parking when driving. Overall-- as the title implied-- the reporter seemed to have a bit of a bias in writing this article. Thankfully, the promising bond news and rebranding information today will offset the negative news articles.
 
2
Group Builder
Top