Miami-Orlando by train for under $100
Written by Samantha Joseph on August 28, 2013
Passengers boarding Florida East Coast Industries’ intercity passenger rail service are likely to pay less than $100 for a trip from Miami to Orlando.
The rail line is still determining pricing, but the average trip between these cities will cost about $85, with passengers paying just over $20 from Miami to West Palm Beach, according to Rusty Roberts, vice president of corporate development.
Florida East Coast Industries will offer the service through its subsidiary, All Aboard Florida. Executives say it will be the first time a private company will offer intercity passenger rail service without public funds. It is to use 32 trains offering three-hour trips between Miami and Orlando, with stops in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.
The trains will run on tracks laid by Henry Flagler’s Florida East Coast Railway company and not used for passenger service since 1968. They’ll call into Flagler’s former Miami center, a nine-acre site.
The trains will be less than 1,000 feet long, have two locomotives and seven passenger cars, and clear intersections in less than one minute, Mr. Roberts said. They’ll offer hourly service starting around 6 a.m. with final departures at about 8 p.m., he said.
Based on rail curvature and other factors, he said, the trains will travel at speeds of up to 79 miles per hour between Miami and Palm Beach, accelerate to about 110 mph between Miami and Cocoa Beach, then reach speeds of about 125 mph when approaching Orlando. They will offer business- and coach-class services, Wi-Fi and gourmet meals.
“We have to compete with airlines that fly from Miami to Orlando,” Mr. Roberts told members of the Miami Beach Taxpayers Association and the Miami Beach Tuesday Morning Breakfast Club during a presentation Tuesday.
All Aboard Florida won’t position itself as a commuter service, competing with Tri-Rail for residents traveling to work, he said. Instead, it plans to target the 94 million visitors who come to Orlando and Miami each year. One study found these visitors made about 50 million trips each year between Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Orlando.
“The two most visited cities in America are Orlando and Miami. We should connect those cities…,” Mr. Roberts said. “We found about 50 million opportunities to grab a passenger and put them on our trains.”
About 51% of passengers are likely to be leisure travelers in groups or alone, according to company projections, while about 25% will be families and the rest business travelers.