Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Brightline-Virgin rail service from Orlando to Tampa could cost $35 for one-way ticket

Posted By on Tue, Nov 20, 2018 at 11:12 AM

click to enlarge PHOTO VIA BRIGHTLINE
  • Photo via Brightline
New documents filed by Virgin Trains USA, formerly known as Brightline, with the federal government shed more light onto the privately owned passenger-rail service's plan for a proposed Orlando-to-Tampa route.

The documents, filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission last week, show the company predicts the Orlando-to-Tampa route proposed along Interstate 4 could be launched as early as 2021 and cost about $35 for a one-way ticket (or about $73 for a roundtrip ticket). The trip between the two cities would be about an hour, with Virgin trains capable of going up to 125 miles per hour.

"We believe our passenger rail system offers travel that is faster, safer, more eco-friendly, more reliable, less expensive, more productive and more enjoyable than travel by car or air," the company said in the filing.

In June, Florida Gov. Rick Scott said the state Department of Transportation had received an "unsolicited proposal" to lease state property to build a high-speed train along I-4. A few days later, Brightline announced it was pursuing the Orlando-to-Tampa route outlined by Scott. Last week, Brightline announced a new partnership with British billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and a name change to "Virgin Trains USA."

  • Photo via Brightline/Virgin Trains USA

The regulatory filing submitted on Nov. 16 indicates the company's Orlando-to-Tampa expansion would carry an additional 2.9 million passengers annually and cost about $1.7 billion. The Orlando station will be located at the Orlando International Airport's south terminal, and while the location of the Tampa station has not been disclosed, the company indicated in will be in downtown Tampa. A map filed by Virgin Trains USA also shows a potential spot for a station between Tampa and Orlando in the area near Walt Disney World.

"We have submitted a proposal with the state of Florida for a right of way required to construct the Tampa Expansion," the company said. "The state undertook a standard process to offer an opportunity for other parties to make an alternative bid for the right of way, and there were no other bidders. We will advance planning for the Tampa Expansion, and we have initiated the process of selecting potential sites for the Tampa station."

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