Private Rail in Florida

Goals

Provide a company profile of Brightline highlighting key executives, recent media coverage and deals, and market strategy, with a focus on the company's operations in Florida. Also provide an analysis of the company's advertising and messaging using MOAT analytics.

Provide a market analysis of private rail in Florida, focusing on customer adoption and perceptions, key market drivers, barriers preventing adoption/expansion, and the comparative cost of commuting by other means. Also provide a macro view of the potential benefits of private rail to the state of Florida and connected cities.

Early Findings

Brightline Company Profile

  • Brightline launched its service in Florida in 2018, providing private rail service that connects Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach, with planned expansion to Walt Disney World, Port Miami, Orlando, and the Ft. Lauderdale Airport.
  • The company projects that its Miami to Orlando route, which will launch in 2022, will see 6.6 million riders annually.
  • The company's Orlando station will be in the city's airport, demonstrating that part of Brightline's go to market strategy is to provide airport service and partner with airports and major airlines.
  • Another part of Brightline's strategy is to target not just commuters, but also event attendees. In March, Brightline targeted the Ultra Music Festival in Miami by offering extended service hours, playing festival-themed music on board, and trying to make the train ride part of the festival experience.
  • Brightline was in the news at the end of last year as the company's ridership was increasing every quarter, but Brightline was still losing millions of dollars every month.
  • The company made the news again in March, however, reporting that it was on track to earn $55 million in revenue in 2019, up significantly from the $10 million it earned in 2018.
  • A brief analysis of Brightline's advertisements shows that they are targeting both commuters/business travelers and tourists/leisure travelers. For example, one ad for tourists uses the tagline "From station to vacation." Another, for commuters, claims "Go express city-to-city, not bumper-to-bumper." The company also focuses its messaging on affordability, with multiple promotions and sales being advertised.

Market Analysis of Private Rail in Florida

  • Some consumers in Florida have a negative perception of private, high-speed rail due to safety concerns. Several people have already been killed by Brightline trains, which do travel at 79 mph through multiple crossings in a highly-populated area. Some consumers feel this is unsafe and not worth the potential benefits, as reported by the Sun Sentinel.
  • Overall, consumers have a positive perception of Brightline's service. The train received a 5-star rating from 90% of customers on TripAdvisor, out of 471 reviews. The company also has an average 4.3 out of 5 stars from nearly 1,000 reviews on Facebook.

Proposed next steps:

You need to be the project owner to select a next step.
As the initial research only touched on Brightline and on the private rail market in Florida, we recommend additional research to create an in-depth profile of Brightline and perform a deep-dive on the private rail market to understand the drivers and barriers in this market.
Alternatively, we can focus our research on providing a high-level overview of the private rail market in Florida, using Brightline as a relevant example as appropriate.