I want to call this to Mr. Norman's attention:
Brightline’s presentation to bond investors projected 240,000 passengers a month by 2020. Analyst Fitch Ratings calculated the company would “break even” if it attained 56 percent of that ridership forecast.
2020 Forecasts are on the WPB-MIA route alone (MCO is a "2022" thing). So that's
1.0M Passengers in 2019, basically if growth stopped right now
1.5M Passengers in 2018, if growth stalls midyear
1.6M Passengers to breakeven, according to Fitch Ratings
2.9M Passengers in 2020, in BL's forecast
Which is pretty much the kind of inflection point at which companies go public. Losing money now, breakeven soon, profitable business "in the can", very specific use (MCO extension) for IPO next round of funding.
Jadebenn wrote:I'm curious. If you treated Brightline as an Amtrak service and compared its passenger numbers to the other Amtrak trains, where would it stack up?
The numbers are similar to the Downeaster, though I don't know whether that's a decent comparison in terms of distance and traveler profile. The Downeaster achieves these numbers with only five daily round trips between Boston and Portland, ME, although I think the trains are about twice as long as the Brightliner/Virgin trains.
Brightline compares very favorably to the Downeaster (particularly given that the DE is matured and BL is still in its growth ramp). Here are some quick ratios:
DE = 550k riders in 2018
BL = 600k riders in 2018...but 239k in Q4 alone
So their 2019 is probably going to look like:
DE = 550k riders on 145 miles of track and 5x145 = 725miles of round trip each weekday
BL = 1,000k riders on 70 miles of track and 17x70 = 1190miles of round trip each weekday
DE = 750 riders per weekday round trip mile
BL = 840 riders per weekday round trip mile (about 10% better per train-mile)
If you think about labor costs, and power-by-the-hour, try riders per scheduled operating minutes
DE = 400 scheduled minutes per round trip (3h20 ...200 minutes each way)
BL = 150 scheduled minutes per round trip (1h15 ...75 minutes each way)
DE = 5 x 400 = 2000 scheduled minutes per weekday
BL = 17 x 150 = 2550 scheduled minutes per weekday
DE = 550k/2000 = 275 riders per weekday schedule minute
BL = 1000k/2550 = 392 riders per weekday schedule minute (about 40% better per scheduled weekday minute)
You could redo all the above to a crazy level of detail, but frankly rivet-counting on questions of deadheading, staffing, seat capacity, etc. will be swamped by the question of whether Brightline simply keeps growing for another year at the rate it has been (which isn't crazy: most new services have crazy growth in their initial years)