• OPINION: Brightline probably will be taken over by a public transit authority

  • This is a forum for all operations, both current and planned, of Brightline, formerly All Aboard Florida and Virgin Trains USA:
    Websites: Current Brightline
    Virgin USA
    Virgin UK
This is a forum for all operations, both current and planned, of Brightline, formerly All Aboard Florida and Virgin Trains USA:
Websites: Current Brightline
Virgin USA
Virgin UK

Moderator: CRail

  by sextant
 
I don’t see the long term sustainability of running Brightline just from the farebox. No public transit breaks even but are run as a public good. Just like Metra in Chicago people in this region will love and depend on this train enough to ask there public offfcials to take it over under a public authority. The commuter railroads in Chicago like BN and CNW were loss leases but nessary for life to exist and thus Mentra was created to keep them going
  by sextant
 
Well...Pacific Eletric was also in the real estate business and built the outlying areas ajactant to their Interurban lines. They accepted the losses as well because the cost of the Interurban lines were built into the cost of the real estate. Same goes with the "Streetcar Suburbs" in places like Cleveland and Boston that built the first inner ring of suburbs. Then the Superhighways came in the post War 1950s and 1960s with the GI Bill and Veterans assitance for new housing development like Levitown. Only now if you had empty land 20 miles from the core all you had to do is be politically connected and get the Belt Freeway built and convince your buddys to have zoning laws and a offramp put at taxpayer expance. Then you can build pink little ranch houses that all look alike and shopping malls and strip malls till every quarter acre is spoken for. ...What is unusual about Brightline is that instead of using the public coffers to build the freeways or widen the roads is that they are trying a model of the "Streetcar Suburb" that was last used in the 1920s in Shaker Hts Ohio. Build and pay for your own transit and "they" will come whom ever they are...The Van Swergines Brothers built Shaker Hts a upscale garden "Trolley Suburb" and ran the Shaker Rapid...but the house of cards (which included the Nickle Plate and the C&O) came tumbling down has many real estate ventures are highly leveraged. So the City of Shaker Hts took over then rail system and ran it at a loss which in turn was taken over by the Regional Transit Authority....I predict that either 2 things will happen here is that the real estate sales will max out and the residents who depend on the transit service will have to decide to keep it going via a public authority or abandon the service and go to theiur cars and build more parking garages and parking lots
  by CRail
 
Public transit is only made less fiscally feasible than road by giant road subsidies. The 1950s automobile boom is now approaching 80 years in history and the people are once again realizing the efficiency and convenience of public transit models, so long as the transit models are capable of realizing the disadvantages of automobile commuting. Brightline, if planned and operated properly, can absolutely maintain itself by being a subsidiary of its developments. It is not designed to operate on fare revenues alone, which would've been a non-starter.
  by Arlington
 
Flagler has a long way to go before running out of land, particularly because they are now redeveloping original sites from the 1920s through 1950s that had become blighted

(and because they basically owned the land under every urban center on Floridas east coast, but from 1970 to 2010 had been developing suburban and industrial sites and can now spend the next 40 years redeveloping their original urban sites)
  by sextant
 
That's scary that one private Flanger company and FEC company has that much power...I assume that 2 things retarded the development of Florida-Heat and now we have widespread Air Conditioning and Mosquitoes-better less toxic alternatives to deet and draning swamps..
  by eolesen
 
Land holdings are relative...

FECI's holdings are said to be around 19,000 acres including railroad property.

Then there's Disney, which has has 27,000 acres inside the WDW complex alone.

FECI has roughly 29 square miles and 42 for Disney. That's around 0.1% of the state's 65,700 square miles. Hardly a monopoly.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
eolesen wrote: Wed Nov 16, 2022 2:25 pm Anyone actually familiar with Brightline knows this thread is either foamer nonsense or a troll.
Sorry Mr. Olesen, but I cannot agree with you here (and you know that most times I do), but this topic raises a very legitimate question, with which I'm inclined to agree with the originator, Mr. Sextant.

First, I believe that Brightline, pricey as it is @ $140 round trip (that's Corridor pricing) is here to stay. Their level of on-board service is as consistent as found on a flight, and their equipment, now four years old, is impeccably maintained. Both my rides this past Sunday were "smack on time". I walked through Smart Class on the Northward trip to find and thank a young girl who helped get my phone to send a QR code so I could board (last time I ever do that; this octogenerian wants that piece of paper; sorry 'bout that, trees). There appeared to be about a 50% load factor.

But none of the above, affects whether Brightline will do well enough to pay the interest, or pay off the Private Activity (no Federal tax on the interest income) 8% coupon bonds that financed the whole enterprise. They were reportedly sold to well-connected Florida residents (no State tax for them) for whom the State could easily be the "Bail-Bondsman". That would result in the entire enterprise becoming a "ward of the State".

Now Mr. Olesen notes that Brightline is owned by a primarily real estate developer FECI that is ultimately owned by a Japanese concern; Softbank. The FEC Ry, now owned by Mexican interests, has no financial connection beyond the trackage fees Brightline pays. Softbank will not long tolerate a "cash negative" and will be looking for a new successor.

That successor will be the State.

While a surprise to those who follow passenger train affairs through the scope of Amtrak, Florida is really quite pro-passenger rail - just so long as it isn't Amtrak, where the powers that be reside in Washington, and not Tallahasse.

Now finally, I must put a strong disclaimer on the table; my batting average to date on Brightline affairs is simply ZERO. I first thought it was simply a ploy to "fatten the steer" for a sale of the FEC Ry to the State. Even though I hold such would have assured JAX would be an "open gateway" allowing the maritime companies calling at Miami or Ft Lauderdale the access to two railroads that they enjoy at any other US port. Once that sale was complete, it would be a "Brightline, what's that?" situation.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
sextant wrote: Sat Nov 26, 2022 7:59 am That's scary that one private Flagler company and FEC company has that much power...I assume that two things retarded the development of Florida-Heat and now we have widespread Air Conditioning and Mosquitoes-better less toxic alternatives to deet and draning swamps..
Off topic I know, but Mr. Sextant, I must wonder why I have never, save once for an August '98 family emergency, set foot in Florida earlier than Thanx or later than Easter, which had best be an early one. :P

But all I do know regarding the family emergency, is that when they opened the door on the plane @ KFLL, the last time I had felt such a blast of hot humid air, was deplaning at VVTS July '67.
  by markhb
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 8:59 am But all I do know regarding the family emergency, is that when they opened the door on the plane @ KFLL, the last time I had felt such a blast of hot humid air, was deplaning at VVTS July '67.
Thank you for your service, sir. I rarely say that, because it seems forced, but I greatly appreciate that the reason it's so commonplace now is because so many of your comrades who served incountry were greeted upon their return with anything but thanks... or even basic empathy that they had been through hell.