Let me throw this out there: Brightline today reaffirmed that they are on track to go forward with their expansion plans using a combination of debt and equity financing.
https://www.wptv.com/news/state/despite ... peed-ahead
This may come as a surprise to those who seem to think that Brightline is losing too much money and can never be successful based only on the first months of full operation of phase 1. As has been pointed out previously, Brightline has always expected to lose money during the first years of operation, and that was assuming MIA-MCO would be operational from the very beginning of service (not staggered over 5 years like it is turning out to be). They have planned for a 3 year ramp up period before they meet ridership and revenue goals. So far they had almost 250k riders in Q4 of 2018 (or almost 33% of their projected final ridership for phase 1) after just 5 months of full service. They rightly say that they are on track at this point. Revenue is not matching ridership at this time, however. This could be due to several factors: continuing discounts on train fare to get people to try the new service; real estate development not online yet; delayed start of full service to Orlando with associated higher fares and revenue.
I have read some comments that Brightline should scale back their 17 weekday round trips to some level that does not cost them as much to operate. Isn't this what Amtrak is accused of doing? Trying to make money by cutting costs? IMO that would be the worst thing they could do at this point. Brightline is trying to be a viable alternative to driving and get people used to a frequent and reliable service. The last thing one would do at this point is reduce service and force potential riders to drive or use Uber/Lyft. At 1 million riders per year and assuming about 900 trains per month with 240 possible seats on each train, they are already around 38% load factor. Not knowing the breakdown of trips between each city pair, I can only go with the total numbers as it appears MIA-FTL is better patronized than WPB-FTL.
The numbers for January should be out very soon. If Brightline can maintain their previous rate of growth month to month, I have no worries about them meeting their goals.