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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FIU chapter.

We South Florida natives know that our main form of transportation has been and always will be having a car right? But what if there was a way to avoid the I-95 traffic and frustration? What has been around for the past few years has made extensions and will continue to grow, of course, I’m talking about the Brightline! The Brightline with its vibrant yellow exterior has in the past week announced it’s opening in Orlando. Before this, the Brightline mainly rain through the big cities in South Florida: Miami, Aventura, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach. But now with the extension to Orlando, what does this mean for South Florida’s transportation options?

A new means

As I mentioned, South Florida relies heavily on the highway system to get where we need to be. You’ve probably noticed that anytime you are on I-95 there is always some construction going on. With so many people living and now moving to Miami, we need more space to distribute the flow of traffic. It is because of this fact, that I was really intrigued to see how Brightline is going to operate going to Orlando. Aside from I-95, I-4 is also just as heavy with the traffic and to drive 3 hours is not always preferred for some people. You might be asking the significance behind this, but this would actually be the first private US passenger rail line in 100 years to link Miami to Orlando at 125 mph. I highlight private because Amtrak and Greyhound still exist but Brightline offers a completely luxurious experience, as highlighted on their site.

“With two ways to ride—SMART or PREMIUM—there’s something for everyone”

Offering SMART, also considered economy, and PREMIUM or business class, they open up to how they relatively hold the same feature with business having some more private options that more ideal for someone working on the go.

How this changes South Florida

This $5 billion bet holds high hopes of transporting an estimated 8 million people to make this trip from Miami to Orlando using Brightline exclusively. Not only does this make travelling easier but because of the high speeds, it is supposed to beat the travel time by 30 minutes or more. This makes traveling between these two hot cities stress-free and enjoyable but aside from this it also can help other issues South Florida is currently facing. Because vehicular transportation has been so prioritized, it has also led to many issues such as numerous accidents and increased carbon emissions. Running on solely biodiesel, the research shows how this can be considered a cleaner option than the other alternatives. Biodiesel, being a biofuel, would be derived from food crops such as sugar cane or corn and essentially is their “waste”. You can think of it as the equivalent of burning wood for light or cooking foods.

Though car accidents are frequent in Miami, Brightline unfortunately has not completely avoided these fatalities either. It marked one week into the opening of Orlando’s extension when tragedy hit, resulting in the fatal death of a Port St. Lucie resident. The individual was reported to be homeless and trespassing on the tracks but this incident, and many others, have raised a question of concern for the company’s safety guidelines. Since 2019, Brightline has held the highest death rate in the country so with this, it poses a question for Brightline of a solution. Though these deaths are not at the fault of the company, as most are suicides or trespassing incidents, there is still the need for a call to action, resulting in the company’s release “Brightline’s Safety Pledge”. The pledge reinforces railroad safety, reminding people of the proper behavior as well as many resources on their webpage to follow instructions whether as a driver or a passing pedestrian. Attention to road signs and crossings are just some of the scenarios the pledge goes over. Considering this railway system is relatively new to Floridians their hope is that this teaches proper safety guidelines to protect the lives of others and continue this ongoing project that has aspirations of connecting to even more cities.

Future of brightline

With the recent doubling of trips from Miami to Orlando, the hope to work out the kinks is strong. Running at 130 mph, this is only a fraction of the speed it is possible and with more experience on this route, the company is optimistic of these scheduled times. One of the many setbacks with the price tag but with the doubling of these trips, the time slots for people have opened up significantly hoping to attract more people to use Brightline instead of driving. There are pros and cons to this but the initiative and mission remain: offering a newer and safer mode of transportation. As they continue with the routes, we hope this system serves to be a win for Florida offering more solutions than problems.

Isabella is a writer at the Her Campus chapter at FIU. Given her experience in journalism, she covers current events and opinion pieces. Aside from that however, she also likes to write on some of her personal interests such as beauty, fashion, music, and art. As a junior at FIU, she really wanted her college career to encapsulate what she wants to do in the future and she knew that it always involved writing. Achieving for a major in communications with a minor in English, she hopes with this to begin launching her career into the world of journalism! Before Her Campus, her experience with writing began at the Borgen Project, an organization based in Seattle, WA with a mission of fighting global poverty. She reports on advancements and news for countries all over the world battling third world poverty for others to become educated on the issue. When she isn't working or cramming for an exam, Isabella loves to unwind with music and takes a lot of pride in her curated playlists. Listening to basically anything and everything, there isn't a playlist she won't find that cannot match her mood. Folk, country, indie, regaetton, jazz, and so much more are just a few to name!