Brightline service to resume in November, with vaccine requirement for employees

Florida's high-speed rail service Brightline on Tuesday announced it will resume service in South Florida later this year. 

During a virtual media update, Brightline President Patrick Goddard detailed the company’s reopening schedule set to start the first half of November for service between Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach.  A specific date will be announced in the coming weeks. 

"We are thrilled to be gearing up to welcome guests back aboard Brightline," said Goddard. "Over the last few months, we’ve made upgrades to our guest experience and made significant strides in construction. Our goal remains the same, to take cars off the road while offering the most convenient way to travel in South Florida and a guest-first experience."

Brightline suspended service in March of 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

RELATED: Hunter's Creek community fighting planned Brightline route

Among the many service enhancements, Brightline said it will address guests’ first and last mile connections.  The new service is intended to provide guests with full door-to-door travel service, eliminating the gaps using a selection of private luxury cars, shared shuttle services, golf carts, and other options. One of those gaps includes the distance between the Brightline station south of the Orlando International Airport to the OIA terminals.

Over the next year, Brightline said it will invest more than $6.5 million in safety enhancements.

Among its new safety measures, Brightline will require all employees to be fully vaccinated prior to the reintroduction of service.  Employees and guests will also be required to wear masks in stations and onboard all trains. 

The company is also implementing a series of COVID protocols, including an almost touchless transportation system, increased cleaning, pre-packaged foods, touchless bathrooms, cashless payment, and electronic tickets.  Additionally, Brightline said it will utilize a Needlepoint Bipolar Ionization (NPBI) system developed by Siemens, which releases ions through forced-air circulation designed to help neutralize pathogens, viruses, and bacteria.

Brightline’s expansion stations in Aventura and Boca Raton are progressing, the company said. Construction to Orlando has surpassed the halfway point with service expected to begin in 2023. Discussions are now underway regarding expansion to Disney and Tampa.  

Watch FOX 35 News for the latest Brightline updates.