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Traveler shares 'smooth' experience aboard US high-speed rail: 'My new favorite form of transportation'

"I can't wait to ride again."

"I can't wait to ride again."

Photo Credit: TikTok

One of the most accessible and eco-friendly ways of traveling is available in Florida, and the West Coast is next.

In a recent TikTok video, Becs (@beccahidalgo) documented her trip from Orlando to Miami on the Brightline, an eco-friendly, high-speed rail that opened in September 2023. This form of transportation eliminates the need for short flights and keeps people out of congested traffic — reducing harmful pollution in the process. 

@beccahidalgo baby's 1st #brightline ♬ Walking Around - Instrumental Version - Eldar Kedem

"I think the Brightline may just be my new favorite form of transportation," Becs says in the video.

Becs outlined her journey, from parking in the Orlando airport lot to walking to the Brightline track. The check-in process is similar to an airport's, with security and amenities like a lounge, bar, and convenience store.

"My train is on time," Becs says, also noting how comfortable the train car felt. She got to choose her own seat that came with an outlet, and she said the car was quiet and clean. Overall, the trip to Miami took three-and-a-half hours including stops at Aventura, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, and West Palm Beach.

"Overall, I had a blast! I can't wait to ride again," Becs said, adding in a comment that the process was "so, so smooth!" 

While flying is still the fastest way to travel from Orlando to Miami, with a trip only taking roughly 65-73 minutes, this flight would generate an estimated 269 pounds of carbon pollution

A drive down Interstate 95 with light traffic takes roughly the same amount of time as the Brightline, but a gas-powered car would emit close to 200 pounds of carbon. While electric vehicles can help eliminate harmful pollution, drivers would possibly have to deal with congestion.

High-speed rails, like the Brightline, reduce pollution that contributes to rising global temperatures linked to devastating natural disasters. A study from the High Speed Rail Alliance found that this form of transportation can reduce carbon pollution by 3.3 million metric tons (about 3.6 million tons). The rail system is also cost-efficient and reliable.

According to Bloomberg, Brightline plans to host 5.5 million passengers in 2024, up from 2.1 million riders in 2023. As the "only provider of modern, eco-friendly, higher-speed rail service in America," per a press release, Brightline hopes to "reinvent train travel and take cars off the road," with hopes of expanding the service, starting with Las Vegas and Southern California. 

In December, a Brightline project received $3 billion from the U.S. government's Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Grant Program. The organization, which may take an estimated 3 million cars off the road each year, aims to lower carbon pollution by more than 400,000 tons each year with its Brightline West project. Brightline broke ground on this new West Coast high-speed rail on April 22.

"People have been dreaming of high-speed rail in America for decades — and now, with billions of dollars of support made possible by President Biden's historic infrastructure law, it's finally happening," U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a press release. 

"The blueprint we've created with Brightline will allow us to repeat this model in other city pairs around the country," added Brightline founder Wes Edens.

Construction to connect San Francisco and Los Angeles is now underway. There are also hopes of building a high-speed rail in Texas.

While riders can experience high-speed rail in Florida now, passengers waiting for the Las Vegas-to-Los Angeles route will have to wait until 2028, according to Construction Dive.

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