Trip Report - Brightline

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HarryP
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2004 7:59 am

Trip Report - Brightline

Post by HarryP » Sun Nov 03, 2019 5:10 pm

On my annual trip to south Florida, I finally got a chance to ride Brightline for the entire route into Miami on Sat., 11/2/19. I purchased a 10:00 a.m. Select southbound departure ticket from West Palm to Miami, and a 2:10 Smart northbound return ticket on the same day, for a total of $63.00. The train left on time and was fairly crowded. About 10 mins. into the ride, I overheard the attendant mention something about a passenger strike, but then nothing further was mentioned.

As we approached the Ft. Lauderdale stop, an announcement was made that all service was being terminated due to an accident south of Ft. Lauderdale, and we were advised to go to the lounge, and we would re-board the next train at 11:39 to continue our trip to Miami. The train I was on was being turned back to West Palm Beach. About a half-hour later, we were notified that the 11:39 southbound had been canceled and we would be placed on the next train at 12:39. No other announcements were made concerning the delay. Everyone was left to fend for themselves. As I was familiar with the area, I had lunch at a nearby fast food restaurant.

I returned to the station, and the 12:39 arrived promptly and we re-boarded. The 12:39 train was extremely crowded, but I was able to find a seat near a window. As we neared Miami, the same attendant from the previous train abruptly pulled down my window shade without warning, startling me. I thought the train was being attacked. I asked what happened and he said, "You can't look out the window, as we're passing an accident scene!" He moved on to pull down everyone else's shade as well. About 10 mins. later, the train slowed down and I assumed we were passing the scene. I could still see out through the mesh screen and I saw a police car sitting near the right of way, but nothing else going on. After that, we creeped and crawled and were about 10 mins. late.

I had originally planned to spend several hours in downtown Miami, but I now didn't have time due to the delay, and didn't feel like re-booking my ticket, so I returned to the station and boarded the 2:10 northbound with a Smart coach seat. We had a few minutes to spare before departure, so I went to the platform at the back of the train, where some people had been taking photographs, and decided to take one myself. All of a sudden, from a distance I heard the same attendant who had pulled down the window shade yell at me to "stop taking pictures and get on the train," even though there was still a few minutes left before departure. I told him there was no need to be rude, but he had no response.

The train left on time, and after an uneventful trip, arrived at West Palm on time with very few people on board. Before exiting the station, I spoke to two customer service agents and explained my experiences. They both agreed that taking photos was not an issue and they didn't understand why the attendant had stopped me. I was also advised that I would get a full refund on my ticket because of the extensive delay, which would be credited back to my credit card.I understand that the passenger strike was beyond the control of Brightline, but I don't really care for the whole Brightline experience of doing business, such as having to give a lot of information before purchasing a ticket, having assigned seats, going through security metal detectors, and even having to take things out of my pockets before boarding when re-entering the station at Ft. Lauderdale.  Most of all, I object to the obnoxious behavior of the attendant, which was uncalled for.

I did check previously, and for the most part they have good reviews, but time-keeping and ticketing seem to be issues that reviewers have commented on. I plan to send a complaint to Brightline about the rude conduct of the attendant.
Harry P

Gilbert B Norman
Posts: 14135
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 6:52 am
Location: Clarendon Hills, IL (BNSF Chicago Sub; MP 18.71)

Re: Trip Report - Brightline

Post by Gilbert B Norman » Mon Nov 04, 2019 7:37 am

Sorry to learn, Mr. Harry P, that your Brightline travel experience was less than desired. I guess this is part of becoming an "institution", as distinct from a "novelty".

First Responders and Law Enforcement are "camera shy" when it comes to anyone viewing, and especially recording, an Accident, and more so a Crime, scene. No doubt the agencies have asked Brightline/Virgin for assistance in this matter. But no question whatever, the matter could have been handled more tactfully on board.

Here however, is a review of Brightline that is so flowing that it could possibly been paid:

https://onemileatatime.com/brightline-train-review/

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