Ridership Stagnant, Virgin Trains Prepares to Expand

Depending on your interest and perspective, the lede might be buried here.

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August 6, 2019, 10:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Virgin Trains USA

Jillian Cain Photography / Shutterstock

Virgin Trains USA is staging construction for an expansion of its high-speed rail route in Florida. The line currently runs from Miami and West Palm Beach, with a stop in Fort Lauderdale. The expansion will push into Central Florida, first with a stop in Central Florida.

"The entire $4.1 billion Virgin Trains project is to run between Miami and Orlando by late 2022," according to an article by Joshua Solomon.

It takes a little reading in the article to get to this paragraph, however:

Ridership has flatlined for Virgin: about 239,000 in the fourth quarter of 2018; 244,000 in the first quarter of 2019; and 237,000 in the second quarter of 2019, according to self-reported figures, released earlier this month.

Virgin Trains is touting the ridership figures as greater than ridership on Amtrak's Acela in the Northeast in its first year. But, Virgin had projected the line would have about 2.3 million riders in 2019, Solomon writes, "according to figures the company presented to investors when it sought to sell $1.75 billion in tax-free private-activity bonds."

Wednesday, July 31, 2019 in Treasure Coast Newspapers

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