Everything You Need to Know About Brightline’s High-Speed Train Service in Florida

In September 2023, Brightline launched service to Orlando, marking its 6th Florida destination.

Two trains looking north at Orlando International Airport

Brightline’s new Orlando train station is next to Terminal C at Orlando International Airport.

Courtesy of Brightline

Brightline, an eco-friendly, high-speed train company, has been changing how people live, work, and play in Florida since it launched its first high-speed train service in 2018 between Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. Soon after, it expanded to downtown Miami. Then, in December 2022, it opened stations in Aventura and Boca Raton, two upscale—and traffic-heavy—resort and shopping destinations in dire need of public transportation.

On September 22, 2023, Brightline began service between its five south Florida stations—Miami, Aventura, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, and West Palm Beach—to America’s theme park capital, Orlando.

>> Read AFAR’s full review of what it’s like to ride from Miami to Orlando on a Brightline train

The privately-funded, multi-billion-dollar rail service whisks passengers up to 130 mph between its hub cities on tricked-out trains (that run on clean biodiesel fuel), providing friendly, top-notch service all along the way (a rarity in travel these days). Unbearable traffic, pricey refuels, road rage, and steep carbon footprints already feel like a distant past as Florida enters an age of high-speed train travel.

Here, all you need to know about the state’s high-speed rail service—present and future—and why you’ll want to ditch the car on your next trip to Florida.

Brightline’s south Florida destinations

Initially, Brightline operated between three major south Florida destinations—Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach—and the two smaller cities of Aventura and Boca Raton. Service between Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach runs almost hourly from early morning to late night. Trains make quick stops in Boca Raton (between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale) and Aventura (between Fort Lauderdale and Miami).

The trip clocks in at 17 minutes between Miami and Aventura; a total of around 33 minutes between Miami and Fort Lauderdale; 16 minutes between Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton; and 40 minutes total between Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. These times are less than half the typical travel time by car (and about one-third if accounting for rush hour).

Brightline travel to Orlando

Brightline currently runs 30 trains daily between Orlando and Miami, with 15 daily departures from each city. Total travel time between Miami and Orlando clocks in at around 3 hours and 25 minutes—a bit less than the amount of time it takes to drive between the two destinations without traffic. Travel between south Florida stations maxes out at 79 mph while part of the distance from West Palm Beach to Orlando will reach speeds of 130 mph.

The new 37,350-square-foot Brightline Orlando Station is located within a two-story glass atrium complex at Orlando International Airport, next to Terminal C. Travelers do not need to be flying in or out of the airport to access the train station and its facilities.

Brightline trains service map in Florida

Brightline currently operates between Miami and Orlando. A Tampa expansion is on the horizon.

Courtesy of Brightline

How much do Brightline tickets cost?

Before purchasing a ticket on the Brightline app or website, you’ll need to first choose between two classes of service: “Smart” and “Premium.” Both promise comfy seats, free Wi-Fi, and the greater Brightline train experience. However, Premium means seating in Coach 1 (versus 2, 3, 4 or 5), where complimentary snacks and beverages (including alcoholic drinks) are provided along with slightly roomier seats. It also grants access to the pre-departure lounges at train stations, where bites and tipples are also available. (Note: All six stations have Premium lounges.)

Currently, tickets in Smart begin at $6.50 for the journey between Miami and Aventura ($27 in Premium). Between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, fares start at $10 in Smart and $27 in Premium. For Miami to West Palm Beach, fares commence at $15 in Smart and $37 in Premium. Put in perspective, a rideshare typically costs $25–$60 from Miami or Fort Lauderdale to Aventura, $45–$75 from Miami to Fort Lauderdale, and over $75–$100 between Miami and West Palm Beach.

Tickets in Smart for the new Orlando service currently begin at $79 for adults and $39 for kids for the full journey between Miami and Orlando. Groups of four or more get an additional 25 percent off. Fares in Premium begin at $149 and include checked luggage plus complimentary food and drink throughout the train ride.

In general with Brightline, purchasing several days in advance is the best way to get the lowest standard fare. In addition, Brightline runs plenty of promos at any given time, most of which you can find on its website. The best offers are typically for larger groups or frequent riders.

These are the entry-level Smart class seats

These are the entry-level Smart class seats, with fares starting at just $6.50 each way.

Courtesy of Brightline

What it’s like on board

Inside the trains, the colors skew neutral and the cars are spacious. Interior aisles measure an ample 32 inches, making it easy to maneuver rolling suitcases, strollers, and wheelchairs. The train seats look and feel like premium economy airline seats; there’s plenty of legroom and elbow room plus an in-seat recline that slides forward instead of landing on the lap of the passenger behind. Each seat also features two USB ports and two outlets, so you can charge all your electronics at once.

In Smart class, food and beverages are available for purchase. In Premium on south Florida routes, riders receive one snack and two drinks of their choice from the roving cart. (On the Orlando route, Premium passengers receive one snack, one meal, dessert, and unlimited drinks.)

On board, Brightline offers complimentary Wi-Fi via SpaceX’s Starlink to provide fast, uninterrupted service on all trains.

>> Read AFAR’s full review of what it’s like to ride a Brightline train

Brightline train in Miami

The Brightline station in downtown Miami

Courtesy of Brightline

The future of Brightline

Now that Orlando is up and running, Brightline will next head to Tampa, Florida, while also embarking on a West Coast equivalent: an express train connecting Southern California and Las Vegas in just over two hours. Construction is expected to begin later in 2023.

This article was originally published in 2022; it was updated on November 15, 2023, with current information.

Paul Rubio is an award-winning travel journalist and photographer. His byline appears in AFAR, Conde Nast Traveler, Fodor’s, LUXURY, MSN, NerdWallet, Palm Beach Illustrated, Yahoo Lifestyle and more. He has visited 133 countries (and counting) over the past 20 years and won 27 national awards for his writing and photography. When he’s not plotting out his next trip, Paul loves to spend time at home watching reruns of Portlandia and Parks and Recreation with his husband and rescue dog, Camo.
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