Officials Talk Rail Safety As Brightline Miami-To-Fort Lauderdale Testing Begins
Brightline train tests began Wednesday morning for the Miami-to-Fort Lauderdale route, at the same time as Miami-Dade County and Brightline officials were meeting in downtown Miami to discuss rail safety measures.
The high-speed train, that can reach up to 79 mph, has been the cause of six deaths since it launched its route between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale earlier this year. The first four were caused by people crossing the tracks and the last two have been ruled suicides by police.
"All of our incidents to-date, while tragic, were completely preventable," said Patrick Goddard, president and COO of Brightline.
Brightline will be launching an extensive safety campaign in Miami-Dade as it did in Broward and Palm Beach counties. It includes social media, public service announcements, billboards and electronic signage.
"[This] is something that we've been waiting for for a long time," said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez. "Do not try to beat the train...it's not worth your life.
The Fort Lauderdale-to-Miami service will open to the public in the coming weeks, according to Brightline executives.
Brightline's ultimate goal is to connect Miami to Orlando, two cities that are "too long to drive and too short to fly." They plan to meet this goal in two years. Taking mass transit reduces a person's risk of being involved in an accident by 90 percent, according to a study by the American Public Transportation Association.
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