Private passenger rail operator Brightline carried a record 1.23 million passengers last year, the railroad’s first full year of operations since 2019. The number, which the railroad released in a monthly financial disclosure on Wednesday, represents a nearly 22 percent increase in ridership from three years earlier before the Covid-19 pandemic.
On the financial side of the ledger, Brightline’s annual revenues increased nearly 49 percent to $32 million in 2022 compared to three years earlier.
The 2022 numbers bode well for Brightline, which is the only private intercity rail operator in the U.S. The railroad is in the process of extending its Florida line to Orlando, which is expected to open for passengers later this year. Construction of the extension to the Orlando airport was 90 percent complete at the end of December. A future extension to Tampa is planned with Universal Orlando recently committing funds to construction of a critical 11-mile segment across Orlando.
Brightline recently released the first renderings of its new station at the Orlando airport. The facility is directly connected to the airport’s new Terminal C that opened last September.
Ridership on Brightline’s South Florida rail line between Miami and West Palm Beach got a year-end boost with the opening of two new stations — in Aventura and Boca Raton — in late December. The two stations added 17,682 riders to Brightline trains in just the last 10 days of the year.
The company is also developing a new high-speed rail line between Las Vegas and Southern California, known as Brightline West, that could begin construction this year.