Virgin Trains (formerly Brightline) is not a train like the others and lets it know from the entrance of the station. In Fort Lauderdale, one of the three cities served at the moment (with Miami and West Palm Beach) by this inter-city high-speed train, the only privately owned and managed in the United States, passengers are greeted by a warm "hello, welcome to Brightline"From smiling agents. First slap. They are then directed to the floor where they pass the security (as at the airport) and take place in light and clean waiting rooms with light colors, immersed in a scent of lemongrass and cheerful pop music. First class travelers ("Select") even have access to a private lounge, with buffet and unlimited alcohol.

The oar too is an experience in itself. On board, the staff circulates with snacks, in the manner of stewards in airplanes. On the menu: rosé, red, white, things to nibble … The seats are large, comfortable, equipped with plugs for those who want to work while waiting to arrive in Miami. In class "Select", a meal is even served. On the information plates in the seats, we discover that it is possible to book a whole car or to organize a "rum" party with friends. We are definitely far from daddy's train.

Welcome to the wonderful world of Virgin Trains, the train that wants you to abandon the car. The target is clear: this train of the future puts on all the "commuters" between Miami and West Palm Beach who think that life is too precious to spend it in traffic jams. And he does everything to facilitate their decision. It does not happen a week without the company offers discounts (free place for the second passenger, for children in summer or for groups of four …) to push the curious to take the plunge. It has also partnered with the Lyft car service to travel to and from the station at a reduced price.

The positioning pleases more and more. Operated by the New York investment fund Fortress and Virgin, the group of British billionaire Richard Branson, Virgin Trains has just announced a 2.5% increase in its traffic over the first three months of 2019 (244,178 users on the period) and initiated the extension of its line to Orlando, despite nearly $ 23.7 million in losses. When completed in 2022, this new line will bring Miami to the city of amusement parks in just three hours. "I will be thrilled when possibleexclaims Brigitte Dagot-Jensen, president of the French American Council of Greater Orlando (FABCO) and consoles honorary. Going to Miami by plane is expensive, especially for last minute trips. And when you have to take your car, the car parks are expensive".

But for the Floridians to adopt the ex-Brightline, "it must be a well orchestrated operationshe adds. There must be enough trains in the morning and evening to make the round trip in the day. And it must not be more expensive than taking your car.

"Fortunately, she notes, attitudes towards the car are changing, especially among the youngest. The train offers alternatives. This helps to improve quality of life. With cool ads to the right people, and the support of Richard Branson, I'm hopeful it works". By the end of the year, Virgin Trains plans to create several resorts in South Florida to increase its customer base. According to Sun Sentinel, Hollywood and Boca Raton are among the destinations.


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