Brightline, the high-speed rail system that runs through South Florida, has shut down, possibly for months, because of the coronavirus pandemic, the company announced late Wednesday afternoon.
The final northbound departure from Miami departed at 6:50 p.m.
“Although a difficult decision, we have decided to temporarily suspend Brightline service in the best interest of the entire South Florida community as we all seek to flatten the curve,” said company president Patrick Goddard.
An Important Update: Brightline will be temporarily suspending service, effective Wednesday, March 25, with our last train southbound at 6:40pm and northbound at 6:50PM. pic.twitter.com/msbn7GfAwO
— Brightline (@GoBrightline) March 25, 2020
The company says it is also “taking proactive measures” to keep its construction crews who are employed for a project to expand future service between West Palm Beach and Orlando.
“As we look ahead toward the economic recovery of Florida, projects like Brightline will help create jobs and a transportation network that will be more important than ever,” Goddard added.
However, more than 250 other Brightline employees lost their jobs Wednesday night, according to company spokesman Mike Hicks.
Our state has 1,977 confirmed cases at this time, with 141 in Palm Beach County, 412 in Broward, and 491 cases in Miami-Dade.
There is also a new death from COVID-19 in Florida as of Wednesday evening. That brings the statewide total to 23.