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All Aboard Florida forecasts 5.3 million riders by 2020


All Aboard Florida's (AAF) ridership would reach more than 5.3 million and annual ticket sales would total $293.6 million (in 2012 dollars) by 2020, according to a ridership and revenue study the railroad released this week.

Florida East Coast Industries Inc. (FECI), which owns AAF, commissioned The Louis Berger Group Inc. to develop the ridership and revenue forecast for the proposed service, which would operate between Orlando and Miami starting in 2017.

AAF plans to run about 32 trains a day, or 16 round trip, between Miami and Orlando. The Orlando-to-Miami trip is expected to take about three hours.

According to the report, starting ticket prices would range from a low of $11 for a "non-business", short-distance fare for travel between Fort Lauderdale and Miami, to $130 for a "business," long-distance fare for travel between Orlando and Miami.

By 2030, the service is anticipated to serve about 7 million riders, with annual ticket sales of nearly $400 million.

The service will complement existing modes of travel between core locations in the state, with AAF locations in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Orlando. After the initial ramp up, the railroad service will serve about 10 percent of the long-distance travel market between southeast and central Florida, and about 1.2 percent of the overall short-distance market, the study said.

The study's key findings include:
• AAF's "addressable market" for intercity service amounts to more than 110 million annual trips.
• AAF will address a "challenging intercity trip." At 230 miles, the trip between Orlando and Miami is relatively too short for the time involved to fly, and is relatively long for an auto trip where congestion can make the four- to five-hour trip "unpleasant and unreliable." Travel volume on highways between central and southeast Florida is expected to exceed capacity by 2030.
• Population growth is expected to continue in the region. Within 1 mile of proposed AAF stations, annual population growth has ranged from 2 percent to 5 percent since 1990, "indicating strong growth in the urban core at the heart of the AAF alignment."
• AAF would provide travel-time savings of 25 percent to 50 percent when compared with other surface transportation modes.
• Fares compare favorably with existing travel modes when time, tolls and other travel costs are factored.

The full report can be read here.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 5/29/2015