Brightline’s Future Modern, High-Speed Passenger Coaches Begin Rolling Off the Line at Siemens Mobility Headquarters—Symbolizing Multi-Billion Dollar Commitment to American Infrastructure
Brightline, the only provider of modern, eco-friendly high-speed rail, and Siemens Mobility, today celebrated the completion of Brightline’s newest trainsets, which will roll off the assembly line at the Siemens Mobility North American manufacturing headquarters and prepare to begin passenger operations. In the upcoming days, the newest train will depart the factory on a cross-country excursion to West Palm Beach, FL where it will be stationed in preparation for Brightline’s high-speed rail corridor expansion, set to connect Orlando to Brightline’s current route from Miami to West Palm Beach.
At the event, executives from Brightline and Siemens Mobility were joined by California Treasurer Fiona Ma to unveil the new passenger coaches and locomotives, part of the Venture trainset that is the driver of next-generation inter-city rail service in the U.S. Manufactured at Siemens Mobility solar-powered plant in Sacramento, the Venture trainsets for Brightline consist of two Charger Diesel-electric locomotives, one on each end, and four passenger coaches. The Charger Diesel-electric locomotives fulfill the EPA’s stringent Tier 4 emissions standards.
The stainless-steel coaches are made with components from more than 160 suppliers across 27 states. They are designed for luxury and comfort, featuring special ergonomic seating, contemporary communication systems and enhanced Wi-Fi. Thanks to wide aisles, wheelchair storage, and fully accessible restrooms, the Venture trainset exceeds ADA requirements from end to end.
“As the nation’s first and only private, operational high-speed rail line, Brightline’s partnership with Siemens demonstrates our company’s commitment to building both a robust domestic manufacturing sector and the future of green transportation,” said Michael Reininger, chief executive officer of Brightline Holdings. “Our partnership should serve as a powerful example of how we can break through the inertia and into an era of high-speed rail in America.”
“Brightline is a pioneer in private rail investment in the United States and we are proud to continue to grow our partnership as we ship the latest trainsets to Florida ahead of Brightline’s expansion. The Venture trainsets are a result of our collaboration and will offer a comfortable and enjoyable passenger experience that was built in Sacramento,” stated Michael Cahill, President of Siemens Mobility Rolling Stock in North America.
“The Siemens-Brightline partnership is a huge win for the state of California, bringing the future of green manufacturing and good paying jobs to our communities,” said Fiona Ma, California treasurer. “The completion of these trainsets is not only a big step towards developing high speed rail in the U.S., but also proves that California is capable of achieving tangible progress on climate and creating new manufacturing jobs today—not years from now.”
With more than 2,100 employees, Siemens Mobility’s Sacramento manufacturing facility serves as the North American Rolling Stock Manufacturing Headquarters for Siemens Mobility, an international leader in providing advanced rail transportation for systems around the world. The facility designs, engineers and manufactures across the entire spectrum of rolling stock including commuter and regional passenger trains, light rail and streetcars, locomotives, passenger coaches, and trainsets.
Construction on Brightline’s forthcoming 170-mile service extension from West Palm Beach to the Orlando International Airport is more than 60 percent complete and is on track for completion in late 2022. The project has been an economic boom for the state of Florida. In partnership with Siemens Mobility, the newest trainsets represent Brightline’s commitment to invest billions in American infrastructure, creating the country’s first and only private high-speed rail network. Brightline Florida employs more than 1,300 daily construction workers and will create more than 10,000 jobs over the construction period and the first few years of operations. In total, Brightline will generate more than $6.4 billion in economic impact in the state of Florida.
Brightline will resume its operations between Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach in November. Stations in Boca Raton and Aventura are expected to open in the second half of 2022, and discussions are underway with local stakeholders regarding expansions to Disney Springs and Tampa.
Siemens Mobility and Brightline are also in discussions on supplying Brightline’s technology solutions for its future high-speed Brightline West operations. Brightline West is the most advanced and shovel-ready high-speed rail project in the nation and is poised to bring economic and environmental benefits to the region. It will utilize fully electric, zero-emission trains to connect Las Vegas and Los Angeles through multiple intercity projects.
Supply Chain Delays and Strains to Continue through 2022
By Hema Dey, IEBJ Content Contributor
Managing Price Increases
From the start of the pandemic in 2020, businesses have been absorbing ongoing shocks that impacted operations and the bottom line. The supply chain delays and strains everybody hoped would resolve in 2021 seem set to continue through 2022; while the backlog of ships waiting for berths at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach fell to a low of 43 mid-March, experts expect a new surge of goods shipped from Asia after the Lunar New Year to drive those numbers up again. After that, the situation is unclear—the latest lockdowns in Shenzhen threaten to cut off supplies of parts and products when U.S. businesses are already starved from ongoing shortages.
At the same time, the war in Ukraine and sanctions on Russian oil are driving already-high fuel prices even higher around the world. While experts disagree on whether we can expect gas prices to keep climbing or that they’re near their peak, it’s clear significant relief is unlikely soon. That additional expense is unwelcome news for businesses of all kinds.
Knowing the current difficulties will be part of the landscape for the foreseeable future has brought many companies to the unavoidable conclusion that they have to raise their prices to stay in business. If you’ve delayed making changes in the hope that things would pass, you’re certainly not alone—but if you’re coming to the realization that you can’t wait to adjust your prices to reality anymore, then you’re not alone there either.
The Right Way to Handle Raising Prices
When raising your prices is a necessity, how you approach it can make a significant impact on minimizing any negative fallout. Your customers are naturally not going to be happy about seeing their costs go up. Anticipating such dissatisfaction is one reason why businesses put off making price adjustments much longer than they should. However, postponing the inevitable can harm your business and won’t change the factors that make an increase necessary. Here’s what you should be doing to manage price increases wisely.
The first thing to remember is that price increases don’t happen in a vacuum. Beyond simply considering the pressures on your business in terms of your growing costs, you need to know what your competitors are doing, and you need to find out fast. If your proposed price increases are wildly out of line with what the rest of your competition is doing, you could easily lose market share. We can assist in getting an up-to-date view on the moves your competitors are making to help you factor in this critical angle.
Next, you shouldn’t delay price increases, but you should also keep them realistic. Deferring the inevitable will weaken your business’s financial position and increase the pressure to put even higher prices in place when you finally do act. At the same time, you must keep in mind that your customers are almost certainly experiencing the effects of increased fuel costs and higher shipping rates just like you are. When clients feel like a business is taking advantage of a general atmosphere of inflation to boost their own profits at the expense of their customer base, they’re rarely quiet about it. Stick to doing what you have to do to keep your business healthy, and don’t be tempted to pad it.
Finally, this is absolutely the time to revisit your marketing strategy. When prices go up, buyer behavior changes. Review all your keyword searches to understand how these fluctuations may be affecting traffic to your website. Repositioning your business accordingly can help avoid unexpected hits to your sales and leads, and may even lead to new opportunities.
Trying to adjust to the current economic challenges can feel overwhelming for business owners. You don’t have to go it alone when you’re contemplating significant changes like raising your prices—calling in an expert consultant can give you confidence that you’re taking the right steps for the long-term good of your company and your customers. If you need benchmarking assistance, contact Iffel International here. We can help you take the right steps down a difficult road.
California Drivers Earned $34 Per Hour on Average, a University of California, Riverside Study on App-Based Work Finds
Report Includes Regional Earnings Data from the State’s Major Metropolitan Regions
A new study released today by the UCR School of Business Center for Economic Forecasting and Development finds that California app-based drivers grossed average earnings of $34.46 per hour on rides and delivery including tips in the third quarter of 2021, an increase of 26% over the last two years.
Additionally, the study found that since the passage of Proposition 22, which classified app-based drives as independent contractors, a majority of rideshare and delivery drivers in California report that they are satisfied working with app-based platforms, value scheduling flexibility, and value the ability to earn supplemental income.
Among the study’s main findings:
- From the fourth quarter of 2020 to the third quarter of 2021, there were approximately 1,370,000 drivers who performed at least one ride or delivery across the DoorDash, Instacart, Lyft, and Uber platforms in California.
- Including tips, gross app-based driver earnings across California averaged $34.46 per active hour in the third quarter of 2021, an increase of 26% compared to $27.34 two years prior (in the third quarter of 2019).
- From the fourth quarter of 2020 to the third quarter of 2021, driver earnings in California totaled $4.3 billion across the four platforms included in the study.
- 82% of California app-based drivers report being satisfied with their association with the platforms examined in the study.
- 75% of California app-based drivers prefer their status as independent contractors.
- As of the third quarter of 2021, two-thirds of drivers drive with a given platform for fewer than 5 hours per week.
The study explores who California’s app-based drivers are, how they use app-based services, how much they earn, and their level of satisfaction with this type of work. To conduct the analysis, UC Riverside researchers from CEFD used anonymized data provided by the four major rideshare and delivery platforms in California—Uber, Lyft, Instacart and DoorDash. The researchers also performed an independent analysis of a survey of more than 1,500 California app-based drivers conducted by EMC Research, a public opinion research firm.
“This study represents a detailed investigation of recent driver earnings, satisfaction, and overall preferences,” said Taner Osman, Research Manager at the UCR Center for Forecasting and one of the report’s authors. “Our analysis indicates that driver earnings increased significantly across the state over the past two years, and that most drivers want to remain independent contractors because of the flexibility and independence it offers.”
The report also details driver earnings across each of California’s metropolitan statistical areas.
Demographically, the study finds that app-based drivers tend to skew more male and have often attained a higher level of education compared to traditional workers in California. More than 30% of the app-based drivers surveyed have bachelor’s degrees, compared to slightly over 20% in the general workforce.
View the full analysis here.
BRIGHTLINE WEST: ON TRACK TO RANCHO CUCAMONGA
Brightline West signs Memorandum of Understanding for Rancho Cucamonga project, providing millions more with access to the high-speed rail line between Southern California and Las Vegas
Brightline, the only private provider of modern, eco-friendly intercity passenger rail in America, today announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA), the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), and the California High-Speed Rail Authority. The MOU sets the framework regarding the use of 48 miles within Interstate 15 to be used for Brightline West to connect its planned Victor Valley station and a newly planned station in Rancho Cucamonga. The new station will provide connectivity to Metrolink’s system in Rancho Cucamonga, offering a seamless and straightforward access point for people traveling to and from Los Angeles. The total trip time will be about half the time of driving: two hours between Las Vegas and the new Rancho Cucamonga station, and three hours between Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
“This Memorandum of Understanding marks a critical milestone in our goal to connect the Los Angeles metropolitan area with the iconic entertainment destination of Las Vegas,” said Mike Reininger, CEO of Brightline Holdings. “This system will provide an optimal travel solution between Southern California and Las Vegas, and opens up the reality of emission-free, hospitality-focused high-speed rail service to millions of people traveling between these destinations every year.”
Brightline’s station in Rancho Cucamonga will be in the newly announced Cucamonga Station in the HART District, a full-service transit station building that will include the existing Metrolink platforms and a planned underground tunnel to Ontario International Airport. The station area will also provide connectivity to other local and regional transit partners as part of a multi-modal hub for the region through a partnership with several public and private stakeholders, including the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority and the City of Rancho Cucamonga. Through its connectivity with Metrolink, guests will have fast and convenient access in about an hour or less to many cities in the Greater Los Angeles area, including to Union Station in downtown Los Angeles, and other destinations throughout Southern California.
“In entering into this MOU with Brightline West, CalSTA, Caltrans, and the California High-Speed Rail Authority are setting the course for high-speed trains to connect Southern California and Las Vegas,” said CalSTA Secretary David S. Kim. “This is an important step in bringing major benefits to the state, including reduced congestion and greenhouse gas emissions on the Interstate 15 corridor and increased connectivity with rail and transit throughout Southern California as well as future connections with the state’s high-speed rail system.”
The service will bring substantial environmental and economic benefits to the region. It will utilize zero-emission electric trainsets capable of reaching speeds up to 180 miles per hour, which Brightline projects will reduce CO2 emissions by 400,000 tons each year and reduce vehicle miles traveled by 935 million annually. Brightline estimates the project will create 40,000 jobs during construction and 1,000 permanent jobs, with an economic impact of more than $10 billion. Brightline West expects to support more than 11 million trips annually.
“Along with planned underground loop service to Ontario International Airport, the upcoming Redlands Passenger Rail Service and the West Valley Connector bus rapid transit system, high-speed rail to and from Las Vegas is shaping up to be a game changer for our region. These projects will provide convenient connections to destinations throughout Southern California and beyond, and provide sustainable transit options for one of the fastest-growing population and economic centers in the country,” said Curt Hagman, Chairman of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors and President of SBCTA.
The MOU follows a 15-day Notice of Intent process that took place earlier this year, which allowed for public comment on the project before signature. The project received overwhelming support from a variety of public and private entities for the positive impact it will have on the region.
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