Plans for the restoration of light rail service are moving along at a steady pace, however passenger service will likely start later than the end of July, as originally expected. As a reminder, VTA is working diligently and compassionately to restore the service we know the community relies on, and we are making every effort to bring back that service as soon as is safely possible.
The VTA Board of Directors received a detailed presentation during a special public meeting Tuesday, July 13. The six-phase plan outlines a complex set of requirements that must be met before trains are once again carrying passengers along the three light rail routes throughout Santa Clara County.
Phase One, completed June 30, was a “triage” of sorts to determine workspace needs, and assess the readiness of employees to return. The main buildings at the Guadalupe yard which housed the Operations Control Center (OCC) and the Way Power and Signal Department, are not structurally ready to be used, so offsite locations needed to be identified for employee workspaces. Decisions as to whether the Guadalupe buildings will be remodeled or demolished and completely rebuilt have not yet been made.
The most important of the restoration requirements is the readiness of employees, both mentally and emotionally, to return to work after the traumatic event of May 26 in which nine employees were gunned down by a VTA co-worker. Management staff and union leaders have reached out to employees essential to accomplishing the initial service restoration work in Way Power and Signal and OCC to understand their needs in order to return to work with confidence.
Phase Two, currently underway, addresses the critical need to ensure that employees have the resources they need to make their way back to work, and moving equipment, technology and employees to temporary locations. VTA staff has identified specialized resources with expertise in similar tragic events to provide services, consultation and continued wellness and safety programs for our employees.
The next three phases involve continued onboarding of staff, infrastructure repairs, and a trial run of service without passengers before being fully operational in the fifth phase. Phase Six will focus on service increases outlined by our pre-pandemic new transit service plan from 2019.