VTA is making progress in our phased plan to restart light rail service. As we near the end of Phase 3, which involves track inspections, employee recertification and retraining, the public may start seeing trains out on the system. These trains are not in service for customers but the system is considered "live". Operators, along with supervisors and support staff, will run test trains from the Guadalupe yard to Baypointe Station in North San Jose along North First Street as early as this afternoon.
Safety on the tracks is paramount. Not having trains running for the past three months may have led bicyclists, pedestrians, and motorists to let their guard down around tracks. We urge the public to keep an eye out for trains and maintenance vehicles on the tracks. Everyone near the system should stop, look, and listen for activity.
Phase 4 of the plan, expected within one or two days, also includes test trains only (no passenger service). This phase allows train operators to run their regular route without support staff in the cab. Passenger service, which is Phase 5, is expected to begin towards the end of this week.
Updates will be provided as we get closer to the start of passenger service.
In the meantime, VTA is offering substitute bus service along First Street in San Jose, from the Paseo de San Antonio Station to Baypointe Station, then over to the Milpitas Transit Center along Tasman Drive. It will serve all the light rail stations along the way. This service will operate every 30 minutes on weekdays from 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., and hourly on weekends from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fares will not be collected for this temporary solution which will continue until light rail service has been restored.
VTA's Light Rail Service Restoration Plan
In an effort to ensure employees feel safe, secure and confident to return to their jobs, the timeline to get service running again includes separate but parallel tracks focused on infrastructure and Guadalupe Division employees. Employees will be informed of changes such as interim work locations, new processes or procedures, and security measures that have been put in place.
The restoration of service will be carried out in phases with each phase completed before the next phase can begin:
Phase 1: (completed on June 30, 2021) Outreaching to Guadalupe employees and identifying immediate/interim work locations.
Phase 2: (completed on August 9, 2021) Moving and onboarding critical staff entails evaluations and set up of immediate work locations.
Phase 3: (completed on August 24, 2021) Continuing to onboard staff and begin inspections of facilities to determine any needed repairs before operations begin
Phase 4: Involves infrastructure repairs and a "soft opening" in non-revenue service before being fully operational.
Phase 5: VTA trains will carry passengers with modified service still TBD.
VTA’s priority is to put our people first while also achieving the goal of providing critical transit services to our community. We ask that you keep in mind that the reopening of light rail service is a significant process considering the work that we are putting into making sure our employees are ready to return. Each successfully completed phase is critical to provide a strong foundation for the next phase.
Thank you for your patience while we work through this together.