Roadmap for Resuming Light Rail Service


Updated: Monday, August 30 at 5 p.m.

As of Sunday, August 29, VTA entered Phase 5 with the reopening of portions of the light rail system for passenger service. 

The Orange Line, from Mountain View to Alum Rock, is fully operational, which includes serving the Milpitas Transit Center and the BART connection. Hours of operation for now are 5:30 a.m. to midnight, with trains running every 20 minutes until 8 p.m., at which time trains will go to every 30 minutes. Part of the Green Line is also on track, from Civic Center to Old Ironsides with 20 minute service from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., and 30 minute service after 8 p.m.

The Bus Bridge along first street from Paseo de San Antonio to the Milpitas Transit Center will continue to operate every 30 minutes from 5:30 am to 8:30 p.m., with free fare until light rail is fully operational.

Service on the remaining segments of the Green and Blue lines will come back in phases. As we continue to bring back employees safely and compassionately, we will update the public on the level of light rail service we can safely continue to provide.

Thank you for all the good work and dedication to restart VTA light rail service!

Roadmap to Resume Light Rail Service

VTA developed a plan to resume light rail service and is moving through phases to achieve this goal as soon as possible. There are two critical elements to this operation – the infrastructure side, and the people side. The timeline features separate but parallel tracks; however, both must achieve the goal in each phase in order to advance to the next.

Each phase involves bringing various workgroups back to the Guadalupe Light Rail Yard and other, temporary, worksites. Early phases require proper onboarding of employees and mandatory trauma and recovery training by third party mental health professionals. In this process, there are initial steps prior to full-time work responsibilities/schedules.

Employees are informed of any changes such as interim work locations, new processes or procedures, and security measures that have been put in place. Training involves a “soft opening” of work location before actual work assignments resume. Soft openings are tailored for each individual workgroup. 

This is in line with our collective priority to put our people first while getting back to the goal of providing critical transit services for our community. 

For questions or feedback about this plan, please email

timeline to restart light rail updated 082921


Phase 1: Outreaching to Guadalupe employees and identifying immediate/interim work locations

Phase 1 began mid-June and was completed on June 30. This phase identified immediate work locations to relocate staff and allowed employees to retrieve personal items and/or work items that need to be moved. Phase I accomplished the following goals:

The People Side: Staff outreach began with Guadalupe employees who were essential for Phase 1 (WP&S and OCC staff). Contact was made to understand their needs to return to work comfortably and safely. These face-to-face or video conference meetings were in collaboration with VTA and the unions.

In addition, a Customer Care Team reached out to ensure they were aware of counseling resources made available to employees and their families.  In addition, VTA worked in collaboration with the unions to conduct face-to-face or video conferences with each of the workgroups. 

The Infrastructure Side: Workgroups were identified for worksite relocation while the remodeling of certain areas at Guadalupe takes place. There are three types of relocations that will need to take place: 

  • Immediate relocation that will allow employees to work for the next 90 plus days. Cerone Building K is the primary location for WP&S staff with on rail equipment stationed at the Lick Spur.
  • Interim relocation will be for employees to work for the next 2 to 5 years depending on the duration or work to be done (remodel vs rebuilding). This location will take 90 plus days to be made ready thus the requirement for the immediate location.
  • Permanent location which results in remodeled or rebuilt buildings A and B.

Staff identified equipment that required movement to the immediate work locations. These items have been packed and readied for the move.

Phase 2: Moving and onboarding critical staff entails fit for duty evaluations and set up of immediate work locations

Phase 2 began on July 1 and was completed on August 9. The goals for this phase accomplished: 

  • Completed move to immediate locations;
  • Recruiting critical staff needed to reopen Guadalupe and to remain open;
  • Identifying government resources to provide services and consultation for implementation of bringing back staff, and continue wellness and safety of staff;
  • Worked on interim locations (lease negotiation and preliminary design of work interim location);
  • Determined readiness to complete needed safety inspections required before operating trains;
  • Developed service plan options with flexibility for service based on realistic staffing levels;
  • Began process of notifying WP&S staff of return to work for training and information about new work location if applicable.
Phase 3: Critical staff returns to work, begin inspections and needed repairs

Phase 3 began on August and was completed on August 24. The goals for this phase accomplished the reboarding and retraining of over 350 Guadalupe employees while system, track and overhead inspections continued.

A primary focus in this phase was Rail Re-Activation. A Rail Re-Activation Oversight Committee (RROC) was formed with the goal to complete safety inspections and verifications in order to provide the General Manager with a letter of recommendation for the re-opening of light rail revenue service to be submitted to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The CPUC received this letter on Saturday, August 28.

Phase 4: Non-revenue service begins

Phase 4 began on August 24 and was completed on August 29.

This phase, which involved employee recertification and retraining, meant the public began to start seeing trains out on the system that are not in service for customers, or non-revenue service. Operators, along with supervisors and support staff, ran test trains from the Guadalupe yard to Baypointe Station in North San Jose along North First Street.

Phase 5: Revenue service begins

Phase 5 began the morning of Sunday, August 29.

See the announcement here:

Phase 6: Increase in light rail service, additional resources and succession planning

More details will be provided.