Santa Clara VTA light-rail service returns

Aug. 30, 2021
Limited service started Aug. 29 more than three months after it was suspended.

Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) welcomed riders back to its light-rail system on Aug. 29 after suspending the service on May 26. Serve returned in time for football fans to use light rail to travel to Levi’s Stadium to watch the San Francisco 49ers win their game against the Las Vegas Raiders, 34-10.

In a series of Twitter posts marking the return of trains, Santa Clara VTA thanked its riders for their patience.

Light-rail service had been suspended for more than three months following the May 26 shooting at the authority’s Guadalupe Yard where nine employees were killed: Abdolvahab Alaghmandan, Adrian Balleza, Alex Ward Fritch, Jose Dejesus Hernandez III, Lars Kepler Lane, Michael Joseph Rudometkin, Paul Delacruz Megia, Taptejdeep Singh and Timothy Michael Romo.

As the authority helped its employees work through the emotional impact of the tragedy, it had to contend with operational impacts, as well. A temporary bus bridge ceased operation due to limited staffing levels and an initial target to restore light-rail service at the end of July was revised.

Santa Clara VTA put into place a six-phase restoration plan, which included the usual testing steps required of new or returning service, but also incorporated employee-focused markers to ensure employees were ready to return to work.

Starting Aug. 30, trains will operate along the entire Orange Line between 5:30 a.m. and midnight with all stations served at 20-minute headways through 8:00 p.m., when trains will serve stations every 30 minutes. Limited service on the Green Line between Civic Center and Old Ironsides stations will occur between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. and a bus bridge will operate every 30 minutes along First Street from Paseo de San Antonio to Baypointe and onto Milpitas Transit Center/BART Station 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

The light-rail service is operating fare free through Sept. 12 and the authority says it will continue to return service on the Green and Blue Lines 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,” said the authority.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.