First phase of BART extension to Silicon Valley to open June 13

May 20, 2020
The 10-mile extension brings BART service to San Jose, the Bay Area’s most populous city.

One of the most anticipated rail projects in the U.S. will have a celebratory ending when Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) trains service the first passengers in San Jose, Calif., on June 13.  

The new service is part of the first phase of the 10-mile BART Silicon Valley Extension, which will be operated and maintained by BART, but was constructed and is owned by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA).

BART General Manager Robert Powers and Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority’s (VTA) General Manager and CEO Nuria Fernandez signed the Project Safety and Security Certificate on May 19, which is the final project requirement before the system can begin serving passengers. The certificate documents that safety analyses and tests are completed, verified and accepted that no safety hazards or vulnerabilities are known to exist that would prevent the Berryessa Extension from being utilized for passenger service.

“Expanding travel options in one of the Bay Area’s most congested corridors is key to an economic revival,” said Powers. “Connecting Silicon Valley to the rest of the Bay Area will not only beef up our public transportation network but create new opportunities for much-needed housing near transit.”

On May 22, 2020, Powers will sign a Notice of Intent to Operate and present it along with the Safety and Security Certificate and documentation to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the regulatory agency for utilities in California. The CPUC has 14 days to approve the verification of safety and issue a letter paving the way for initiating passenger service on the extension. BART and Santa Clara VTA have been working closely with the CPUC to ensure a successful review period and receive certification to operate.

The $2.3-billion extension broke ground in 2012 and Santa Clara VTA transferred control of the extension to BART in July 2019. Pre-revenue testing began in November, but both BART and Santa Clara VTA agreed to pause the testing and develop a revised work plan to ensure a safe and reliable opening of the service.

Santa Clara VTA has worked to maximize connections throughout the region with the opening of its Transit Centers at Milpitas and San Jose in late December and a redesign of its bus and light-rail network. Santa Clara VTA’s new Line 500, which also goes live on June 13, will connect the Berryessa Transit Center to San Jose State University, downtown San Jose and the Diridon Caltrain Station.

Phase Two of the project will extend BART service six miles from the Berryessa Transit Center into downtown San Jose.

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.