Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) has begun a five-phase plan to restore light rail service by the end of July, but “no firm date can be set at this time,” the California agency reported.
“We know our light rail passengers are eager to see trains running again,” VTA wrote in a July 8 website post. “We are too.”
Light rail service has been suspended since the May 26 shooting at the agency’s Guadalupe Light Rail Yard in downtown San Jose. There were 10 fatalities and multiple injuries. The gunman, a VTA employee, was among the dead.
“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,” VTA stated. “Employees will be informed of changes such as interim work locations, new processes or procedures, and security measures that have been put in place.”
VTA provided details on the five phases of service restoration:
• Phase 1: Currently underway, this phase involves outreach to Guadalupe employees and identifying immediate/interim work locations.
• Phase 2: VTA will move and onboard critical staff, which entails fit-for-duty evaluations and setting up immediate work locations.
• Phases 3-5: VTA will continue onboarding staff and making infrastructure repairs, and will initiate a “soft opening” in non-revenue service before full operations resume. “For example, after going through the onboarding process, light rail operators will operate trains in non-revenue service with no passengers before operating in revenue service,” VTA explained. “Way Power & Signal (WP&S) staff will check out their new work location and visually inspect the line rather than start actual inspections or repairs.”
VTA pointed out that “[t]here may be a need for retraining, in compliance with California Public Utilities Commission regulations, or accommodations to reassign employees to other jobs. VTA’s collective 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. We will keep the public updated on completion of phases. Thank you for your patience while we work through this together.”