California’s Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) has reported that restoration of light rail service will “likely start later than the end of July, as originally expected.”
Service has been suspended since the May 26 shooting at the VTA’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. Last week, the agency announced that plans were under way to resume service by July 31, though no firm date was set.
“VTA is working diligently and compassionately to restore the service we know the community relies on, and we are making every effort to bring back that service as soon as is safely possible,” the agency reported on July 13, the same day the Board of Directors received an update on planning efforts.
According to the six-phase service restoration plan it released (see chart above), service could begin in August.
The plan “outlines a complex set of requirements that must be met before trains are once again carrying passengers along the three light rail routes throughout Santa Clara County,” VTA said.
Phase One: Completed June 30, this phase determined workspace needs and assessed the “readiness of employees” to return to work, the “most important of the restoration requirements,” VTA said. “The main buildings at the Guadalupe yard, which housed the Operations Control Center (OCC) and the Way Power and Signal Department, are not structurally ready to be used, so offsite locations needed to be identified for employee workspaces. Decisions as to whether the Guadalupe buildings will be remodeled or demolished and completely rebuilt have not yet been made.”
Phase Two: Currently under way, this phase will ensure that “employees have the resources they need to make their way back to work, and moving equipment, technology and employees to temporary locations,” the agency said. “VTA staff has identified specialized resources with expertise in similar tragic events to provide services, consultation and continued wellness and safety programs for our employees.”
Phases Three-Five: These phases cover “continued onboarding of staff, infrastructure repairs, and a trial run of service without passengers before being fully operational in the fifth phase.”
Phase Six: This phase will focus on service increases outlined by VTA’s “pre-pandemic new transit service plan from 2019.”