The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) announced a multi-phased plan to relaunch light rail service, with expectations to resume full service by the end of July, although no firm date is being set at this time.
Service has been suspended since May after a gunmen killed nine people at a VTA light rail hub before taking his own life.
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. Employees will be informed of changes such as interim work locations, new processes or procedures, and security measures that have been put in place.
The restoration of service will be carried out in phases with each phase completed before the next phase can begin:
Phase 1: (currently underway) Outreaching to Guadalupe employees and identifying immediate/interim work locations.
Phase 2: Moving and onboarding critical staff entails fit for duty evaluations and set up of immediate work locations.
Phases 3-5: Involve continued onboarding of staff, infrastructure repairs, and a "soft opening" in non-revenue service before being fully operational. 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. 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.
There may be a need for retraining, in compliance with California Public Utilities Commission regulations, or accommodations to reassign employees to other jobs, according to VTA officials.
The agency’s collective priority is to put its people first while also achieving the goal of providing critical transit services to the community. VTA is asking ridership to keep in mind the reopening of light rail service is a significant process considering the work that is being put into making sure its employees are ready to return.