April 6, 2020

Coronavirus: VTA light rail service suspended after operator tests positive


Light rail service has been suspended indefinitely across the South Bay after a Valley Transportation Authority employee tested positive for COVID-19.

In an email sent to all VTA employees and posted publicly by their union, general manager and CEO Nuria I. Fernandez said the agency received the positive test late Wednesday evening and immediately shut down service. There were six trains still running.

The employee who tested positive was an operator in training. In her email, Fernandez advised all operators to “shelter in place until they receive further instructions to quarantine and/or be tested.”

“While we learn the extent of the impact and exposure, we must take swift action to protect the health and safety of our employees and the public,” Fernandez wrote in the email.

There is no timeline to resume light-rail service. Instead, VTA will shift its focus to its bus service, which “is more nimble and can adapt to the various needs of our community.” The trains will continue to receive thorough cleaning and remain in operating condition but won’t run again until further notice.

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VTA had seen its light-rail ridership fall 82% since Santa Clara County instituted its first shelter-in-place order early last week. It had already announced plans to reduce service across the board in wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

When it shut down light rail service Wednesday night, it was running two-car trains every 30 minutes.

BART has experienced similar rider shortages, with most recent data showing ridership more than 90% lower than normal. It recently announced its trains would stop running at 9 p.m. each night but will continue to come every 15 minutes during the day.

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Source:: The Mercury News – Health

      

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