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Service Changes Coming to VTA April 11th

Posted on April 5, 2016 at 12:25 PM Comments comments (0)

On April 11th, VTA will make several service changes along 7 lines along with minor changes to 12 lines, with many coinciding with CalTrain's recent service changes. Until then, though, connecting services between the two transit agencies will be quite random.


If you transfer to VTA from CalTrain, we recommend you catch an earlier train to ensure you can reach your destination on time until April 11th.


To view new schedules, grab a brochure on VTA buses and light rail, or visit VTA's customer service center at:

VTA Downtown Customer Service Center, located at 55A. West Santa Clara Street, San Jose.

VTA Marketing and Customer Service, located at 3331 N. First Street at River Oaks, San Jose.


Email VTA at [email protected] to have the new schedules sent to you. For more details, go to vta.org.

VTA Rolls Out Brand-New Buses for 2016

Posted on January 3, 2016 at 2:35 PM Comments comments (0)

What's more exciting than rolling out new buses for the new year? January 4th brings brand-new 60-foot, clean energy articulated buses to VTA's 522 Rapid line. And if you've ridden on one of MUNI's new buses, you know exactly what these are like, because they're the same!


Built by New Flyer of America, these modern, low-floor (step-free access) buses meet every requirement by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). There is room for bikes on both the interior and exterior of the bus.


Larger doors, increased standing room and free Wi-Fi are just some features of New Flyer's impressive buses. They're run with hybrid diesel-electric power, and lower nitrogen oxide emissions by 95%. 


Similar to VTA's diesel-electric buses rolled out in 2010, VTA expects a 25% progression in fuel economy from the new buses.


The new year was brought new buses! For more details, visit www.vta.org.

Bay Area Transit in 2016: What Can We Expect to Happen?

Posted on January 1, 2016 at 5:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Overall, 2015 was a decently quiet year for the Bay Area's transportation. Both BART and MUNI badly need new fleets, and VTA and BART are in the process of building BART's Silicon Valley Extension. 


BART's Warm Springs Station, in south Fremont, never opened, although projections earlier said it would by the end of 2015. Warm Springs is expected to open this year instead. 


MUNI is still working on the Central Subway, which will extend the T Third Street to Chinatown and dissolve the merge between the T and the K Ingleside.


So to put 2015 in terms, progress was made, but nothing major happened. No extensions were opened, and no new fleet began operation. But, since 2016 has begun, what can we expect from this New Year? What can we predict will happen within 365 days from now? Well, let's try to find out:


Let's start with Bay Area Rapid Transit. BART is expanding rapidly. Extensions to Warm Springs, San Jose and eBART to Antioch are well underway, with plenty of other opportunities to expand further (Livermore, Brentwood, etc.) 


But when are these extensions going to be finished? BART's extension to Warm Springs was supposed to open by the end of 2015, but we know now that didn't happen. In fact, the new station has yet to even begin the test phase.


Now, Warm Springs/South Fremont Station is not projected to open until late 2016, and the whole project is behind schedule. 


The rest of BART's extension, past Warm Springs to Milpitas and Berryessa, is not due to open until 2018, since construction south of Warm Springs is part of a second phase of construction, with Warm Springs being the first phase.


A furthur extension south to Downtown San Jose and Santa Clara is planned, but has failed to gain necessary funding. So, we have no idea when this extension will be built.


But what about eBART to Antioch? eBART has barely begun construction, and the only work being carried out at this point is a third platform at Pittsburg/Bay Point for eBART trains to stop at. Thus, eBART is not set to open until 2018.


Let's move on to MUNI. A few key things occurred last year, including MUNI Forward, the new E Embarcadero, and MUNI Mobile, but 2015 was relatively quiet for San Francisco's Municipal Railway


This year, several very important changes are supposed to be carried out. The most important has to be the delivery of MUNI's brand-new Metro cars, which will take over the disastrous current Breda light rail vehicles. 


MUNI's new cars will begin service this year, and eventually, the total number of cars is set to be 175, MUNI will more than double its current fleet. What's more exciting is that these new cars are being built locally - in Sacramento, by Siemens. 


Other smaller changes include the addition of weekday service to the E Embarcadero and a few more additions to MUNI Forward, slowly revolutionizing the MUNI system.


The Central Subway will also continue construction, but is not projected to open until 2019. When opened, the T Third Street may become the busiest MUNI Metro line.


VTA, as well as MUNI, is going to have to deal with some of the biggest crowds in America on February 7th, when Super Bowl 50 comes to the Bay Area. 


If you're wishing for slightly more recent news, how about new buses in three days? On January 4th, VTA's new buses will be rolled out across the system. And if you've ever ridden in one of MUNI's new buses, you'll know exactly what VTA's new buses look and feel like without looking at one, because they're exactly the same.


Built by New Flyer, 29 new 60-foot articulated buses are going into service on VTA's Rapid 522 line, as well as the future Alum Rock-Santa Clara bus rapid transit corridor.


And for even more recent news, VTA's Day Pass has been eliminated as of today, January 1st. So for anyone who constantly used the Day Pass, too bad! Use Clipper!


VTA, as well as BART, is currently building the Silicon Valley Extension. Milpitas Station is on the rise, but is not expected to open for business until 2018, as well as Berryessa Station, in East San Jose.


AC Transit also had a relatively inactive 2015 year. One of the most exciting things to happen was the testing of brand-new double decker buses on select routes, which we actually got the chance to ride on


If purchased, these eye-catching buses from England and Scotland (they're used in London!) will be used primarily on AC Transit's transbay lines, such as the F and O. Why? Well, ridership is growing, and these double decker bulky buses can seat up to 80 people, compared to the normal 36.


As exciting as these new English-accent-built buses are, they wouldn't enter service until 2017. In fact, these buses haven't even been purchased yet. But if they are, AC Transit will become the sixth carrier to run double deckers, behind Seattle, Davis, San Luis Obispo (one bus), Las Vegas, and Snohomish County, Washington.


For now, 2016 remains fairly uneventful for AC Transit. There will always be the occasional service change, including a current proposed one on changes to Transbay Lines F and J, but for now, nothing crazy is going on.


And what about CalTrain? Last year brought about... not much. New MetroLink cars from Los Angeles were brought up to the Bay Area for extra use on CalTrain, and the modernization of bridges and overpasses continued, but 2015 was mostly inactive.


2016 promises to fulfill a little more excitement and action, as CalTrain inches closer to the complete electrification of the system by 2020. 


This year, CalTrain will implement a new signal system called the Communications Based Overlay Signal System, or CBOSS. CBOSS will eliminate the chance of train-to-train collisions by monitoring a train's every move and ensuring that trains are safe distances from other trains around them.


CBOSS can detect areas where workers are present, or where there is an approaching curve or workers along the tracks. CBOSS gives the operator critical information, like the current speed limit, the train's current speed, and the acknowledgment of a signal change.


If a train operator fails to acknowledge a signal change, CBOSS will automatically apply the brakes to bring the train to a safe stop. CBOSS also all but eliminates the risk of a train overshooting a station platform.


CBOSS can also detect when there's a system failure, such as a crossing that fails to go down, and will slow the train to an adaquate speed through the failure "zone." 


CBOSS plays a critical role in the complete electrification of the system by 2020, and ensures safety for the future. When the California High-Speed Rail Authority is built, CBOSS will prevent collisions between high-speed trains, freight trains, and CalTrain, which will all share the same track.


The other two heavy rail systems in the Bay Area, Capitol Corridor and ACE, should stay relatively similar from now to the end of 2016, apart from heavily increasing ridership on both systems.


Past Oakland, farther east, public transit is often looked down upon. The further-out East Bay was always designed for the car, with wide streets and highways leading to the larger Bay Area cities.


But the further-out East Bay is one of the fastest-growing regions in the Bay Area, especially the Tri-Valley. The only heavily used transit system in the East Bay past Oakland is BART, really. 


But with the East Bay growing rapidly, we'll have to see how much public transit (County Connection, WHEELS, Tri Delta Transit, etc.) in the East Bay plays a factor in shaping the way people get around. 


Ridership on these systems is growing, but the total number of passengers is miniscule compared to other systems closer to the large cities. So, these less-ridden transit systems must further encourage people to leave their cars at home in 2016. It's a necessity for the growth of the East Bay.


Same goes for the North Bay, especially The VINE and Marin Transit. The VINE experienced a sharp decrease in total number of passengers in 2012, at just half a million. In 2014, that number rebounded back up to almost 1,000,000. 


Marin Transit, Golden Gate Transit and The VINE all took a beating in the recession, but are slowly catching up to their previous ridership once again.


Ridership is expected to keep rising through 2016, but it's still necessary to (try to) convince people to use public transport instead. Routes that would most benefit the common rider must be carefully examined and carried out, if these smaller, lesser-known transit systems seek to gain more passengers.


So that, in a nutshell, is what 2016 may look like for Bay Area transit systems. For now, we can only predict what will happen, but 2016 has much potential to be an exciting year, with many more exciting projects expected to come out in the distant future.

VTA Installs New Information Monitors at Light Rail Stops

Posted on December 17, 2015 at 11:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Some of VTA's busiest stations have new passenger information monitors, which provide real-time departures to riders. Out of VTA's 62 light rail stations, 20 have these new signs. Ironic both BART and VTA are replacing signs at the same time!


The 47 inch, LCD flat screen monitors are installed at busy stations and stops that will be used for Super Bowl 50, coming up next year. 


These are the current stations with new signs:

 

  •  Alum Rock
  • Baypointe
  • Capitol
  • Chynoweth
  • Convention Center
  • Diridon
  • Gish
  • Great America
  • Great Mall
  • Lick Mill
  • Mountain View
  • Old Ironside
  • River Oaks
  • San Antonio
  • Santa Clara
  • Santa Teresa
  • Tamien
  • Tasman
  • Winchester


For more info, go to www.vta.org.

VTA Quarterly Service Changes in Effect October 12th

Posted on October 7, 2015 at 10:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Four times a year, VTA rolls out their quarterly service changes, which slightly alter some aspects of light rail and bus service. On October 12th, a few small changes will be made to VTA service.


VTA's Express Line 102 will depart Hansen & Page Mill at 3:15 PM, ten minutes earlier than the previous schedule. In addition, there will be minor schedule changes to other afternoon trips on Line 102.


Schedule times for the 55 will be slightly changed to better reflect the 55X to Fremont High School. Students riding the 55X will not have to hurry as much to transfer from the 55 to the 55X.


Express Line 104 will depart Penitencia Creek Transit Center six minutes earlier, at 6:33 AM, than the original schedule. This will benefit the 104 to get a jump start on traffic. 


Lines 48 and 49 between Los Gatos High School and Winchester Transit Center will depart slightly later than before to reflect Los Gatos' new bell schedule. 


Other minor changes will take place with other lines. To view these slight changes, click here. For more information, visit www.vta.org.

No VTA Light Rail Service Between Mountain View & Whisham Stations September 19th & 20th

Posted on September 16, 2015 at 6:15 PM Comments comments (0)

There will be no VTA Light Rail service from Mountain View to Whisham Stations September 19th & 20th. Passengers will have to use a bus bridge to travel between the two stations. The bus bridge will take 10 minutes longer than light rail service to travel between the two stations. 


During the closure, work crews will be constructing one final set of track, which will cross the westbound lanes of the Central Expressway.


For more details, visit www.vta.org.

The Days to Come are Spare the Air Days

Posted on September 7, 2015 at 11:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Temperatures will soar over the next week, reaching almost 100 degrees, consistently in the 90s. You can expect lots of Spare the Air Days for the coming week. There's never been a better time to ride public transit and reduce CO2 emissions across the Bay Area.


Contribute to a better Earth, and try to ride public transportation to your destination as much as possible. Thank you.

Montague VTA Light Rail Station has Reopened!

Posted on September 7, 2015 at 3:30 AM Comments comments (0)

After 5 months of closure, Milpitas' Montague VTA Light Rail Station has finally reopened. During the prolonged closure, crews made modification to the station structure to make way for a  pedestrian bridge that will connect the future Milpitas BART Station to Montague Station.


The station's main stairways were reconstructed to make room for a future escalator and pedestrian overpass, which will cross Capitol Avenue to the future BART station.


Emergency exit stairways were also changed to better accommodate the anticipated increase in passengers who will transfer from VTA’s BART Berryessa Extension, scheduled to open in Fall 2017.


The new escalator and pedestrian bridge will be built in a later construction phase. With BART more than halfway complete with its Silicon Valley Berryessa Extension, it's exciting to see what will happen next!


For more details, please go to www.vta.org.

Warning Issued for Bus Passengers!

Posted on August 25, 2015 at 6:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Anyone who rides the bus during the morning commute and between 2:30 and 3:30 may experience delays getting to where they want to do. This is due to the fact that many new cars are put on the road once school begins, when parents drive their kids to school.


We advise you to be prepared for possible delays on your bus as hundreds of new cars are added during the start of the school year. The number of cars should decrease as the school year goes on. Thank you.

What do you want to see Improved for Santa Clara County Transportation?

Posted on August 10, 2015 at 12:40 PM Comments comments (0)

VTA has invited the public to speak out on what they think are the most important transportation improvements for Santa Clara County. Through August 31st at 5:00 PM, members of the public can submit their answers to VTA through a "Call for Projects" plan.


All suggestions will be considered at the next update of Santa Clara County's 25-year transportation plan and, if approved, will be funded with a sales tax measure on the November 2016 ballot.


Projects can cover any form of transportation you want: local roads, transit, highways, bike lanes and paths, etc. To discuss your proposed idea, contact VTA at [email protected] or call (408) 321-7544.


For more information, go to www.vta.org.