November 8, 2010
Check out the classifieds for a range of professional opportunities in public transportation!
VTA Introduces ‘Commuter Express’ Light Rail Service to San Jose, CA
At a time when many transit agencies are being forced to cut service to balance their budgets, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) in San Jose, CA, is introducing new service and amenities to attract new riders and grow revenue.
VTA introduced the first major change in light rail service since its inception, nearly 23 years ago, with the Oct. 4 launch of VTA Commuter Express. This new operation adds six non-stop, peak-hour commute trips—featuring free WiFi—in the system’s most heavily traveled corridor, from the Almaden Valley in south San Jose, through downtown, to North San Jose.
“Rather than wait for an economic recovery to stimulate ridership, VTA looked at ways we could improve the efficiency of our system now, to get a better return on the investment that has been made in our light rail service,” said General Manager Michael T. Burns. “Some improvements, like the Commuter Express, were identified that could be implemented in the short-term at a relatively low cost to the organization.”
Commuter Express is part of an initial phase in delivering operational improvements identified in the Light Rail System Analysis adopted by the VTA Board of Directors in May 2010. The two-year study provided the first-ever comprehensive evaluation of the system’s effectiveness in meeting present and future market needs. The final product of the analysis is an investment program that will serve as a guide for VTA to make operational and capital improvements to the system over the next 20 years.
“When we ask the public what they want, they consistently tell us they want faster travel time and more frequent service,” said VTA Board Chair and San Jose City Council member Sam Liccardo. “VTA remains committed to improving service to our customers, and the faster Commuter Express—combined with new on-board WiFi access—offers an exceptional upgrade to our passengers, all at the same fare as the regular service. We expect this will attract new riders and improve customer satisfaction.”