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VTA Trains Return To Service For The First Time Since Mass Railyard Shooting

By Max Darrow

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) -- VTA trains were up and running again for the first time in the South Bay on Sunday in more than three months.

To frequent rider Diana Mecum, it was a cause for celebration.

"I feel like waving and thanking the light rail drivers," she said, "I'm so grateful to them. Thank you VTA light rail drivers for coming back on the job. You are appreciated!"

The service quickly came to a halt after the mass shooting at the railyard in San Jose in May, where a gunman killed nine of his co-workers and then turned the gun on himself.

"Our first priority was to make sure our employees were ready and confident, feeling safe and ready to get back to work," VTA spokesperson Stacey Hendler Ross said. "We brought people back in small groups so they could do trauma recovery counselling and training as well. It has been a fairly long road back, but the priority was to make sure that our employees were ready to get back to work."

Trains are now operating along the Orange Line, which serves the Mountain View Caltrain Station, Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Milpitas Transit Center/BART Station, and the Alum Rock Light Rail Station in East San Jose. They run from 5:30 a.m. to midnight every 20 minutes until 8:00 p.m., and then every 30 minutes the rest of the night.

A portion of the Green Line is up and running as well, from Civic Center to Old Ironsides. They run from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. every 20 minutes until 8:00 p.m., and then every 30 minutes the rest of the night.

The bus bridge along First St. from Paseo de San Antonio to Baypointe and onto the Milpitas Transit Center/BART Station will operate every 30 minutes from 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

The Blue Line and rest of the Green Line will back online in different phases, according to the VTA.

"All of our employees are working dilligently to try and get the rest of the system back up and running as soon as possible," Hendler Ross said. "We have people working practically around the clock to make sure our service is going to be brought back safely and efficiently, and that our employees feel good about doing their jobs."

Paul Singh is a frequent VTA rider who is thrilled the service is up and running again.

"This helps me to use - it's not only my life - other seniors also. Many people love to travel by train and public transport," he said.

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