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Home>News and Media>Connect with VTA>Safety around Light Rail is Serious Business

Safety around Light Rail is Serious Business


The light rail system is the backbone of VTA’s transit network. It operates 22 hours a day, seven days a week without incident on a regular basis.
Today’s incident involving a troubled individual is our opportunity to impress upon the fact that the high voltage light rail system is not a place to trespass or interfere with operations. 

Much of the system has two side-by-side tracks. Trains can run on any track, in any direction, at any time. Walking along the tracks, other than crossing the embedded track in downtown San Jose and designated intersections, is strictly prohibited and dangerous.
Our trains are powered by electricity through the Overhead Contact System (OCS) which carries between 750 and 850 volts of direct current. The light rail system is engineered so sections of the OCS can be de-powered, either remotely or on-site, while other sections remain in operation.

Today we were extremely fortunate because we were able to proactively power down before the individual made contact with the high voltage lines. Unless there is an emergency or extenuating circumstances, the entire overhead system is fully powered and can cause electrocution upon contact.

During serious service disruptions, like the one VTA experienced today, alternate bus service is provided to carry passengers around the affected area to the nearest operating light rail station. VTA communicates service disruptions with passengers through service alerts, social media, the public address system and electronic notification signs at station platforms and on trains. Roaming field supervisors and/or ambassadors are also dispatched to key locations throughout the system to provide personalized assistance for passengers.
We want to thank our customers for their patience and apologize for the inconvenience it had on the morning commute.
VTA makes safety a top priority and is always evaluating processes, procedures and features of our system to improve safety and to adapt to changing security needs. This is a group effort and is best achieved when rules are followed and customers help to notify us of any suspicious behavior or activity.
Remember if you see something, say something.


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