How YOU Can Help VTA Run On Time More Often

By now, you’ve heard all the stories about traffic increases in Silicon Valley and its effects on local quality of life. Their ongoing affect on Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) buses and light rail in Silicon Valley has proven to be one factor in their declining on-time rate. You experience it as your bus or light rail train running later than schedule, causing you to be late for work, school, or other commitments.

More information – and how YOU can help buses and light rail in Silicon Valley run on-time – are below.

Source: TransForm
Source: TransForm


If you take any Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) bus or light rail train, you likely see this as a slow moving bus as it must maneuver in an out of heavy traffic. This is especially true on main thoroughfares in Silicon Valley like El Camino Real, Stevens Creek Boulevard, and Monterey Highway. On these roads – and others – buses must wait up to a minute for vehicular traffic to clear before leaving a stop. On at-grade crossings along any VTA light rail line, notice the four to five – or more – rows of vehicular traffic waiting for the train to cross. For VTA light rail, some of the delays are noticeable on N. 1st Street and Montague Expressway, where light rail must wait up to two minutes for traffic along Montague Expressway to cross North First Street.

The worsening auto traffic According to VTA’s latest available Transit Operations Performance report, VTA buses are running 84.9% on-time, and VTA light rail running at 85.0% on time. These are decreases of 12.1% and 11% for VTA buses and light rail from 2003-2004 respectively, according to research historical on-time performance statistics from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC).

Actions YOU Can Take To Make Your VTA Ride More On Time

Until VTA completes projects to help speed up buses and make light rail run more efficiently, utilize these tips identified from transit riders’ groups and transit agencies in

Several particular “keep the system running on time” tips worth noting:

  • Plan ahead – know where you are going, what VTA bus(es) and/or light rail you need to take and their schedule, and the proper fare or Clipper Card paid and ready upon boarding.
  • Make sure you’re at the bus or light rail stop at least five (5) minutes ahead of the scheduled time. This gives you time to get ready to board and have the proper fare (cash, day passes, or Clipper Card) ready upon boarding.
  • Know the area the bus or light rail is traveling? Help other passengers who are not familiar with the area and need help getting to their destination. This lets the bus driver or light rail operator focus on maneuvering thru traffic and signals, speeding up the trip for everyone.
  • NEVER RUN AFTER OR BANG WINDOWS ON A DEPARTING BUS OR TRAIN! Outsiders banging on the windows of a bus or light rail train sound like a collision to the respective operator. Because the operator must stop to investigate, this makes the bus or light rail train needlessly late. Worse, you can easily get hurt or even die due to an accident, collision, or falling under a departing bus or light rail train. Simply wait for the next bus or train.

A more formal page will be assembled with additional tips on how we all help increase VTA’s bus and light rail on-time performance. Meanwhile, use the tips above to help keep VTA running (more) on time for everyone – including yourself.

Eugene Bradley
Founder, Silicon Valley Transit Users

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