Light Rail Service Still Suspended

Light rail service in Santa Clara County is still down. The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) continues to suspend all light rail service after the shootings at Guadalupe Yard May 26. VTA briefly ran shuttle buses in the place of light rail from May 27 until June 1, stopping that shuttle bus service afterward. There is currently no ETA for when light rail service will be restored.

Shortly, we’ll have tips for you to urge VTA to provide a proper timeline to when light rail service will be restored. Meanwhile, here are some tips for you to use bus (and Caltrain) service that parallels light rail.

Table of Contents

Background

This is a guide that will help you map which VTA bus lines (or commuter rail like Caltrain) serve or are a 5-10 minute walk from which light rail stations. Services are listed by light rail line, bus line(s), and light rail station they serve or are near.

Be advised that some bus lines that parallel light rail are up to 2 miles away. Be prepared to walk between light rail stations and the bus lines. Call VTA Customer Service at (408)321-2300 or email VTA Customer Service to obtain information on current bus and rail options running parallel to or serving closed light rail stations.

WORD FROM THE WISE

Take note of the VTA light rail shuttle buses currently running between Milpitas BART station, Great Mall, and downtown San Jose (Paseo de San Antonio) via Tasman Dr. and N. 1st Street. More information on those shuttle buses are here.

Unsure how to ride a VTA bus and pay the necessary fare? Read our first-time transit rider’s guide for help.

Light rail stations served by other rail service require separate fare and tickets to use the those rail systems.

ORANGE LINE (Mtn. View <-> Alum Rock via Milpitas)

  • 21 – Mountain View, Middlefield
  • 523 – Moffett park, Lockheed/Martin
  • 56 – Lockheed/Martin, Borregas, Crossman, Fair Oaks
  • 55 – Reamwood, Old Ironsides
  • 59 – Tasman
  • 44 – Alder (formerly I-880/Milpitas), Great Mall, Milpitas Transit Center
  • 66 – Great Mall
  • 60, 47, 71, 66, 70, 44, 77 – Milpitas TC.  60 links up to Metro/Airport stop
  • 70 – Hostetter
  • 61 – Berryessa

The 71 bus runs parallel to VTA light rail’s Orange Line along Piedmont and White between Milpitas Transit Center and Alum Rock stations.  For Alum Rock station, get off at White/Alum Rock and transfer to a VMC/De Anza-bound 25 bus to Alum Rock station.

BLUE LINE (Old Ironsides <-> Santa Teresa)

  • 20 – Orchard
  • 60 – Metro Airport.  60 links to Milpitas TC stop
  • 61 – Civic Center
  • 72, 73 – St. James, Santa Clara
  • 23, 66, 68, 523 – Santa Clara, Paseo de San Antonio
  • 23, 523 – Convention Center, Children’s Discovery Museum
  • 25 – Virginia
  • 25, 56 – Tamien
  • 26 – Curtner
  • 37, 71 – Capitol
  • 64A, 83 – Ohlone/Chynoweth
  • 27 – Blossom Hill
  • 66 – Snell
  • 27, 68 – Cottle
  • 42, 68 – Santa Teresa

The 66 and 68 bus lines run parallel to VTA light rail’s Blue Line to the east, along S. 1st St. and Monterey Highway.  For the 66 bus line, it uses Skyway, Snell, and Santa Teresa to Kaiser SJ (near Cottle light rail station). The 68 also serves Cottle light rail station, then travels along Santa Teresa to the Santa Teresa light rail stop. Both Cottle and Santa Teresa light rail stations have FREE parking, so you can “park-and-ride” your car at either lot, then take the 66 or 68 bus to and from downtown San Jose, respectively.

VTA's 66 and 68 bus lines run parallel to Blue Line light rail along N. 1st St. and Monterey Highway.
VTA’s 66 and 68 bus lines run parallel to Blue Line light rail along N. 1st St. and Monterey Highway.

The 64A bus line runs parallel to VTA light rail’s Blue Line to the west, via Bird, Cox, Lincoln, Almaden Expwy, Coleman, Winfield and Chynoweth to the Ohlone/Chynoweth light rail stop. The same 64A bus line also serves the former Almaden and Oakridge light rail stations at the Winfield/Coleman and Winfield/Blossom River bus stops, respectively. The Ohlone/Chynoweth and Almaden light rail stops have FREE parking, enabling you to “park-and-ride” your car there. From either parking lot, ride the 64A bus to and from downtown San Jose.

GREEN LINE (Old Ironsides <-> Winchester)

See Blue Line light rail stops from Orchard thru Convention Center and Children’s Discovery Museum for buses stopping near or at these stations.

  • 64B – Race (at Meridian)
  • 25 – Fruitdale
  • 61 – Bascom
  • 56 – Hamilton (61 at Hamilton/Bascom)
  • 26 – Downtown Campbell (60 at Campbell/Winchester)
  • 60, 27, 37 – Winchester

For travel between Winchester and Blue Line stops at Blossom Hill and Cottle, use the 27 bus line as a short cut.

Bus Alternatives To Light Rail Destinations

Unsure how to ride a VTA bus and pay the necessary fare? Read our first-time transit rider’s guide for help.

Campbell and Downtown San Jose

Normally travel on VTA light rail between Campbell and downtown San Jose? You have two alternatives. Note that both alternatives require a transfer to another bus to reach downtown San Jose.

Alternative 1 (Winchester Blvd.)

Ride any Milpitas-bound 60 bus line (northbound) along Winchester Blvd (west of downtown Campbell) to Stevens Creek and Winchester. There, transfer to any Alum Rock-bound 23 bus line (eastbound) or Berryessa-bound 523 Rapid bus (eastbound to W. San Carlos/Market in downtown San Jose.

Reverse the above when traveling from downtown San Jose to western portions of Campbell.

Alternative 2 (Bascom Ave.)

At Bascom and E. Campbell Ave. (east of downtown Campbell), ride any 61 bus line bound for Sierra/Piedmont (northbound) to Bascom and San Carlos. There, transfer to any Alum Rock-bound 23 bus (eastbound) or Berryessa-bound 523 Rapid bus (eastbound to W. San Carlos/Market in downtown San Jose.

Reverse the above when traveling from downtown San Jose to eastern portions of Campbell.

Great Mall

From Downtown San Jose and South San Jose

From Downtown San Jose (1st/Santa Clara) or South San Jose (Cottle), ride the 66 bus line to Milpitas BART Station. At Milpitas BART station, walk through to the crosswalk over Montague Expressway pedestrian bridge and follow signs to the Great Mall. The 66 bus line ends at Kaiser San Jose, near Cottle light rail Station.

Alternately from downtown San Jose (Paseo de San Antonio light rail stop) ride the FREE shuttle buses VTA is running between downtown San Jose and Great Mall. Information on that shuttle bus is found here.

As a second alternate between Downtown San Jose and Great Mall, ride either the 22, 23, or 522 Rapid buses to Alum Rock and King (Mexican Heritage Plaza). On King Rd., transfer to a Great Mall-bound 77 bus to Milpitas BART station. At Milpitas BART station, walk through to the crosswalk over Montague Expressway pedestrian bridge and follow signs to the Great Mall.

From Campbell, Santa Clara, or Metro/Airport light rail station

From Winchester light rail station, Santa Clara Transit Center/Caltrain Station, or Metro/Airport light rail station, take the 60 bus line to Milpitas BART station. At Milpitas BART station, walk through to the crosswalk over Montague Expressway pedestrian bridge and follow signs to the Great Mall.

Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC)

With Metro/Airport light rail station closed, three (3) VTA bus lines on two corridors link downtown San Jose and Mineta San Jose International Airport. Those bus lines are the 22, 522 Rapid (Palo Alto <-> Eastridge), and 60 (Milpitas BART <-> Winchester LRT Station via SJC Airport). Allow at least 30-45 minutes total travel time. Note that the 522 Rapid can be up to 10 minutes faster along El Camino Real and The Alameda than the 22 local bus.

From Downtown San Jose to SJC

From Santa Clara/1st, Santa Clara/Market, or Arena bus stops, ride any 22 or 522 Rapid bus bound for Palo Alto (Westbound) to the Santa Clara Transit Center/Caltrain Station. Upon getting off, walk across the parking lot then cross the street to the bus stop for the 60 bus line. At that bus stop board the next 60 bus bound for Milpitas (Northbound) and get off at the terminal for your airline.

At the bus stop at Santa Clara Caltrain Station, look for an electronic sign at the bus stop telling you when the next 60 bus to Milpitas (northbound) due to arrive in. When riding the 60 bus, listen carefully for announcements for the airline and bus stop for the terminal for your airline.

From SJC to Downtown San Jose

From either terminal at SJC, follow signs for the VTA 60 bus stop for that terminal. Board the next 60 bus to Winchester (southbound) to the Santa Clara Transit Center. There, cross the street to the bus stop for the 22 (Eastbound) bus stop to downtown San Jose and Eastridge Mall. (TIP: go right around corner of the 22 bus stop. At that corner is the bus stop for the 522 Rapid (Eastbound) bus to downtown San Jose and Eastridge Mall.)

It’s roughly a 10-15 minute ride aboard the 522 Rapid or 22 bus line from Santa Clara Transit Center to downtown San Jose.

San Jose State University

Courtesy of their Associated Students department, here’s a list of VTA bus lines serving the San Jose State University campus in downtown San Jose.

Conclusion

This will be used in future as a guide for people to use alternate VTA bus routes, in the event of another system outage. Soon, we will have steps to help you encourage VTA to develop a time line for when light rail service will be restored.

Let’s all stay safe out there.

Eugene Bradley
Founder & CEO, Silicon Valley Transit Users

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