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VTA light rail shuts down after driver tests positive for COVID-19

Bay Area

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — Light rail stops along north First Street and elsewhere across the South Bay are closed.

Signs displayed would alert would-be riders that service has been suspended.

“We learned of an operator-trainee for our light rail service tested positive for COVID-19 late yesterday,” VTA spokesman Ken Blackstone said.

With six trains in operation at the time, the entire system was shutdown about 11 p.m. Wednesday night. VTA ordered all operators to shelter in place until they receive further guidance about quarantine and possible testing.

As for any risk to riders…

“Operators have no contact with the general public,” Blackstone said. “They are inside of a cab and have no interaction with riders, unlike a bus driver.”

Those buses must now pick up the slack going forward. VTA says buses are more nimble and can adapt to the changing needs of the community. Temporary bus bridges may be necessary.

It’s not clear how long the trains will be idle.

“I can’t speculate as to the how long the suspension is going to be,” Blackstone said. “We are actively working through. Our goal is to re-open as soon as it is safe to do so.”

VTA says both the trains and buses were already being deep-cleaned and sanitized prior to the trainee-operator’s positive test.

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