SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) – One week after a VTA employee killed nine co-workers in a mass shooting at the San Jose rail yard, officials said it could be longer than expected before light rail service gets back on track.
“There are discussions within our organization about how to bring light rail service back on the short term, but that could be weeks or months,” said Stacey Hendler-Ross, a VTA Spokesperson.READ MORE: UPDATE: San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf Hit-And-Run Victim Identified As Hotel Worker Headed Home
Immediately after the mass shooting at the VTA rail yard last week, light rail service was cancelled indefinitely.
Then the backup plan, bus bridges along the rail route, was cancelled as well.
Now VTA said even regular bus service is running slower on many routes because many bus drivers and support staff are taking time off to deal with the tragedy.
On May 26, a 57 year-old VTA employee opened fire during a meeting, killing nine of his colleagues before taking his own life. Autopsy results released Wednesday confirmed all of the victims died from multiple gunshot wounds.
The tragedy took a sizeable chunk of the light rail power and maintenance staff. Then there are questions about how, when or even if to reopen the control center, where so many lives were lost.READ MORE: Suspect Sought In Robbery At El Cerrito Pharmacy
“We’re trying to balance the needs of our passengers with the needs of our employees. Our priority at this moment has to be our employees who are grieving,” Hendler-Ross said.
VTA light rail riders are finding it harder than ever to get around.
“Without the trolley and being stuck in this thing, it’s like nothing. I can’t go anywhere,” said Richard Cisneros, who is now completely dependent on public transportation for doctors’ appointments, shopping and visiting his sons because of his disability.
“You don’t realize until you’re handicapped how much help these things are, how much you really need them,” Cisneros told KPIX 5.
One rider who did not want to be identified says he’s paying more to get around by using Uber and Lyft.
“It’s a very sad tragedy but they could still do their stuff. Now they’re nowhere clear on how to get from point A to point B. It’s very difficult, it’s very difficult,” he said.MORE NEWS: Bay Area McDonald's Restaurants Offer Free COVID Shots and Menu Items
VTA is apologizing for the inconvenience to riders and is receiving help from neighboring transit agencies who are sending buses and drivers to help augment the system. The agency is also asking riders to be patient and call customer service for help in piecing together routes.