VTA Offers Free Rides During Public Health Shutdown

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority is doing its part to “flatten the curve” of the coronavirus outbreak by requiring passengers to board through the back doors of buses to maintain enough social distancing for drivers.

The only people who could use the front door are the ones who need the ramp to embark.

Since it’s more important to protect drivers from COVID-19 exposure, the transit authority says it will cordon them off  from the passengers  and stop collecting fares on all buses, light rail and paratransit until further notice.

Yup. From now until who-knows-when, the price of passage is on the house.

Additionally, Rapid 500 connecting San Jose’s Diridon Station to the Berryessa Transit Center will be suspended starting Monday. Customers can take routes 64A, 64B or the 68 instead, according to a VTA bulletin about the changes.

School trips remain canceled throughout the ongoing lockdown and the VTA will keep analyzing ridership data to determine how to adjust service going forward.

“Like everyone else in this unique situation, with employees on leave or working from home,” the agency warned, “we will experience gaps in service.”


  1. Shut down Light Rail for good. And HSR project. And not finish BART. There will never be a better time to reverse these fiascos.

    Blame Trump if you must.

  2. Another great idea by VTA…encourage the public to enter a enclosed space where they are in close proximity to others to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Whoever thought this was a good idea?

    • UR right, Mikey. It’s a perfect way to infect a vulnerable population.
      It’s the same as the markets having seniors only hours—fill the markets with the most vulnerable people, the ones most likely to have the virus and least likely to survive it. What a great way to eliminate the seniors. Full disclosure—I’m a senior, and no way I’d enter any business during seniors only hours.

  3. We should have quarantined the Homeless and Mentally ill in a humane manner that would have gotten them off the street since it is virtually impossible to “Shelter in Place”

    The VTA Light Rail and Buses have now become “Mobile Shelters” and this is not the safe route to go.

    This is a disaster waiting to happen folks!!!

    Since all resources for the Houseless, Homeless, and Mentally Ill have been shut down they have no other option but to wander the streets searching out services (Bathrooms, power outlets, food, shelter, mail, information, medical services, etc.)

    Since the community centers are all shut down, we should be using those as shelters for the homeless.

    Prime Example = Roosevelt Community Center already has an OWL (Overnight Warming Location) that needs to be expanded to utilize the large auditorium. Same with the Bascom Community Center. This could be a temporary intake center to get the homeless showered, cloths cleaned, medically assessed, and then some type of quarantine.

    Mobile showers should be brought in immediately along with clean cloths, hygiene kits, blankets, sleeping bags, masks, gloves, etc……

    Who is in Charge?? Please watch this Video I filmed several nights ago at the Roosevelt Community Center on Santa Clara Street. This is a disaster waiting to happen and someone needs to get on this quick…. Maybe the CDC (Center for Disease Control) needs to view this Video…

    FYI…. The Bus lines leaving and arriving at this facility are the 523, 23, 522, 22, and several others. If you need to use the bathroom your only option is the one filmed in my video. These bus lines travel all of Santa Clara County.

    Wake up San Jose / Santa Clara County!!!


  4. The good news is that free rides are unlikely to affect VTA’s worst-in-the-nation fare collection ratio thanks to board chair Cindy Chavez.

    VTA moved the goal posts from 15% to 10% (i.e., taxpayers now subsidize 90%) after repeatedly failing to achieve even a 15% fare collection ratio. “Adjust the network’s ridership/coverage balance to 90 percent ridership and 10 percent coverage” at https://www.vta.org/blog/vta-board-directors-approves-2019-new-transit-service-plan

    Unlike the few remaining businesses that remain open, nothing about VTA employees diligently wiping down surfaces, cordoning off seats to maintain social distance, or other prudent measures.

    Virus Transit Authority’s “Solutions That Move You” slogan assumes new importance with COVID-19’s diarrhea impact.

  5. How did an operation as inefficient as VTA get those barriers designed and installed on their buses in such short order? What advance knowledge did they have about the virus? They can’t change or modify a bus route without a year of “planning”, yet those barriers were ready to go in no time.

  6. After the emergency situation is over, VTA will blame COVID-19 on the drop in ridership, they will continue doing the minimal daily debris sweep of vehicles, and wonder why even the transit-dependent population has stopped riding.

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