City Council Review: Council Discusses VTA — the Worst Transit Agency in the Nation

By Robert Haugh

In its first day back from their summer recess, the Council had a short meeting. Good thing everyone was tanned and rested.

They had a Joint Study Session with the Planning Commission on the Zoning Code, New Districts, Simplified Processes, Single-Family District Standards, and Placemaking.

They had a lengthy closed session that started at 4:30. We’re guessing that’s where the real action was because the item was a “Conference with Legal Counsel” regarding the 49ers’ lawsuit against the City.  We’ll have to find out later.

Interestingly, nothing was said at last night’s meeting about the Rolling Stones blowing past the curfew last Sunday night. They had a concert at Levi’s Stadium that went past 10 p.m. — the weeknight curfew. We saw some complaints online, so we’ll wait for the City to address this later, too. 

It’s the first time a concert has gone past the curfew since November 2017. That was when City Manager Deanna Santana warned the 49ers and turned up the heat. 


Last month in a report, the Santa Clara County Civil Grand Jury body slammed the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA). VTA provides bus, light rail, and para-transit services. 

They are also the Congestion Management Agency responsible for countywide transportation planning.

They are also the worst transportation agency in the nation, according to the Grand Jury. Ouch.

Here are some charts that show how bad VTA is:

This is not the first Grand Jury in the last couple of decades that came to the same conclusion that VTA is a poorly run transportation agency. This is the third. Double Ouch.

Councilwoman Teresa O’Neill is the VTA Board Chair this year. Last night, O’Neill said she created a VTA committee earlier this year to study VTA governance.  We know she’s spent a lot of time working on VTA issues. So we wish her luck. But it might be too little too late when you look at the above charts.


  1. Funny how we live in a hypocrisy….. not a word said about going past curfew, yet other times we have a scolding of how bad it is from the dais.
    I find it funny this was not before council to extend the curfew especially on a Sunday night when all the kids are back in school and people work the next day. Why suddenly an exemption ? and why did they not do this in public to grant breaking the curfew.
    I sometimes feel our leaders are being selective on what to criticize and what not to criticize

  2. If the City doesn’t enforce a curfew on the 49ers they have no right to tell any restaurant or bar owner to close when they’re supposed to. If the 49ers don’t pay a big fine or have the stadium management taken away from them, then the entire City Council should be recalled.

  3. I tried to take bus and light rail to get to class years ago. I missed a lot of classes because it was so unreliable. I had to drop one of them. It cost me time and money. VTA truly sucks. I’m not the only one who thinks so. A lot of students felt that way. No one at work takes VTA. We can’t afford to be late and lose our jobs.

  4. Thanks Ms. O’Neill and the rest of the VTA board. We need yet another study to figure out the problem. How about you just do your job and look at the numbers. VTA’s ridership in declining and its costs are increasing — by a lot!!! Makes no sense. If you have fewer customers or riders, you should reduce your costs. Why does no one in goverment, especially VTA, seem to understand a basic rule of business.

  5. San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo bankrupted VTA on his watch. After dropping the enormous mess on Teresa O’Neill he skates squeeky clean.
    Liccardo is more concerned with santuary policies than the residents he has swarn to serve. I don’t think Liccardo is so clean.

    Let’s see what Teresa is going to do with this hot potato.

  6. Our tax dollars are pouring into the VTA with little in return. The only thing you can count on are the huge number of pensions we are paying for.

    I really don’t want these people responsible for my health care.

    The VTA is a disgrace squandering one of the wealthiest areas tax dollars.

Leave a Reply