Transit Talk with the General Manager

September 02, 2016
Henry Li, General Manager/CEO
General Transit Questions
Opening Remarks:

There are a lot of exciting updates and projects underway this month! Extensive efforts have continued to improve service and the public transit experience for all of our riders.

You may have seen that a few of the light rail cars have been spruced up with new exterior wraps. These train wraps not only look clean and fresh, but also encourage riders to download RT's Mobile fare app, RideSacRT.

With the Golden 1 Center opening in October, RT is preparing to provide convenient service to basketball fans, concert goers, and other event attendees alike. When a major event extends beyond RT's regular service hours, RT will operate additional trains for up to one hour after the event ends. RT is perfecting every detail to ensure that getting riders to and from Golden 1 Center goes as smoothly as possible. In addition, RT has a comprehensive communications and operational service disruption plan in place to appropriately manage any potential issues on event nights.

With funding from the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG), there will be special events at select light rail stations prior to some Golden 1 Center events. Additional staffing will be available to ensure that customers receive all the guidance they need. RT volunteers will be placed at key light rail stations prior to events (Sunrise, Watt/Manlove, Franklin, Florin and Roseville Road light rail stations) to help guide customers and provide them with informational handouts. Safety and security staff will also be present during Golden 1 Center event days/nights in the form of increased police staff, transit agents and station guards.

Many Golden 1 Center riders will likely be traveling in groups. To make RT more affordable for families, a group pass will be available on event days/nights. This group pass will allow for up to four people to ride round trip on RT for only $14. The group pass will be available for purchase at the fare vending machines and through the RideSacRT mobile fare app.

Additionally, the renovation of the 7th & Capitol light rail station will be completed this month. Upgrades are also underway on the 8th & K Station and the 9th & K Station.

On September 6, RT will begin installing 29 new fare vending machines at select light rail stations. Twelve of these new machines accept cash, debit and credit, and they can also be used to purchase daily parking at the park-pay-and-ride stations. With these new machines, park-and-ride customers will no longer need to know their space number. To pay for parking, they will simply input their license plate number.

To continue improvements on safety and security, RT will be launching a new reporting app in mid-September called Alert SacRT. Users can report issues on buses, light rail trains, and at stops and stations. To report an issue, users will type their message and attach an optional photo or video. The message will be instantly sent to RT's Police Services department. The app will also allow users to call RT Police directly.

Stay tuned for more RT updates!

Sacramento, CA:  How will light rail work after Kings games? Will there be multiple trains waiting? Or just one set? Or will it be on the regular schedule? And how will folks get information about it?

Reply:  For Kings games and other major events at the Golden 1 Center, RT will be running six additional trains to supplement our regular service. We have designated three stations by which line they serve for riders to board post-event. They are 7th & Capitol (south Blue Line to CRC/Elk Grove), 7th & I Street (Gold Line to Sunrise/Folsom), and 9th & K (Blue Line to Watt/I-80/Roseville). As event attendees arrive at the station, we will load a train and then leave the station when it is full. A special service train can then be called to that station to pick up the next load of passengers. If an event ends after RT's regular service hours, we will have a special train up to one hour after an event. For more information, please visit

Arden-Arcade (Sacramento County), CA:  In the last month or two, I have read this "Transit Talk" Forum and could not help but often read "Route Optimization Study" that you are undertaking. Many of my fellow Arden-Arcade residents are interested in what you will be doing with bus service, and would, for today, like to give you our take over here. We believe we have good coverage 7-Days-A-Week on the North-South corridors: Howe (87), Fulton (26), Morse (82), and Watt (80 & 84). We only wish that Route 84 would operate on a Sunday/Holiday Schedule. The East-West Corridors are less than stellar, as you may or may not know. Our best coverage is on El Camino (23). We want daily service on Marconi (25) as there is no Sunday/Holiday coverage at this time, and we also want Arden (22 & 29) coverage on the weekends, as there is none, especially East of Arden Fair Mall on Weekends. As you can see, Weekend East-West coverage in Arden-Arcade is very "sub-par" to say the least, at best. How can folks participate in the "Route Optimization Study" going forward, and will you hold live community forums on this, besides this monthly online forum? We really want to bring service back, and the sooner, the better for everybody and our regional economy. Do you agree?

Reply:  I tend to agree that although the north/south service is pretty reasonable, that the east/west service is not as robust. That is one of the things we will be looking at more closely in 2017 when we begin the Route Optimization. We have heard Sunday service on Route 25 has been a need and we also get a lot of requests for more service on Route 22 and 29, even though 29 is really only designed as a commuter bus. We're still discussing exactly how the Route Optimization Initiative will work but you can be certain there will be a lot of opportunity to provide input, including through the online chat. Thanks for your great suggestions!

Citrus Heights, CA:  What month will the "Connect Card" as I hear people calling it, be a product available to the entire general public? On rare occasion, I see people riding with one, but perhaps they are testing it, for now.

Reply:  You are correct, that we are currently recruiting riders to be part of the Connect Card soft launch. Soft launch participants will use the system before the general public to help test the Connect Card. This will allow the technical team to address all of the problems quickly before we move to Full Launch. The release date to the general public for the Connect Card has not been determined yet. If you would like to sign up to test the Connect Card, visit

Folsom, CA:  With the Golden 1 Center opening next month, have you been successful with Folsom City Staff and our City Council in agreeing to modify the financial terms of providing light rail service out here, and ultimately getting to a resolution that is amendable and agreeable to all parties that we can ride light rail as late into the night as the entire Blue Line does, and the Sunrise to Sacramento Valley Station segment of the existing Gold Line Does?

Reply:  We're pleased to announce that we'll be running special event trains all the way to Historic Folsom after major Golden 1 Center events. What this means is that after major events such as Kings games or the Paul McCartney concerts on October 4-5, after the event gets out, we'll have special event trains of 4 cars each depart from downtown right after the end of the event. The special event trains that we run on the Gold Line will go all the way out to Historic Folsom. This is part of an agreement RT worked out with the City of Folsom. At this time, we're not adding any new trains out to Folsom outside of the special events.

Carmichael, CA:  I think the overall problem with RT's perception(besides grossly inadequate funding compared to larger systems in the Bay and SoCal)is that 'need' riders dependent on transit are unfairly portrayed negatively on social media by higher-income low-frequency riders(choice riders and non-riders alike)that won't put themselves in their shoes(much like those who complain about retail/food establishments without ever even working a day of their lives in those industries themselves).Contrary to those who baselessly refer to light rail as 'blight rail' or 'crime rail'(some who go as far to say only 'criminals' use it),those who depend on transit as a lifeline are human beings themselves(and many are at least as human as some of RT's worst detractors).I've read news stories about fare evasion;and according to a recent sacbee piece,it seems more prevalent among 'choice' riders than perceptors realize.Out of 4 people in my household,only one of us drives and that one isn't me.In fact,whenever riding RT,I've been know to occasionally run into customers of the drugstore where I work.

Reply:  Thanks for your perspective and comments. You are correct in that fare evasion has not been based on a certain socioeconomic status. The robust fare inspection program will address all fare evaders and provide a better riding experience as we change the culture.

Sacramento , CA:  There is a new bus stop on 9th Street between L St. and Capital Mall. The light isn't operational yet; do you know when the light will turned on (I catch the first bus at about 5:40 am)?

Reply:  We were not aware that the lights were not on. We will be contacting our contractor and the lights should be working within a week. Please call us at Customer Advocacy 557-4545 if they are still not working by next friday.

Citrus Heights, CA:  I want to know why so many parking stalls are blocked off at the Roseville Road Station. We have to pay for parking which very few stations have to do; and now many of the parking spots are blocked off which no explanation given and no answers as to when they will be opened.

Reply:  We are in the process of replacing our fare vending machines and also upgrading cameras at Roseville Road. These enhancements require us to close off some spots while the work is in progress. Thank you for your patience while we make improvements.

South Sacramento , CA:  Are there any changes to any bus routes for 2017?

Reply:  At this stage, we don't have any changes lined up for 2017, but that may change. One of the things we're gearing up for is to take a fresh look at the whole system, which we're calling our Route Optimization Initiative. We're very focused on the opening of the Golden 1 Center right now, which is going to be a huge opportunity to introduce new potential riders to RT. But the Route Optimization Initiative will be one of our next big projects.

CA:  Sir are bus operating funds being used for golden center trains

Reply:  RT has many different funding sources used to operate the system. These funds include, but are not limited to, farebox revenues, state and local funds, federal, contract services and other. Many of these funding sources are not specifically restricted to bus or rail operations. Therefore, the costs associated with operating the buses and trains for the Golden 1 service are a blend of all operating funds.

Sacramento, CA:  Why doesn't the rt run until 1am is it because not many ppl ride it late or because of budget also will fare go up in the next 5 years or you don't know yet due to studying the current new fare raise my last question will be why ain't there hand sanitizer in the bus I know it ain't your duty but how often is things wiped down 80% of the buses are dirty I think a night clean crew needs to be hired clean buses every two days

Reply:  1) Service hours are partly due to ridership and partly due to budget, like you suggested. One thing we have to consider is the limitations of extending light rail service without also extending bus service to help people reach their destinations. Extending the hours also means we have to extend the hours for supervisors, security, etc. 2) The RT Board authorizes fare increases. To date, staff has not made any recommendations to increase fares next year. We are still evaluating the impact of the recent fare increase as we are two months into the new fiscal year. 3) Also, with regard to the hand sanitizer, thank you for your suggestion. I'll share that with our bus maintenance team.

Sacramento, CA:  Welcome Henry Li to Sacramento RT. When will the Connect Transit Card go live?

Reply:  The release date to the general public for the Connect Card has not been determined yet because we are still in the testing phase. In fact, we are currently recruiting riders to be part of the Connect Card soft launch. Soft launch participants will use the system before the general public to help test the Connect Card. This will allow the technical team to address all of the problems quickly before we move to Full Launch. If you would like to sign up to test the Connect Card, visit

Sacramento, CA:  My question is pertaining to light rail schedule availability. Typically in Regional Transit District Offices and aboard the trains, I know that I can obtain a paper copy of the Blue and Gold Lines. For Golden 1 Center Light Rail Schedules, will you be making paper copies of the schedules available in the ways I mentioned earlier in this post, as well as availability of a paper train schedules at the Golden 1 Center information desk? I think this would really help, and with a month to go before the grand opening, I hope this question to you was done where the timing couldn't have been better. Thank you.

Reply:  Thank you for your question. During regular light rail operating service, people will be able to board RT’s regularly scheduled service trains. An additional six supplemental trains will be added on event night. That means approximately 10 trains will be operating post-event (end of game and/or last encore) from downtown stations for a one-hour period traveling in all directions (north, south and east). Because these are special service trains, there will not be paper copies of the schedules. We will have a printed information guide regarding getting to and from the Golden 1 Center using RT. Information regarding RT service will be shared by our partners, including the Golden 1 Center.

sacramento, CA:  Does SacRT have any involvement with implementation of the Bike Share program? Have there been any developments with that?

Reply:  On April 21, the SACOG Board of Directors authorized the release of both RFPs through a unanimous decision. Thanks to the framework and guidance from the Bike Share Policy Steering Committee (PSC) and Project Management Team (PMT), the RFPs will ensure operational excellence from the most qualified candidate. RT's involvement in this program is that RT contributed $100,000 towards this program as we believe this will result in a improved air quality and provide more alternative transportation options.

Natomas, CA:  I have to pay to use the commuter shuttle (Natomas Flyer), unlike Yolo County bus (240, 42 etc) that recognize and accept RT bus passes. Will RT work with Natomas Flyer to allow a universal bus pass?

Reply:  For now the North Natomas Flyer service is going to stay a cash fare, separate from the RT system. RT operates the shuttle on the behalf of the North Natomas TMA.

sacramento, CA:  Has the Connect Transit Card soft launch, well, launched? Or, is RT still trying to get enough participants? Estimated start? Do employees who BUY their transit fare media (like monthly, daily, or single ride) from their employer fall into this group from's SoftLaunch FAQ #5? "5. I receive my transit fare from my employer, can I still participate in the soft launch?"

Reply:  Thank you for your question. We are currently recruiting for soft launch participants. You are able to join and if interested in participating, you may do so by going here We look forward to your participation!

Sacramento, CA:  Good Afternoon, many benches have spider webs, leaves, debris and or odor of urine. I would like to know if there is funding to have RT bus benches power washed. Are they supposed to be cleaned by RT?

Reply:  RT bus stops are managed by our contractor Clear Channel. They are supposed to be cleaning the benches and shelters. Please call our Customer Advocacy if a bench or shelter is in need of cleaning at (916) 557-4545

(Downtown) Sacramento, CA:  Yesterday I took the T9 from 8th and K to 7th and Richards. It was scheduled to come at 2:40 but did not show until 3pm. I called RT customer service and they were not able to get a response from the conductor/dispatcher of the train to find out the ETA status. What is the protocol for the RT train staff/personnel to communicate with RT customer service to relay messages for RT patrons? Also, when will RT customer service have visible access to see real time data for the RT trains to inform customers??

Reply:  We are working on real train time which will allow for anyone to see status of our trains. Until that project comes to fruition we are working on having a better customer information system. The message board is supposed to change with that type of delay. The delay was caused by a signal and switching error which had to be fixed. We apologize for your inconvenience.

Sacramento, CA:  I see that you mentioned in your opening remarks that RT service hours will be extended an hour after an event. Will that include Sunday's?? I'm planning on attending the WWE event on Sunday, October 9, and I'm not certain exactly how long the event will last, but I would like to know will RT be available for regular service/holidays hours during events that land on a Sunday?? Thank You

Reply:  Thank you for your question. When an event ends after RT’s regular service hours, RT will operate special service trains for one hour post-event (end of game and/or last encore). Depending on demand, this will be two to three trains during that time period for each direction of travel (north, south and east). RT will hold one train that will travel in each direction for up to one hour post-event; however, the first train will depart once it’s full. A four-car light rail train can carry 600 to 800 passengers.

Sacramento, CA:  Do you ever see expansion of bus system again

Reply:  In recent budget years, we have not had funding for service expansion. This year, we prioritized improvement of station and vehicle cleaning and ticket inspection, and we've seen terrific results. We have also identified ways to reduce costs and found new revenue sources. Getting RT back onto solid financial footing is one of our main priorities. Measure B would increase sales tax in Sacramento County, a portion of which would go to RT and would increase capital and operating revenues.

Sacramento , CA:  When is RT going to put the bus stop numbers on the new black bus shelters that were installed?

Reply:  RT will replace the bus stop numbers on the new shelters soon. Thanks for being patient while we work through this process.

Lincoln, CA:  Mr. Li, Do you plan on staying with Regional Transit long term as the General Manager to ensure its growth and the purposed changes you are wanting to make? I would like to know that we have a General Manager that has the Company and its Employee's best interests for a great future and for Regional Transit to stay a Great Employer.

Reply:  Yes, I do plan on staying at Regional Transit. We have a lot to accomplish and I have found the team at Regional Transit to be exceptional. I look forward to enhancing our partnerships with the community, business leaders, and others.

Natomas, CA:  Is there a way that RT patrons can request to have a covering over a RT bench bus stop?

Reply:  Yes, please contact RT's Customer Advocacy department at 916-557-4545

Natomas, CA:  Bus route 11 does not go beyond Truxel and Del Paso. The public library, students of NP3, Westlake Charter, Inderkum and that entire community on the opposite side of the I-5 overpass is totally underserved. Will RT add more bus lines to the area of Natomas? And when?

Reply:  Thank you for your question. At this time, there are no plans to expand bus service. Expanding service could be an option in the future if funding sources become available. For service to expand to a certain area, it would have to studied thoroughly to determine the fiscal, enviornmental and socioeconomic impacts. We will pass your comment along to our Service Planning department so they are aware of your interest.

Closing Remarks:
Thank you for your questions. The next session of Transit Talk with the General Manager/CEO will be held on Friday, October 7.