Transit Talk with the General Manager

November 04, 2016
Henry Li, General Manager/CEO
General Transit Questions
Opening Remarks:

Thank you for joining the GM Chat today. The new momentum at RT continues as we roll into November.

I am happy to announce that RT opened the pedestrian bridge at Cosumnes River College (CRC) this past Monday. The pedestrian bridge connects the campus parking garage and the light rail station platform. In addition to providing park-and-ride passengers a safe way to get to and from the Cosumnes River College Station, it provides an attractive entrance to the east side of the campus. The CRC pedestrian bridge is the final piece of construction of the Blue Line to CRC light rail extension.

For added convenience during Golden 1 Center events, RT now has an Event Round-Trip Pass. Riders can purchase a round-trip fare prior to an event with a single transaction, which will eliminate the need to stand in line at a fare vending machine afterward. The round-trip pass is $5.50 per person, the same price as two Basic single fare tickets. It can only be purchased at a Parkeon fare vending machine on the day of a Golden 1 Center event. Passengers must have a Golden 1 Center event ticket in conjunction with the round-trip fare to be valid.

While the much needed rain has caused some of our "Station Activation" events to move from the parking lot onto the train, there are several more scheduled. Station Activations are fun pre-parties at key light rail stations to get riders energized before Golden 1 Center events. I encourage everyone to stop by one of the events listed below to shoot some hoops, jam out to music or grab a bite to eat while you wait for the train.

" Saturday, November 5 - Franklin Station (3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.)
" Sunday, November 6 - Franklin Station (12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.)
" Wednesday, November 9 - Franklin Station (4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.)
" Thursday, November 10 - Sunrise Station (4 p.m. to 6 p.m.)
" Monday, November 21 - Watt/Manlove Station (2 p.m. to 4 p.m.)

For details, visit and scroll down to the "Service Calendar" section.

November is also the start of the holiday season and I want to remind everyone to ride light rail or take one of RT's many bus routes into the heart of downtown for some holiday magic at the Downtown Sacramento Ice Rink located at St. Rose of Lima Park (7th and K streets). Riders can save $2 off admission when you show your valid RT ticket or pass. There are several special events planned for the ice rink, including RT's Princess Day on Sunday, November 6 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Skaters will be greeted by princesses, and are encouraged to glide their way around the rink in their favorite fairy tale costume.

In keeping with an annual RT tradition, I invite you to take a free ride on RT's Holiday Bus. Designed and created in-house, the colorful 40-foot Holiday Bus will be easy to spot as it travels on different routes throughout the Sacramento region spreading cheer from Thursday, December 1, 2016 through Monday, January 2, 2017.

Visit for more information about these events and other RT programs.

As always, your feedback is most important. I appreciate all of the suggestions and positive comments received to date. Now let's get to your questions.

Sacramento, CA:  In Downtown Sacramento, many bus routes end on 8th at F, nearest the Headquarters of the Sacramento County Sheriffs Department. I hope you will consider changing these handful of bus routes where their layover is instead located at the Sacramento Valley Station, like Route 30 is already today. One bus route at Sacramento Valley Station these days is not enough. It is not a station where one can ride the Sacramento RTD and get places other than the Eastbound direction. If routes at 8th & F moved into Sacramento Valley Station, I believe you would clearly offer destinations in many directions, not just Eastbound. Do you agree? If so, how can this become something going from just an idea and a thought here in the chat box to actually something that there would be action and changes implemented? What timeline would we be looking at?

Reply:  Space is limited at Sac Valley right now, but you'll be happy to know that the City has plans, which RT is very involved in, to build a more modern intermodal facility, which would be able to handle more bus routes, and our plan is to relocate Routes 2, 6, 51, and other buses that currently lay over at 8th & F Street to the Sac Valley station.

Sacramento, CA:  Can you please put a bus stop on Route 62 in the Southbound direction. Currently there is one stop at 2nd Ave and the next one is at McClatchy High School. An ideal location would be at the 4th street Light Rail Station.

Reply:  I'm going to forward this to our Facilities Department to look into. Our ability to install stops at new locations is subject to both engineering and regulatory limitations that can make it very difficult, expensive or not practical to place a stop at a specific desired location. Some of our limitations include safety-it is safe for passengers, accessible- that it is ADA-compliant, practical-that it is not obstructed by trees for the length of a 40-foot bus, doesn't create unsafe visual obstructions to vehicular traffic and doesn't take away too much street parking for the nearby businesses.

Sacramento, CA:  Why are seats permanently removed near each end of most light rail cars?

Reply:  Seats are being removed to accommodate a greater number of passengers riding who use a wheelchair. We need to remove seats fleet wide because each individual light rail vehicle is able to be the first car of any train, and the lead end of the lead car of every train is the only accessible car for that train.

sacramento, CA:  Once the Connect Card soft launch is done and any discovered issues are resolved, will the real (hard?) go-live launch allow those who buy tickets from their employer at a discount to make use of the Connect Card immediately? Or, will there instead be an extended or separate soft launch for those who buy tickets from their employer at a discount? Either way, I am looking forward to using the Connect Card!

Reply:  That will depend on your employer. Each employer has a different pace at which they can transition over to Connect Card. We'll bring them online, including the discount they provide employees, as fast as they can make the transition.

Sacramento , CA:  I live in the River Park area, I have called in numerous complaints about your operators speeding down Messina Drive in a residential neighborhood. Your operators continue exceed the speed limit down this street. No matter how many times I call in, nothing gets done about it. Can you please make your operators follow the speed limit in this neighborhood? It will be greatly appreciated.

Reply:  I will be sure to forward this information to the Customer Advocacy and Transportation Departments.

Sacramento, CA:  Would RT consider an easier way to notify RT management of non-security issues. For example, there is a trash can along the #30 route that is overflowing (for several days now) and not an easy way to notify RT. The driver said he would not take the information and the customer advocacy online feedback doesn't seem like the appropriate place.

Reply:  You can report those issues under "other" in the same reporting app AlertSacRT. We then send in a facilities work order to get the issue taken care of.

Citrus Heights, CA:  Is Regional Transit preparing for and or planning for implementing any service changes: major and/or minor or both, when the calendar changes from 2016 to 2017? I cannot find anything as of today on the website, but perhaps this is a good monthly forum to reach out on this topic. I am always curious about service changes. Thank you.

Reply:  Not at this time. We are gearing up for a Route Optimization Initiative that would take a big-picture look at the system overall.

Sacramento , CA:  I reported this to you in your September chat about the bus stop on 9th Street between L St. and Capital Mall. The light is still not operational. You instructed me to contact your Customer Advocacy if the light was not fixed in a week, which I did. I was told by Customer Advocacy their was a power problem with the fuse. It's been over two months, is it because RT realized it's to costly to fix the light?

Reply:  The issue is with the power source, which we are still working on resolving.

Sacramento, CA:  When do you think the windows of the train be cleaned, so gross

Reply:  The windows of the train are cleaned nightly. Some of what you may be seeing is a film that we put over the windows to keep them from being vandalized. This film can make the window look dirty when it really isn't, but it does prevent vandals from etching the glass. If you are riding and observe a dirty window, you can also report it using RT's "Alert Sacrt" app and report it under the "other" category Your information will be passed on to our Light Rail Vehicle Maintenance Department.

Sacramento, CA:  There has been only 1 ticket check this whole week from Folsom to Capital Mall. First it started off good with consistent ticket checking and now that has stopped.

Reply:  We have increased our fare inspection staff significantly but we have gaps in our coverage that we plan to overcome by 2017. One of the reasons you may not get inspected is if a transit agent or officer is engaged on your train issuing a citation to someone on a different car they may never make it to your car before you deboard. Hopefully you will see your transit inspection staff this upcoming week.

Sacramento, CA:  Have noticed also no security at 7th and Capital any more that too was going strong and stopped

Reply:  7th and Capitol started off with a higher level of security staffing when we opened the remodeled station. Currently the guard is present M-F 4 p.m.- 12 a.m.

Sacramento , CA:  Yesterday, the bus operator on route 30 at 1:15 PM on bus#2881 was instructed to put a full load of passengers off the bus at Alhambra and J St., in order to get back on schedule. Can you please tell me how is this putting the "Customer First"?

Reply:  I checked, and there was a misunderstanding by a newer operator. The operator was supposed to go into "drop-off only" mode, i.e., to change the headsign to "bus full" and not pick up any NEW passengers, which is a common practice we train for. The operator nevertheless misunderstood, but has been coached on this already, so it won't happen again. I'm very sorry for the inconvenience.

Sacramento, CA:  What is the timeline for the improvements you described at Sacramento Valley Station?

Reply:  The improvements have been designed, but the construction of the new bus/rail station is a part of the City's larger project to redevelop the Railyards. Unfortunately, I do not have a timeline for the completion of this project.

Sacramento , CA:  When is RT going to be hiring transit agents and bus drivers?

Reply:  We continuously have posting for both positions. Please check the RT job line periodically for current job listings 916-556-0297.

Sacramento, CA:  Eye on Sacramento reported in a Soapbox in the Bee that "RT remains un-reformed". Does RT have any response to this?

Reply:  As you stated in your question, this piece is indeed from the Soapbox section, meaning this statement is a matter of opinion held by its authors. While this opinion is held by some, we disagree. There has been a number of changes to the business practices at Regional Transit and the quality of service provided. These changes are evident throughout the system. We have received a great deal of positive feedback from riders who have seen these changes first-hand. More changes and improvements will continue in to the future.

Sacramento , CA:  The new buses overhead sign that displays bus stops, is too dim, it's hard to read if your seating in the back, can something be done to make them brighter?

Reply:  We are aware of this problem and are working with the sign vendor to correct it.

Laguna, CA:  In addition to the individual in River Park complaining about excessive operator speed, I have noticed that in downtown, your operators tend to speed as well. In one instance, on 8th street I noticed an incident where several cars attempting to park in a parking garage were backed into the street. The bus operator did not reduce speed at all and made a sudden lane change (no signal) around the cars, narrowly missing them, running the light and crossing an entire traffic lane to pull into the 8th & Q bus stop with a hard stop and nearly running me down. This was Aug 23, Route 51 bus # 2853. And by NO means an isolated incident. I've also witnessed operators cutting off cars, speeding, particularly down 7th and 8th streets, and generally driving unsafe. Is there an "on time at all costs" mandate I'm not aware of?

Reply:  Let me assure you that our primary concern is for safety and that there is not an "on time at all costs" mandate. We do have supervisors in the field monitoring the performance of our operators. I would also encourage you to report unsafe driving behavior when you see it.

Sacramento , CA:  With the recent surge in ridership Is it safe to say that RT will not be cutting routes in the future?

Reply:  Although ridership to the Golden 1 Center has been great and exceeded expectations, it's important to keep in mind that ridership to and from the Golden 1 Center is only a small part of RT's ridership. We may carry over 1,000 people each way to a Kings game, but we usually carry about 2 million boarding passengers each month. So while we do want to celebrate how well our Golden 1 service has been received, and while we do think this will help grow ridership on the rest of the system over time, as more new potential customers are exposed to RT for the first time, it's not correct to say that RT has had a surge in ridership overall. In fact, one of the Board's priorities right now is to translate a lot of the postive feedback we've had about improvements in service quality into a growing base of customers. As for service cuts, we're not planning any. We were very pleased to be able to find some creative budget solutions to avoid service reductions earlier this year. But we are still very committed to maintaining a tough and cautious budget posture.

CA:  Why are there often 3-car trains (rather than a full 4-car train) during commute hours when more room is needed?

Reply:  It is our practice to run 4-car trains at peak hours, unless it is a train made up of our newer (refurbished) UTDC cars, which are longer and can only be run in a 3-car train at a maximum. We have been experiencing some shortages in vehicles which has resulted in 3-car trains where we would normally operate 4-car trains. We try to mitigate the impact by operating the short trains on the lighter trips, but this is not always possible. This problem will improve as more of the UTDC cars are placed in service. We are making progress and put our third UTDC train in service this week. The other reason we may be operating a short train is when there is a mechanical problem with a specific vehicle and we need to remove it from service at a time that prevents us from replacing it before a commute time.

sacramento, CA:  Is RT planning to have the Light Rail reader boards display real time arrivals of trains since currently they only display projected based on the schedule?

Reply:  This is a project we're working on. We have an equipment vendor on board and expect to have real-time operational mid-year next year.

Sacramento, CA:  Why do the new blue signs at each end of light rail cars stating that the seats are reserved for elderly and handicapped no longer say "when at the front of the train"?

Reply:  Thank you for your question. I would like to check with my staff on this. Would you please email me this question at, and I will provide you with a response.

Comments from Henry Li: 

Thank you for your questions. The next session of Transit Talk with the General Manager/CEO will be held on Friday, December 2.

Comments from Henry Li: 

Thank you for your questions. The next session of Transit Talk with the General Manager/CEO will be held on Friday, December 2.

Closing Remarks:
Thank you for your questions. The next session of Transit Talk with the General Manager/CEO will be held on Friday, December 2.