Transit Talk with the General Manager

January 06, 2017
Henry Li, General Manager/CEO
General Transit Questions
Opening Remarks:

Happy New Year!

Welcome to the first GM Chat of 2017. While we look forward to continuing our positive momentum for the New Year, it's also a time to reflect on our successes of 2016.

RT made a system-wide overhaul for the opening of the Golden 1 Center, which proved to be successful with increased ridership and renewed confidence from the region in RT's ability to exceed expectations and be a valued partner.

As part of RT's commitment to make improvements to stations system-wide, RT completed the renovation of the 7th & Capitol, 8th & K and 9th & K light rail stations.

We also improved station, stop and vehicle cleanliness and saw a reduction in crime and an increase in fare inspection by placing additional staff in those critical areas along with the implementation of the new fare, and safety and security mobile apps.

Last October, in partnership with the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG), RT launched an innovative program called Station Link. Under the Station Link program, passengers who take Uber, Lyft or Yellow Cab to or from any of our six key light rail stations receive up to $5 off their ride from one of six key light rail stations.

Along with these improvements, RT staff is working hard to continue to streamline costs, look for additional revenue opportunities and create efficient ways to enhance the system.

The New Year brings us the long-awaited Connect Card, which is building in momentum. To learn more about it, visit The Connect Card will be available on other regional transit agencies in late January.

RT plans to re-envision its service plan to better reflect the regional mobility today, and prepare for future growth. This process will be achieved through RT's Route Optimization Initiative.

Also planned for 2017 is RT's Strategic Vision Workshop on Monday, February 27 in the RT Auditorium (1400 29th Street) where you can learn about RT's Transition Vision; Comprehensive Transformation/Overhaul; Major Challenges Ahead; Strategic Vision Timeline; and Major Initiatives.

RT will continue to progress on a number of priority regional capital projects, including providing technical support for the Downtown/Riverfront Streetcar project and planning for the Green Line to the Airport light rail extension.

Our commitment to our passengers and our "Customer First" policy remains our highest priority.

I take your feedback very seriously and appreciate the suggestions and comments that I receive here and at Now let's get to your questions.

Folsom, CA:  Is there any update in Folsom regarding the truck accident? Has the company involved owned up to the mistake? Will SacRTD go after them and the driver involved to recover any reconstruction costs, plus interest? We hope for a resolution to this accident soon, and that service gets back to normal sooner, rather than later. Thank you.

Reply:  The company and driver were identified and RT's Risk department is working to recover costs for the damage and disruption. Staff is working diligently to restore service, which is expected to be some time late in February.

Rancho Cordova , CA:  First, thanks for cleaning up stations and trains and providing more fare inspectors. My question is what can we do when people board the train reeling of pot?

Reply:  Unfortunately, with the legalization of marijuana for recreational use and cultivation (with some limitations) there is not much we can do about the smell of those who use. We do have a "no smoking" policy at our platforms and onboard our vehicles.

Sacramento, CA:  I live near Howe on the 82 line and a new grocery store is opening. This makes it six plus two colleges plus a hospital the line services. It's congested. Any plans to increase running times if at least during peak hours?

Reply:  Not at the moment. Due to our budget difficulties, we do not have the funding for additional operating time. I will ask our Scheduling department to take a look to see if we can make any adjustments that might help a little without adding any new buses to the line.

Sacramento, CA:  why have the "new" trains been downgraded from (3) to (2) cars in the morning on blue line? There's rarely 2 seats open for me to sit with my child. Also the new train have poor ventilation to filter out the marijuana smells

Reply:  RT is currently conducting repairs on some of the vehicles. You should see more vehicles in service within the next couple weeks. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Citrus Heights, CA:  What is the Sacramento Regional Transit District doing about bus trip cancellations. Sometimes I have been late to work as a result of this, and then get a write-up for being late for something out of my control. Is there a way to completely eliminate bus trip cancellations, going forward?

Reply:  Bus trip cancellations are difficult to control due to late notice of staffing shortages. We are working on a more streamline process for riders to be notified in a timely manner.

Sacramento, CA:  I saw someone try to use their new connect card on the 51 and it wasn't working. The driver had to check the passenger's receipt to verify she had filled it. This made me very wary in adopting this technology. Is RT aware of this issue?

Reply:  We are currently in the "soft launch" phase of the Connect Card, which means those who have signed up and are using the card are also testing the system and reporting any issues. RT will in turn, correct those errors before a larger population begins to use the card. RT Operators are aware of this and will allow card-holders to board when the card does not work.

sacramento, CA:  How many houses are likely to be razed to accommodate the Green Line on Truxel? How many trees will be cut down? How many streets will be closed or impeded? We have gotten conflicting answers of 50, 100, and nothing will be lost. How do we find out?

Reply:  The exact impact on trees, property, etc. can't really be known until the final design stage although the environmental review covers some of the potential range impacts. Some of the background work is available online at: If you would like more information, please email the project manager, Jeff Damon, at

Sacramento, CA:  Can you provide better real-time service disruption information? Last night for instance I waited from 6:20 pm to 6:55 in the cold for the Gold Line train; it skipped one whole cycle and there was no information conveyed either on the digital sign or website. We riders need information to make decisions on whether to wait or find alternative rides!

Reply:  There was a service disruption on the Gold Line around 5:25 p.m. last night. Service was restored around 6:15 p.m. and the service disruption message was pulled around the same time. Typically when a service disruption ends, there are residual delays. It sounds like your trip time was in the middle of regular service resuming. I encourage you to follow us or check updates on Facebook (Facebook/SacramentoRT) or Twitter (@RideSacRT). You don't have to have an account to see what we post.

Sacramento , CA:  When will RT start the route optimization we heard about a couple of chats ago? Also with Measure B's failure will we see cuts to an already broken system?

Reply:  Although we don't have any money budgeted for expansion, we do not expect to have to reduce service at this time. In regards to the Route Optimization Initiative project, we're still discussing the project scope and funding.

Sacramento, CA:  How are ridership numbers performing? RT was in the news with declining ridership last year, has the trend changed? What ridership increases have been identified due to the Golden1 Center?

Reply:  Overall, RT ridership has declined slightly; however, revenue is increasing indicating that more people are paying when they ride light rail, which is most likely due to the increase of fare inspections. Golden 1 Center attendance using the bus and rail lines have been good, and we hope these new riders will continue to utilize the system for other trip types, including work, school and other events.

Sacramento, CA:  Can you adjust route 72 schedule to align with the light rail's arrival better? In the evenings the 72 leaves 5-10 minutes before the light rail shows up to the Watt/Manlove & Mather Mills Stations. Thanks

Reply:  Due to multiple locations where buses connect with light rail trains (i.e., Route 72), we are not always able to make Route 72 trips connect well with all trains. I will ask our Scheduling department to take another look at the evening connections.

sac, CA:  what is happen with connect card? what happen with electronic bulletin board?

Reply:  The Connect Card is currently being used by several hundred users and more are signing up every day. When you purchase more than $5 in fare this month, you can get your Connect Card for free. Once you have the card, go online to register your card in case of loss. You can also purchase additional fare on your Connect Card online ( No need to wait in line at the Sales Center. At the end of the month, other area transit agencies will be implementing the Connect Card technology as well, making transfers between transit systems easy. If you are referring to the electronic message signs for the Gold Line, they now reflect both the schedule and service disruption information.

South Sacramento / Elk Grove, CA:  You have mentioned the "Route Optimization Study" in past Transit Talk Sessions. Is that going to be introduced at the Board Meeting on Monday? I usually watch on Metro Cable Channel 14. If you don't plan to introduce the "Route Optimization Study" at Monday's Board Meeting, which Board Meeting date do you plan on having it on the agenda?

Reply:  I'm glad you're interested in the Route Optimization Initiative project, but it's not on the agenda for Monday's Board meeting. We're still discussing the scope for the project.

Folsom, CA:  Have not any official word on the Gold line to Hidtoric Folsom. What information to you have.

Reply:  Due to the extensive damage, we expect to have repairs completed by late February. Thank you for your patience.

South Sacramento, CA:  Your Route 81 can be very confusing sometimes because not every route goes to the end of the route. Have you considered changing the name of the routes to be like 81A and 81B on the top of the bus so we can tell the difference?

Reply:  The destination sign should tell you whether the bus is headed for Florin Towne Centre or all the way to University/65th Street Station, but some of our operators have told us the same thing, that an 81A and an 81B would help riders avoid confusion. There may be some technical reasons why they are not able to post this. I'll have staff look into this. Thank you for your suggestion.

sac, CA:  I was told Light Rail ticket that expire after boarding are not excepted by transit agents?

Reply:  This is correct. Single ride tickets and daily passes have time and/or date expirations. A single ride ticket is only valid for 90 minutes. One method to assure you don't have expired fare is to purchase fare through our mobile fare app, RideSacRT, so that you can purchase another timed fare if needed. The validity of the ticket is only good until it's expired and not whether you boarded when the fare was still valid.

Sacramento, CA:  I read that there is no smoking at bus stops or light rail stations. But I am seeing a lot of drivers go stand on the driver side of the bus and smoke. Shouldn't they follow the rules too? And why are there so few signs, all of which are too small to notice from any distance?

Reply:  If you observe an operator smoking, you may report the incident (date, time, location, etc) to the Customer Advocacy department by calling 916-55-4545. Keep in mind that we cannot stop someone from smoking on a public sidewalk. We will do our best at providing proper advisement.

Folsom, CA:  My question is when will the folsom gold line trainsbe back on schedule? We have to catch the train and one more bus to go to was good before the incident. Now we are always late. Can you make surethis is resolved soon and/or make the buses start 5 to 10 mins later locally in sacramento

Reply:  We apologize for the inconvenience of this service disruption. Our staff is working diligently to get the line back up and operating; however, there was severe damage, which has required us to have parts specially manufactured to make the repairs. At this time, we are anticipating a late February completion date, but will keep riders updated if there are any changes.

Fair Oaks, CA:  Good Afternoon Henry, I live 200 ft from Sunrise Blvd. In Fair Oaks. I work about 1000 ft from the Sunrise station in Rancho Cordova. Yet there is no reasonable way for me to take a bus to work. Is there a plan for a express to run down Sunrise? What plan does RT have to combat the amount of cars that commute on Sunrise everyday? Thanks, Reid

Reply:  We used to operate a bus on Sunrise Boulevard to the Sunrise Station. That bus route was diiscontinued about seven or eight years ago due to budgetary crisis. We saw a lot of the riders transition to other routes like Route 21 that serve some, but not all of the same stops. This has made us more efficient, by carrying more people with less resources, and it still achieves a good reduction in commuter congestion on Sunrise Boulevard. This may be something that we can revisit when we implement the Route Optimization Initiative.

Sacramento, CA:  why is the parking lot at Power Inn a pay lot? There are never more than a handful of cars parked there!

Reply:  All of RT's park-and-ride lots within the City of Sacramento limits, are designated as paid lots regardless of the number of people utilizing the lot.

Rancho Cordova , CA:  What's the progress of the new refurbished UTDC cars for when they can start running on the Gold Line?

Reply:  Half of the UTDC cars have been refurbished and are on the system. Unfortunately, they are only able to operate on the Blue Line until platform modifications are complete at some of the Folsom stations.

Sacramento, CA:  Any chance the #34 Will convert to a neighborhood ride type of loop, connecting with #30 to go downtown?

Reply:  We plan on looking at a number of different ways to restructure Route 34 as part of our Route Optimization Initiative project, which others have asked about. This is a route where there have been a lot of questions over the years about how we might want to re-think it.

Sacramento, CA:  What happened to the fare checkers? I have not had my ticket on the Gold Line checked in at least 6 weeks; transients are creeping back on the trains due to no fare checking.

Reply:  The transit agents/officers are still in service. Sometimes you will notice a gap in coverage due to our staff being injured or on vacation. In 2017, we have plans to enhance our coverage so you will continue to see the inspection staff and hopefully more often.

Folsom, CA:  Buses from Iron Point station does not work in connecting Folsom buses at Glenn Dr. Can this be fixed?

Reply:  We looked at trying to make this connection, but have not determined a method to do so based on the bus travel time and when the trains arrive.

Sacramento, CA:  I am sure if you talk about Route 82 at the Strategic Vision Workshop one of you will come up with a brilliant plan to make it better.

Reply:  We look forward to reviewing all the routes to see how we can optimize our system. Thank you.

Sacramento, CA:  I have heard that it's too much trouble to change schedules to be able to have buses and trains connect more efficiently. But yesterday I had two connections where I missed my bus or train by two minutes. How do you justify the change to the 72 Saturday schedule when we used to arrive two minutes before train was scheduled to depart from Mather Light Rail and now the 72 bus arrrives two minutes AFTER the train leaves Mather Light Rail? This totally baffles me when we then have to wait 28 minutes for the next train.

Reply:  When we opened the light rail extension to Cosumnes River College in September 2015, it forced us to adjust the times on both the Blue Line and the Gold Line trains. In addition, we adjusted several dozen bus routes on weekdays, Saturdays and Sundays to make sure the buses would connect with the trains. I'll ask our Scheduling department to take a look at the weekend Route 72 to see if any issues were overlooked. Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

Sacramento, CA:  Jeff Damn just cancelled our appt. because I solicited other questions from my neighbors. We have spent a year trying to talk to someone. How do we do it?

Reply:  Please send an email to

sac, CA:  Is it possible to have the gold line times return to the signs? The blue line has their times & an intermittent notice that refers to the gold line delays. Thank you

Reply:  Message boards at Iron Point, Glenn and Historic Folsom station should be the only stations with disruption information only. All other message boards should be working correctly. I will have staff check into this right away. Thank you.

Sacramento, CA:  A Green Line meeting is on the time line for Spring, 2017. Will we have an engineer who can has specific answers? (not another PR firm who is just there to collect happy thoughts)

Reply:  Since you have many questions about the Green Line that we are unable to cover in the scope of this hour-long GM chat, please send an email to

sacramento, CA:  How long is the Connect Card soft launch expected to continue? I currently buy discounted Single Ride tickets from my employer, so I am wondering when my employer will be able to work with RT to offer fare/passes for the Connect Card since my employer is not participating in the soft launch.

Reply:  We are currently going through the list of employers in the area. If we have not made contact with your employer, and your employer is interested, they can reach out to the Customer Advocacy department (916-557-4545) and they can assist with answering any questions about Corporate Accounts.

Sacramento, CA:  Could transit tax pass when city Sacramento only

Reply:  It's hard to say. There are a lot of pros and cons to attempting a transit-only tax and to limit it within the city only. We will continue to look at other funding options.

Sacramento, CA:  Will you re-evaluate the Truxel alignment due to community objections and death of Measure B?

Reply:  There have been a number of questions and complaints submitted about the Truxel alignment for the Green Line today. RT did a thorough alternatives analysis over a decade ago which decided on Truxel as the locally-preffered alignment, as opposed to I-5 or other routes to the airport. Although we're not considering reopening the alignment, I appreciate you taking the time to write in and express your concerns. More information is available on the Green Line project website at

Sacramento, CA:  Regarding the no smoking, why are signs so few and far between and so small? Also, who are we supposed to tell when there never seem to be any security officers around?

Reply:  The best way to report the issue is through our reporting app, Alert SacRT, which can be downloaded for free from the App Store or Google Play.

Closing Remarks:
Thank you for your questions. The next session of Transit Talk with the General Manager/CEO will be held on Friday, February 3.