Transit Talk with the General Manager

March 02, 2018
Henry Li, General Manager/CEO
General Transit Questions
Opening Remarks:

Welcome to the March 2018 Transit Talk with the GM!

Last month SacRT debuted SmaRT Ride, the new on-demand transit service in Citrus Heights. SmaRT Ride allows residents to hail rides using a smartphone, similar to other ride-sharing services. It's easy -- just download the free Microtransit by TransL?c app from the App Store or Google Play and then schedule a curb-to-curb trip when needed. Rides can be tracked in real-time, and it's only $2.75 per trip or $1.35 for eligible discount riders (seniors, students, and persons with disabilities). Riders can also use their SacRT monthly pass. I am pleased to report that this innovative service has been successful so far and because of that, we will expand the service area to Orangevale within the next couple of months. That expansion will include a connection to light rail at the Historic Folsom Station.

Tomorrow, Saturday, March 3, is the 2018 Capitol Beer Fest so why don't you leave the driving to SacRT. The Fest returns to Capitol Mall this year, which means it's very close to several downtown light rail stations; and, better yet, SacRT is offering festival-goers free rides. Visit to view or print the free ride flyer. For event information and tickets, visit

Before the school year comes to a close, we encourage all teachers to take advantage of the SacRT Class Pass to the new Sofia Tsakopoulos Center for The Arts. In an effort to ensure that all students have the experience of enjoying children's theater, SacRT is providing free class passes to teachers who want to take field trips on transit to the new Sofia. Located at 27th Street and Capital Avenue in midtown, SacRT's 29th Street light rail station is just five blocks from the new theater, and bus routes 30, 38 67 and 68 have stops just a block or two away. Teachers and school administrators should contact the Sophia to schedule their field trip.

If you are wondering about the new art wrapped trains you have seen traveling on the light rail system, wonder no more! We call this 'Rolling Art.' SacRT partnered with the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission to select four local artists to create artwork that would adorn four SacRT light rail trains. Ruby Chacón, Linda Nunes, Kerri Warner, and Donine Wellman are the artists, and all have created fun and inspirational designs for all of us to enjoy. Using existing resources, we were able to cost-effectively improve the look of aging light rail trains and energize the diverse communities in which we serve.

Speaking of art, the historic Mills Station Building, located at the Mather Field/Mills light rail station on the Gold Line, is now the Mills Station Arts and Culture Center (The MACC). Upcoming shows include TAPIGAMI on Saturday, March 3 and Sunday, March 4 from noon to 6 p.m., and again on Saturday, March 10 and Sunday, March 11. Admission is free. Numerous artistic and cultural events are planned for 2018, produced by the Cordova Community Council Foundation. The MACC activities are made possible in part by funding from the City of Rancho Cordova Community Enhancement Fund.

Now let's get to your questions.

Sacramento, CA:  I have a question about fare compatibility between the bus and the train. I have a Connect Card. A ticket or a card swipe is valid for 90 minutes on the train. If I transfer to the bus within the 90 minutes, is the fare still valid? Same question in reverse: if I swipe on the bus, is it still valid on the train within 90 minutes. This issue does not seem to be mentioned on your website. Even aside from the Connect Card, there should be compatibility or uniformity between fares on the train and the bus. A train ticket should be valid for a bus fare within the time limit. The reverse should be true - if there were bus tickets. I can imagine that many people take a bus to a train stop and continue from there on the train. There should be one ticket valid for such a trip, which includes a transfer. I do realize that most people ride RT with some kind of pass or card, which settles this whole issue, but what about people who pay cash? That’s my concern. Thanks.

Reply:  Thank you for your question. I am glad to hear that you are using our Connect Card. Connect Card offers free transfers between bus and rail for 90 minutes after your first boarding. There were many reasons that SacRT chose to eliminate transfers years ago for cash and prepaid ticket including operational challenges that we are now able to overcome with electronic fare media such as the Connect Card and ZipPass. SacRT is excited to be able to bring back free transfers on these platforms and encourages riders to transition to electronic forms of fare media.

South Sacramento , CA:  Can you provide us with the status of the Route Optimization Study (ROS)?

Reply:  Earlier this week, we had our first presentation to our Board of Directors. The emphasis of the presentation was on the choices a transit agency has to make between coverage and service frequency. Do you spend your resources to give a lot of people a little bit of service, or do you serve a smaller area but provide a better level of service? We are still at the very beginning of the ROS and in the early stages of data collection and analysis. Our Planning staff has been working with the consultants every day to provide them data and background on our system. Please watch for upcoming opportunities for public engagement.

Rancho Cordova , CA:  Wil the refurbished cars ever be used on the Gold Line or are they just going to be for the Blue Line? I haven't seen a service train on the Gold Line with the refurbished ex-VTA cars.

Reply:  The refurbished ex-VTA cars will operate on both the Blue and Gold Lines in the near future. We have focused the use of these vehicles on the Blue Line because the Blue Line passes our light rail maintenance facility. As we are continuing our commissioning activities with these vehicles, operating past our maintenance facility is very helpful.

Sacramento, CA:  Hello, I was wondering if there are current talks or plans in implementing potential EV charging stations within RT light rail station or RT district facilities. As consumers and businesses are pushing towards renewable energy I find it interesting that RT has no charging stations near or on their properties. I myself would like it if I was able to bring my EV and park it at a station and have it charging while I go to work by light rail. I know their is a lot of programs that offer assistance in implementing charging stations as I’ve seen several around downtown area.

Reply:  The short answer to your question is yes, we would like to have provisions for public EV charging at our some of our light rail stations with park and ride facilities. We are pursuing several options for doing this in a manner that takes advantage of some of the assistance that you mentioned in your question. While we see this as a beneficial amenity for our customers, we want to implement it in a manner that limits cost to SacRT.

Sacramento, CA:  A follow up to the fare question: if I go from the train to the bus, should I tap the connect card on the bus? If so, does it know that my train fare is still valid (within 90 minutes, of course) and not charge it again?

Reply:  Yes. We ask that riders using the Connect Card tap each time as you board the bus and prior to boarding the train. The fare that you are charged for your first tap is valid on any subsequent taps within 90 minutes. You will notice the device on subsequent taps display "transfer successful" with no charge to your Connect Card.

Sacramento, CA:  Any thoughts on updating the announcements on the light rail to include the bus routes at connection stations? For example: "The next stop will be University/65th street. Transfer to bus routes 82, 87, 26, 81, etc."if I were not from the Sacramento area, or not a frequent rider, this would be very helpful. Also rather than saying Sacramento Valley Station, saying Amtrak.

Reply:  Great idea, we will take a look at adding the specific bus connections to our light rail station announcements. With respect to the Sacramento Valley Station, there are several rail services that use this station and our announcement has a lot to do with Sacramento's identity so I do not believe we would want to change it to Amtrak.

Sacramento, CA:  What is the status of the green line extension to the airport? Does the closure of the Sleeptrain Arena effect plans at all? It would be a great start if we could get the train over the river.

Reply:  The Green Line extension to the airport requires a new local funding source to pay for the operation of the system in order for the project to proceed. The re-use of the Sleep Train Arena may actually be a benefit to the Green Line by providing a use that results in more trips then what was generated by the old arena. I agree that getting across the river into South Natomas would be a great first step. Unfortunately, that requires the construction of a bridge over the river and parkway which is one of the largest single cost elements of the project.

Closing Remarks:

Thank you for your questions. The next session of Transit Talk with the General Manager/CEO will be held on Friday, April 6, 2018.