Transit Talk with the General Manager

October 05, 2018
Henry Li, General Manager/CEO
General Transit Questions
Opening Remarks:

Welcome to the October 2018 Edition of Transit Talk with the GM!

By controlling costs and implementing operational efficiencies, SacRT has been able to invest back into the community and pass the savings on to our riders. For the first time in our 47-year history, we lowered fares this month. And, we will restore 15-minute weekend light rail service starting on Sunday, January 6, 2019.

The basic single ride decreased by 25 cents from $2.75 to $2.50, and the discount single ride decreased by 10 cents from $1.35 to $1.25. The basic monthly pass decreased by $10 from $110 to $100, the discount monthly pass decreases by $5 from $55 to $50, the paratransit single ride decreased by 50 cents from $5.50 to $5, and the super senior fare decreased by $2 from $42 to $40.

I am also pleased to announce the reimplementation of a 25 cent transfer ticket, which allows riders who purchase a single ride ticket with cash to transfer between bus and light rail, light rail to bus or bus to bus. Riders are already able to transfer for free using electronic fare media such as ZipPass or Connect Card. For additional information on the reduced fares, please visit

The SacRT Forward team has developed two draft Alternatives for the Sacramento region's future transit network. These Alternatives have been developed based upon technical analysis, best practices in the transit planning industry, and what we heard from stakeholders and the community this past spring.

We need to hear from you again. Please join us this October and November for a series of pop-up workshops, a virtual community workshop, and a public open house to learn about the proposed Alternatives, ask questions, and share your thoughts to help plan for the Sacramento region's future transit network. Visit to learn more about the project, find out where a pop-up workshop will be held in your area, and sign up for updates.

Don't forget that SacRT is a great way to travel around town, and to attend events at the downtown arena. With light rail stations just a block away, Kings fans can avoid traffic congestion and parking hassles. In addition, for large capacity entertainment events or Kings home games, special service light rail trains operate additional trips. When an event ends after SacRT's regular service hours, which is approximately midnight, special service trains will operate for up to 45 minutes post-event (end of game and/or last encore) on both the Blue Line and Gold Line.

To thank Kings fans for taking SacRT, light rail rides will be free on Wednesday, October 17, for the season home opener against the Utah Jazz. Simply have your valid admission ticket (print or electronic copy) with you when you ride.

Lastly, I'd like to mention a couple other fun events taking place in October that you can get to for free on SacRT. If you are a bike enthusiast or just like to enjoy great music, food and bike-related demonstrations, attend Rio Velo, A Sacramento Bicycle Festival taking place at Township 9 Park on Saturday, October 13. Cyclists and non-cyclists can enjoy free rides from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the special Saturday service Green Line train to the 7th & Richards/Township 9 light rail station to get to the event.

On Saturday, October 20, the Del Paso Street Faire will take place on Del Paso Boulevard between Winnipeg and Forrest streets. The festival runs from noon until 6 p.m. and features a full day of family fun activities, including several contests, food trucks, crafters, artists and an exciting blend of local bands. You can also ride SacRT free to this event by downloading the free ride flyer at Take bus route 15 or ride light rail to the Arden/Del Paso Station.

Now let's get to your questions.

Sacramento, CA:  I'm excited that SacRT has dropped fare prices in an effort to increase ridership, however, as a State worker who rides the ~4:30, ~4:45, and ~5:00pm CRC-bound blue line trains, I frequently am packed into two and three car trains at these peak hours. Will there be any effort by SacRT to ensure peak trains have an adequate number of cars to accommodate an increase in ridership?

Reply:  SacRT's original fleet of light rail vehicles are at or approaching the end of their useful life. As a result, they require additional matentaince in order to keep them operational. Thankfully, earlier this year SacRT received a grant to begin modernizing and replacing our fleet and converting to low-floor vehicles. With new vehicles we will be to ensure that four car consists are operating during peak commute hours. Additionally, as part of the grant we will begin implementing express trains during peak hour, that will skip low boarding stations, and help riders get to their destinations more quickly.

Sacramento, CA:  I really like the new Connect Card and not having to stand in line to buy my monthly passes because I can do it online. I always make sure to tap my card before boarding trains, however, I frequently encounter transit agents who do not check Connect Cards on their smartphones for validation, they simply acknowledge that I'm showing them my Connect Card. Are transit agents not required to validate these cards? Do they not have access to the smartphones that allow them to do so? Will there be efforts to ensure Connect Card riders are fare checked?

Reply:  Transit agents are required to scan Connect Cards for all passengers. It is possible that the riders card was scanned at a previous stop and therefore the agent may skip the passenger later. We have recently provided the transit agents with upgraded phones and a new version of the inspection app that will make the process simpler for both passengers and transit agents.

Sacramento , CA:  I have called frequently about homeless campers on RT property at Watt Ave/Poplar. I’m tired of them constantly coming back after officers send the subjects away. Can RT post no trespassing signs and install fencing around this property?

Reply:  We regularly address issues involving the homeless at our facilities. From your description, I m not sure what RT property you are talking about at Watt and Poplar. If you could provide a bit more information we will take a look at it. You can provide that by calling (916) 321-2877.

Sacramento, CA:  Why is there no consistency among the Transit Agents in how they check Connect Cards? Some will always scan the card, others will never scan the card - satisfied just to see you have it. If you're a regular on the train, you figure out pretty quickly which agents never scan cards. What good is that? Having a card does not guarantee anything is on it!!

Reply:  Transit agents should be scanning all connect cards at least once per trip. It is possible that the agent had previously scanned the passengers card at a prior stop. We are in process of replacing the transit agents cell phones and have also provided them with a new version of the app that will simplify the inspection process for everyone.

Laguna, CA:  Is the reason why light rail's on time performance has been so lousy lately due to the old trains that have past their useful life?

Reply:  The agining of our vehicles plays a major role in relaibility and on-time performance. In the very near future we anticipate implementing real time arrival on our digital message boards to indicate train arrivals.

Laguna, CA:  When you start running the express trains, can you give an example of stations that would be skipped on, say, the blue line?

Reply:  We haven't identified exactly which stations would be skipped on the Blue Line with express service, but generally they would be the walk on stations. We would serve the stations with parking facilities and bus connections.

Citrus Heights , CA:  I do appreciate the new Smart Ride program, I believe it has grown to fast for RT to handle. I have missed at least 3 appointments because the driver has arrived over a hour late. I also have waited several times over 2 hours to be picked up for a ride back home. I’m sure I’m not the only one complaining about the Smart Ride Program. It’s very frustrating not to get a call from RT that the bus is going to be delayed. The app is not accurate when a ride is supposed to arrive. What is RT doing to fix the issues with the Smart Ride program?

Reply:  SacRT's SmaRT Ride program is a pilot project and we are certainly learning lessons regarding the service. In order to keep wait times lower, we must deploy additional vehicles to meet the demand. We have staff that monitors the demand and will add a vehicle into the service area when wait times creep up. We are also working with the app provider to address long wait times and the accuracy of the pick-up estimate. SacRT is a leader when it comes to microtransit service, but we are learning lessons as we are 6 months into the program. The size of the service area plays a large role in wait times and may be something that we need to look into as well.

Laguna, CA:  The SacRT Forward website is pretty sparse. Where is the proposed Alternatives? Where do I find out about upcoming pop-up workshops? Everything on there is dated for April or May.

Reply:  We are in the process of uploading more materials to the website. The proposed alternatives are being polished and are nearly complete for public review. Thank you very much for your interest in this project. I encourage you to attend one of the pop-up workshops; that schedule will also be posted soon. I can tell you that the public outreach will begin this month, and will likely continue on to November, as well. We will have many locations covering the whole service area in order to reach all of our riders, and we want your feedback! If you have more detailed questions about the project, please feel free to contact the Project Manager; his contact information is also on the website. Thank you again for your interest, and we look forward to receiving your feedback.

Sacramento, CA:  What is the best way to report issues at train stations? The Connect Card reader at the College Greens station was defaced weeks ago and recently the screen was broken, leaving it inoperable. How do I/Who do I report this to?

Reply:  The best way is to use the Alert SacRT app on your phone. If you do not have a smart phone or would prefer to talk with some one, you can call our customer service number at (916) 321-BUSS.

East Sacramento, CA:  Henry, What is happening with the downtown smart ride? I thought I would be able to book a ride downtown by now?

Reply:  We anticipate rolling out the downtown SmaRT Ride service in early 2019. We are in the process of procuring 6 electric buses that we will utilize for SmaRT Ride services. As soon as we have the buses and have outfitted them, we will be launching the downtown zone.

Folsom , CA:  When is the tap your card here machine going to be replaced at iron point station?

Reply:  We are waiting for replacement parts that are currently on back order. They should be delivered soon and a replacement device will be installed.

Sacramento , CA:  I am writing you to inquire about the 23rd and R St. East bound sign, and when it will be fixed? Again this is extremely inconvenient for those who wish to ride it throughout the day.

Reply:  Not sure what sign you are talking about, but suspect it is the digital message sign showing the train schedule. I will have our Information Technology Department check into it and make the necessary repairs.

Folsom , CA:  Why is Rt having such a lack in comunicating infomation to the riders...example light strikes?

Reply:  We have a variety of methods to communicate with the public. We utilize our website, social media, our apps, direct emails, rack cards on vehicles and a number of other methods. Certainly agree that this is an area where we can improve our performance. We regularly review our response to problems and critique ourselves in an effort to improve.

Sacramento , CA:  Hello is SacRT going to do anything to deter vandalism on the Connect Card readers. I have encountered the entire screen removed at 2 locations in the past month.

Reply:  Thank for your question. We have cameras at all the stations and our security operations center personnel, as well as police services monitor the stations. We will continue to be vigilant and are currently rolling out an adopt-a- station program where we are looking at ways to improve lighting and other environmental factors to help prevent these types of crimes from happening. Lastly, our police investigators follow-up on these incidents and have had success identifying the suspects in the past. If you see these types of things or other acts of vandalism please utilize the Alert SacRT application to report the incident.

Sacramento, CA:  Areas around Capitol and Sac. Convention Center need better access via light rail. Is it feasible to add stops on blue line?

Reply:  SacRT's 3 light rail lines all serve portions of Sacramento's downtown core. At the moment we do not have any plans to add additional stops downtown. The blue line operates on K Street, which is a short walk to the Capitol and Convention Center.

Sacramento, CA:  Please share plans for completing dual track (to Folsom) and when it is going to be completed?

Reply:  In May we received a grant from the California State Transportation Agency to make siding improvements along the Gold Line that will allow SacRT to serve Folsom Light Rail stations with 15 minute headways. Currently we are completing the environmental work and prepping for construction. It is estimated to take 18-24 months once construction commences.

Folsom , CA:  Yesterday morning at 7:48 a.m. the gold line train pulled up with only 2 cars at the Sunrise station. This is commute time and people are trying to get downtown to work. I do not understand how there can only be two cars at rush hour. To accommodate the number of passengers at this time there should be four cars not two. The travel downtown and the ride home is worse. After waiting downtown for 26 minutes for a train to pull up at Archives Plaza on Wed. night, I finally arrived at the sunrise station late and there were passengers who had been dropped off from a prior train with no way to get home to Folsom because the train could go no farther than Sunrise. How can passengers be abandoned at two stops before their drop off destination with no way to get home? I do not understand how that can occur. The cars are overcrowded and a mess. Please evaluate what is going on with the rush hour commutes. It really needs to change. We rely on you to have your act together so we can get to work and home again on time. Sacramento can do a lot better than this. Can you please fix these issues?

Reply:  Yesterday's disruption to the morning commute on the Gold Line was a continuation of the previous nights lightening strike that damaged the single track section of our service into Folsom. The damage caused major delays to trains entering and leaving Folsom resulting in a lot of changes to our normal operation in an effort to keep trains on time over the entire Gold line. This included some some two car trains and trains being short turned because of how late the system was running overall.

Antelope, CA:  Why are only 3 cars available in the morning hours and during rush hour on the Blue Line? During the day I see 4 cars running on the Blue line for no reason. It should be available during morning and rush hour as a priority.

Reply:  Replacement of light rail vehicles remains SacRT's top priority. The original 36 vehicles are at or are at the end of their useful life. They require routine maintenance in order to keep them operational and we are having an increasing problems finding obsolete parts. It remains our goal to ensure that we operate four car consists during commute hours.

Citrus Heights, CA:  I am very excited about the SacRT Forward project and am officially placing my vote for the high frequency alternative. When do you think we will see this new network hit the street?

Reply:  We are also very excited about this project, and we are looking forward to starting our second round of public outreach this month. I encourage you to attend one of our pop-up workshops to officially place your vote! The outreach schedule will be posted to the website soon. Once we get through the outreach process, we can determine the new network, and implement. Implementation date is still to be determined, but we are working very quickly on this project!

Sacramento , CA:  Quite a few times now at the College Green station, the rail crossing that drops when trains come in and out does not turn off once all trains have left. About 3 times now the rail stayed down and the bell signal stayed blaring for over 15 to 20 minutes. Us pedestrians were literally stuck from crossing over Folsom Blvd. Any chance RT has oversight and authority of this to fix whatever is keeping the signal from functioning properly.

Reply:  Thank you for reporting this. I will have our crossing maintenance staff check it out. In the future, you can report this to us as it is happening by calling the crossing hot line posted at each crossing. The number is (916) 648-8433.

Sacramento, CA:  Recently, a co-worker of mine shared with me two different bus networks for the future of SacRTD. My coworker is on a stakeholder panel that met at your headquarters last week. I am shocked after reading the two maps and receiving a brief overview of them, how much service to areas would be lost if you went to a frequency based bus network. After looking at the maps and having a conversation with my coworker on your stakeholder panel that a coverage based network is the way to go. In that map, I am pleased that areas like Delta Shores, Sacramento Airport, and Historic Folsom Station vía Greenback and Madison would have service. Under the frequency scenario shared to me, I see that these three hot spots would be completely without bus service. In closing, I favor coverage versus frequency. Thank you.

Reply:  Thank you very much for your feedback. The two alternatives are meant to spark conversations about the wide difference in these bus networks, and it looks like it did! The final bus network may be a combination of these two alternatives, depending on the feedback we get from the public. We appreciate your comments and are looking forward to receiving more feedback, as we begin public outreach this month.

Laguna, CA:  Who can I contact about the signaling at the Franklin and Cosumnes River Blvd intersection? I think the signals need some serious improvements to alleviate the constant bottlenecks there.

Reply:  Please call in to our Customer Service Department and file a report so that we have your contact information and can respond to you. We will have our Wayside Department take a look at it.

Natomas, CA:  Will there be a shuttle for Natomas anytime this year? Thank You.

Reply:  We operate shuttle service in Natomas called "Jibe". There are several routes, 170, 171, 172, and 174 that serve a variety of neighborhoods, and downtown. Please refer to our website,, for more shuttle route information, schedules, etc.

Closing Remarks:

Thank you for your questions. The next session of Transit Talk with the General Manager/CEO will be held on Friday, November 2, 2018.