Transit Talk with the General Manager

February 01, 2019
Henry Li, General Manager/CEO
General Transit Questions
Opening Remarks:

Welcome to the February 2019 Edition of Transit Talk with the General Manager!

At the January 28 SacRT Board of Directors meeting, SacRT Forward staff presented an updated draft New Bus Network, which included modifications to proposed route changes as result of additional staff analysis and public comments we've received so far. Comments are still welcome and can be made by email, mail or phone. The SacRT Forward project is a fresh look at redesigning the entire SacRT network, with a goal of making the system simpler and easier to use. If you are not familiar with SacRT Forward and the proposed New Bus Network, visit for information and details on how to comment. There is also an online video presentation that reviews impacted routes complete with maps and a description of changes.

SacRT is currently seeking comments on a service equity analysis. The Title VI Equity Analysis examines the impacts on minority and low-income populations from the SacRT Forward project. SacRT has been taking comments on the Title VI equity analysis since January 18, and will continue to take comments until February 18. The Title VI equity analysis focuses on the effects of the SacRT Forward project on disadvantaged populations, and which is required by Federal law and SacRT policy as part of any major service changes. The Title VI equity analysis also examines the impacts on minority and low-income populations from improvements to weekend light rail service that took effect on January 6, 2019.

A updated draft New Bus Network will be presented to the SacRT Board of Directors again on Monday, February 25. If you would like your comments included in the February 25 Board packet about the SacRT Forward project or the Title VI Equity Analysis, please make sure we receive them by 5 p.m. on Friday, February 15.

If you are a Route 85 McClellan Park Shuttle passenger, please note that this route is discontinued as of today. McClellan Park ended the shuttle contract due to low ridership and they recommend that shuttle passengers use the McCellan Park Transportation Management Association Uber program for last mile transit connection to the workplace. For details, email

If you park at the Watt/I-80, Watt/I-80 West and Roseville Road park-and-ride lots you already know that you no longer have to pay a fee to park! As of Friday, March 1 all SacRT park-and-ride lots, with the exception of the Cosumnes River College, which is operated by the school, will be free. Free parking, 15-minute weekend light rail service and lower fares are our way of saying thank you for riding!

Now let's get to your questions.

CARMICHAEL, CA:  Some sacrt forward questions:First,will route 11's weekday frequency change?Second,will 84's weekend hours match those of the current 80?Third,will additional SmaRT Ride zones launch in concurrency with the planned fixed route changes?

Reply:  We are not planning on changing weekday frequency on Route 11, but we are planning on extending it south to City College, primarily via Riverside Blvd., and we are planning on adding Sunday service every 45 minutes and improving Saturday service to every 45 minutes. We have been looking at possibly improving the weekday midday service from 60 to 45 minutes (it is every 30 minutes at peak already) if additional funding is available. As for Route 84, yes, it would be taking over for today's Route 80 on Watt Ave, so we would run it the same hours of the day as Route 80 does today, including Sundays. On weekdays, it would run every 30 minutes, so riders along Watt would have the same 30 minute frequency they have today, but also get the benefit of it being every 30 minutes in North Highlands, whereas today, the branch line service in North Highlands is only every 60 minutes. Thanks for your questions!

Natomas, CA:  Is there an update to when the much needed SmaRT Ride will come to (North) Natomas? Thank You

Reply:  Staff is currently examining various locations for implementation of SmaRT Ride zones. We do believe a zone in North Natomas/North Sacramento would be successful, but we need to be mindful of the new bus network that s proposed by SacRT Forward. More info on SmaRT Ride zones will be coming in the near future.

Rancho Cordova, CA:  What is the status and/or progress report on getting real time train arrivals/departures on the application so that for trains, it does for what it already does for buses? Thank you.

Reply:  We are doing internal testing with our light rail department, so there is still work to do, but we are getting close and hope to have this implemented, no later than this summer. Thank you for asking! We too are very excited to have real-time info on light rail. It will be a big help to our riders.

Natomas, CA:  The bench with the canopy was removed three weeks ago from Route 11-Truxel & Arena Blvd (NB). Why was it removed? Will it be replaced?

Reply:  Thank you for your question. We have been working with the city and North Natomas TMA to install some new bus shelters in North Natomas that better fit with the community. Keep an eye out for the shelters in the near future.

Sacramento , CA:  Will the board vote on the RTForward plan on Feb 25?

Reply:  We plan to bring forward a staff recommendation for a new network at the February 25th Board meeting. Action on the item will depend on the Board discussion.

Natomas, CA:  Why don't you have any jump bikes in Natomas? I love to ride them from light rail but can't find them in Natomas.

Reply:  Jump Bike is not operated by SacRT. Jump Bike typically works directly with the City of Sacramento and SacRT to determine the appropriate locations within the City. We can begin to ask Jump Bike if they would be willing to bring their product to Natomas. Thanks for your input.

Sacramento, CA:  Bus 86 has been over 10-20 minutes late almost every day. This has cause me to miss my connection. When is this issue going to be resolved?

Reply:  Please contact our Customer Advocacy Department with details on when and where you catch the bus. From there, a supervisor can look into the specifics. They can be reached at 916-557-4545 or

Sacramento , CA:  In regarding the Sac RT Foward project, what kind of other feedback has it received regarding other bus routes outside of the recommended changes?

Reply:  At the January 28th board meeting, we discussed some of these common comments. In particular, Routes 26, 30, 33, and 38 were examined. January 28 Agenda Item SmaRT Ride is not the primary focus of the project, but we do get a lot of questions about it and believe it fills a very specific need.

Sacramento , CA:  What is the status of the Morrison Creek Light Rail Station?

Reply:  Our plan has always been to build this station, however we prefer to wait until their is other future development in the neighborhood prior to adding another stop. As of now, we don't have an indication of immediately plans to develop in the area.

Sacramento, CA:  Will expanding RT to other areas/cities impact our service in Sacramento?

Reply:  As you know, SacRT recently approved an annexation agreement with the cities of Citrus Heights and Folsom. These agreements will allow SacRT more flexibility to improve the regional service which should improve connectivity to the City of Sacramento.

Sac, CA:  Henry there has been a community meeting and last RT meeting Florin light rail was discussed as a TOD Transist oriented Development Temporary 100 bed shelter . Can the city provide what lessons learned at Railyard shelter ? Can next board meeting address Route Optimization and homeless shelter in same MEETING?

Reply:  Thank you for question. As you mentioned, the city of Sacramento has approached SacRT with their interest in a portion of the Florin Road Light Rail Station. The item was discussed at our Board meeting on Monday and in a community forum on Tuesday. SacRT staff is working with the City staff to determine feasibility. As for the route optimization project, SacRT Forward, a staff recommendation will be brought to the Board on February 25th.

Sacramento, CA:  What is happening with the downtown street car project now that the bids came in and the project is hopelessly over budget?

Reply:  With bids in for the streetcar being significantly higher than budgeted, the project team is taking a step back to look at the project direction. We are assisting the team with technical assessments of a number of alternative approaches, e.g., scaling down the project, making it a light rail extension, or re-assigning the funding to a high frequency buses project. etc.

Natomas, CA:  I have put in two requests to have a canopy (with a bench) on Route 11 at Northborough & Club Center Drive. My son with his classmates along with a few elderly riders have to stand in the rain/sun to wait for the bus. What can be done to have a bench with a canopy placed there?

Reply:  I asked my facilities staff to see if we could place a bus shelter at the site. Unfortunately, the sidewalk right of way precludes us from being able to install a shelter at that location. I am more than happy to discuss other locations for shelters along Route 11.

Sacramento, CA:  what is the status of the planning for the infill station in the River District at 12th and 16th and Richards Road? hope it is going well!

Reply:  We developed a conceptual design for the Dos Rios station through a neighborhood outreach process over this past year. It is CEQA cleared and we're waiting on NEPA clearance. As soon as we have that, we'll begin Final Design. In partnership with Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency, we were awarded $17.5M from the CA Strategic Growth Council's Transformative Climate Communities program to realign the track and system and build the first phase of the station. The schedule is for the station to be open in 2023. Meanwhile we are working on securing the remaining funding needed to complete the station amenities.

Sacramento Natomas Area, CA:  I’ve been reading through your board packets from your website. In doing so, I’ve been focusing on the “SacRT Forward” presentations of December 10th and January 28th. I don’t understand why Regional Transit is not proposing to operate a route to/from Sacramento International Airport through the Natomas area. A route that currently exists, is being proposed for route realignment - Route 13. In looking at the proposed route alignment, a continuation to Sacramento International Airport seems to be the most logical thing that should be done regarding this particular route - not terminating it at Duckhorn. Natomas folks do not use transit to the airport under the current circumstances as it would require somehow getting Downtown, followed by the existing YoloBus route that stays on Interstate Five through our area, without any regards to the Natomas community. That is not fair for us. Now, this proposed route alignment, I agree, is better than it is now, but still, it should go to the Sacramento International Airport. You will not only make your riders and non-riders happy, but I think the Greater Sacramento area will be happy that SacRT is finally servicing Sacramento International Airport, and by means of a route that does not compete with, but rather compliments the existing YoloBus by not directly going to Downtown. Natomas and North Sacramento are to be complimented to be excellent destinations for folks in the region to get to, not just Downtown Sacramento. Please make sure that Route 13 has Sacramento International Airport on its route map, when you do change it later this calendar year. Thank you so very much.

Reply:  Thanks for your comment. It is a good suggestion. When evaluating various options, we always have to keep in mind our current limited resources. That being said, we are always looking for new funding that could be used for similar service. If we run Route 13 an extra two miles to the airport, that translates directly into not being able to run a bus somewhere else, and we do still have a lot of urgent needs for transportation throughout our service area. For now, there is hourly Yolobus service to/from the is on the way to Woodland for them, so it is very simple for them to just make a quick stop at the airport. For SacRT, the service would require additional mileage. We definitely would like to extend Route 11 or 13 to the airport in the future, but at today's funding levels, we are limited. On the other hand, we are looking at running a dedicated airport bus from downtown direct to the airport. Because it would be express on the freeway, it would actually be less expensive than extending Route 11 or 13, and we believe it would be more attractive to more potential customers with a fast trip from downtown. It's true that Natomas residents would have to backtrack to downtown, but in terms of total potential riders, being downtown would mean that the airport route would be fed by the entire transit network, as well as intercity rail.

McClellan Park, CA:  I read your introductory topics for today’s transit talk, and have a follow-up question with regards to service in McClellan Park. You and/or your staff may have addressed this already, and perhaps also through the “SacRT Forward” Project. Nonetheless, as I don’t know, here is my question. I have used both the discontinued Route 85 and the still operating Route 26. Is Route 26 still operating in and out of McClellan Park today? Has it changed at all as of today, in addition to Route 85? How will Route 26 be impacted (positively and/or negatively) for later this year including, but limited to addressing issues regarding service at McClellan Park, going forward? I hope that you and your staff are as concerned and can help in anyway to improve McClellan Park trip times, frequency, route alignment, and days of service on Route 26 later this calendar year, despite what happened today with regards to Route 85. Would you please be able to provide your detailed take on this matter, especially as it concerns McClellan Park? Thank you so very much. I appreciate it.

Reply:  Route 26 has not been changed, as of today. Under SacRT Forward, we are proposing to extend the route north on Watt Avenue. From Watt/I-80 light rail station, it would go north on Watt Ave, turn left onto westbound Peacekeeper Way, north on Dudley Blvd, east on James Way, then north on Watt Ave to Elverta Road. We would also be improving the hours of service and improve the weekend frequency to every 45 minutes.

Citrus Heights, CA:  Looking at your rider alert for the proposed service changes I see route 23 is being rerouted to ARC but route 25 is being restructured. What is the difference in the two actions?

Reply:  Please see our North Area map: Route 23 would be rerouted to a slightly shorter route to improve schedule reliability. Service would no longer operate the entire way to Sunrise Mall. The new route would go from Arden/Del Paso station, east on Arden Way, north on Howe Ave, east on El Camino, north on Manzanita Ave, west on Madison Ave, southwest on Auburn Blvd, and south on College Oak Drive to ARC. We would lengthen Saturday headways from 30 to 45 minutes but improve Sunday/Holiday headways from 60 to 45 minutes. Route 25 would be restructured to provide more direct service to American River College and through Citrus Heights. The new route would go from Marconi station, east on Marconi Ave, north on Walnut Ave, west on Winding Way, north on College Oak Dr (past American River College), northeast on Auburn Blvd, east on Madison Ave, north on Manzanita Ave, east on Coyle Ave (past Mercy San Juan hospital), north on Dewey Drive, and north on Auburn Blvd to Louis/Orlando transit center. All trips would operate the entire length of the route. Weekday service would have 30 minute frequency from approximately 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and hourly service from approximately 8:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Saturday frequency would be improved from 60 to approximately 40 minutes and service hours would be extended from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. Sunday/Holiday service would be added at approximately 40 minute frequency from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Sacramento, CA:  With many changes going on and serving 800,00 projected riders when do you think RT will return to 1 million riders again ? Could that be a goal by 2020?

Reply:  SacRT is focused on building ridership in our community. Recently we have reduced fares, increased weekend service on light rail and will soon be making modifications to our bus service through SacRT Forward. Each of these initiatives are focused building ridership and making our service more convenient for our passengers. Currently, SacRT carries approximately 21 million passengers annually. While that number has decreased in the past few years, there are signs that this trend is turning around. Ridership was quite strong in the 2nd quarter of FY19 and should only continue to improve with the many changes that we are currently implementing.

Sacramento, CA:  When you stop charging for parking at the Power Inn station, will you stop taking care of it too? Some of the numbers are hard to read, and the occasional sweeping crew is very much appreciated.

Reply:  Removing the parking fees at the stations will have no negative impact on the maintenance of the stations. If you see facilities concerns at the station, we would like to invite you to report them using the Alert SacRT app. The parking space numbers are no longer relevant at the station, as paid parking had been handled by license plate.

Sacramento, CA:  RT could make money selling advertising space on the sound wall along the Gold Line between 59th and 48th. Target local businesses, and they would keep the graffiti off their ads too. Possible?

Reply:  Great idea. We are always looking for ways to enhance the areas around our light rail stations. We have partnered with the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission on two recent murals, one one the side of the SacRT Customer Service Building at 1225 R Street and the other on the light rail bridge near the Bark Park at 19th and Q streets.

Sacramento, CA:  Any updates on the Garden Highway construction and the 88 and 86 routes?

Reply:  At this point there are no major impacts to SacRT service, but we are working closely with the contractor to minimize any delays for riders.

Sacramento, CA:  Did the 7th & K Street bus stop reopen?

Reply:  No, it did not.

Sac, CA:  Samtrans tax passed barely any thoughts for sacramento

Reply:  As you know, SacRT receives only 1/6 of a penny in local sales tax support. Local funds are important for operations and serve as a match for state and federal grants. It is important to explore additional local funds for transit.

Rancho Cordova, CA:  I utilize the Gold Line Light Rail to get to work. Two of the complaints I hear often for not using Light Rail is that 1) It takes too long [i.e., I can drive to my destination faster], and 2) Timeliness of the train. As a solution, have you looked at eliminating some of the non-essential stations? This would allow a faster time to work for those wanting to ride (for example, maybe they won't drive up the hill to EDH and take the bus because even back-tracking is faster), and, more importantly, it would give another 10 minutes for the train driver to turn around and do other checks before having to go back the same direction, and, should the train be late, gives an addition 10 minutes of catch-up time. That way, the train going back will be on-time more regularly. Examples of train stops that seem to be non-essential for a true light rail: * Cordova Town Center: Very few people use this stop, and it’s easily within walking distance to Zinfandel. This is light rail, it shouldn’t have to stop again after one minute. * 13th and 16th stop: Only three blocks between the two; only one minute between the stops per your official schedule. Too close of stops for light rail. * 8th Capitol and Archives Plaza: When you can look down 10th street and have to flip a coin for which station to use, they are too close. * There are others (College Greens, Tiber, 23rd, 59th?) that could be eliminated for a more efficient commute and use as a light-rail system. Eliminating these stations and a couple of others will allow commuters from sunrise to get to downtown 10 minutes faster, as well as faster for others from other stations (i.e., Watt). Doesn’t seem like much, but I think it would go a long way in gaining ridership if the time to get downtown can get closer to those driving. And, it will help keep the trains on their return trip be on-time, which is advantageous to bus schedules and RT’s image for timeliness. Thanks for your consideration.

Reply:  We are currently seeking funding to double-track from Folsom to downtown. Once double-tracking is complete, we will begin looking at options to operate express trains, which could skip low ridership stations to cut down on travel times.

Sacramento, CA:  With the proposed changes to Route 13, will Jibe Express be considered to help shuttle customers between Truxel and Northgate during peak am/pm commute times?

Reply:  Route 13 currently takes commuters north from Arden/Del Paso station to destinations around North Market Drive. North Natomas residents have the ability to ride to North Market Drive.

Fair Oaks, CA:  I see Route 23 being remove completely from Fair Oaks blvd and San Juan with no other buss to cover this area. There are many elderly, handicap and commuters that depend on 23. Why is the solution? To walk an extra mile to get to another bus??

Reply:  We are proposing to realign Route 23 east of Manzanita Ave due to low ridership. We operate SmaRT Ride in this area now, which we believe is a more appropriate solution in this area where population density is lower.

Sacramento, CA:  Some riders do not have mobile phones, wifi signal’s weak or not available to check the “RT Travcker,” but they’ll ever put up a electric signage (similarly like they have at most lightrail stations) for those delays. Or alternatively, they could add a new feature like we have with e-Tran, which is “Rider Alert”; however, it’s also with “very little of no notice,” but even with any notice would give riders the opportunity to make alternate decisions so their commute would not continue to be a “bad experience.” For the second one: that was back three years ago, but it appeared they had reopened.

Reply:  We actually have a grant for real-time electronic signs at some of our busiest bus stops. We have over 2,000 bus stops, so to complete this project at every stop would be costly. But we always encourage customers to make use of their smart phones, if they have them, by using and downloading the Alert SacRT app. If you have a cell phone, but it's not a smart phone you can also get info on your bus's arrival time by texting 41-411 and the bus stop number on the back of the bus stop sign.

Carmichael, CA:  I see on the front of your buses that you are hiring mechanics. When I asked the driver for an application she was very rude to me. Why would I want to work for your company?

Reply:  First, I would like to apologize for your experience. However, I am glad to hear that our new outreach is working and that riders and the public are interested in working at SacRT. We are always looking for new energetic employees to join our great organization. Regarding why someone would want to work at SacRT? We have great employees, a nice working environment and good benefits. Visit the for an application. In the future, if you have an unpleasant experience as discussed above, we would like to you to notify us of this through: either our customer advocacy department at or the online mobile app- Alert SacRT. We are always looking for ways to improve our customers experience and provide safe, clean and reliable service.

Closing Remarks:

Thank you for your questions. Please join me for the March GM Chat on Friday, March 1, 2019.