Transit Talk with the General Manager

May 03, 2019
Henry Li, General Manager/CEO
General Transit Questions
Opening Remarks:

Welcome to the May 2019 edition of Transit Talk with the General Manager!

I am proud to share that at the April 8 Board meeting, SacRT was presented the prestigious Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Gold Standard Award for Security and Emergency Preparedness.

The Gold Standard Award is the top recognition the TSA can give to a transit agency for achieving top scores during an annual review of 17 categories of security and emergency preparedness elements. TSA has oversight of 6,800 public transit agencies in the country and only seven achieved scores high enough to receive the most recent Gold Standard Award, with SacRT scoring 98%.

Just a reminder that the pre-paid ticket and pass exchange is currently taking place for those customers wishing to exchange current, unvalidated Basic and Discount single fare paper tickets or daily passes with a June 30, 2019 expiration date for the fare equivalent value only on electronic media, Connect Card or ZipPass.

Starting on Saturday, June 1, 2019 through Saturday, August 31, 2019, the exchange will also include paper fare media.

Visit for more information and extended Customer Service and Sales Center hours during the exchange dates.

Starting on Monday, May 20, pending SacRT Board approval, students in grades K through 12 can take advantage of the Three-Month Student Summer Pass sale, which brings the already discounted $20 student monthly pass down to just $30 for all three months. That means students can enjoy unlimited rides during June, July and August for only $30! Visit for.

The new redesigned SacRT bus system will launch on Sunday, September 8, 2019. The focus of the new network has been on developing bus routes that serve major corridors that will lead to economic growth and reduce congestion. Adjustments have been made to almost every bus route, some minor and some much more substantial, which will provide improved schedules and better service reliability.

The new bus network consists of 27 regular routes and 15 peak hour only routes, with all routes having 7-day week service (except route 33) and all having 45 minute or better service (with the exception of route 19). For more information and route by route changes, I encourage you to visit

SacRT is seeking public comment on SacRT's Fiscal Year 2020 Operating and Capital Budget. The Preliminary Fiscal Year 2020 Operating and Capital Budget was released on April 8, 2019, for a 60-day public review period. The SacRT Board of Directors is expected to adopt the budget on Monday, June 10, 2019 at the SacRT Board meeting. Click here for additional information.

Now let's get to your questions.

Sacramento, California:  In regards to the ticket exchange program on-going until August 31st, what Saturday and/or Saturdays in the month of May will the customer service and sales center be open and available to exchange unused tickets? I couldn’t find a Saturday in the current month, and so perhaps I was missing something. Thank you.

Reply:  Thanks for your question. The Customer Service and Sales Center will be open from 10am - 2pm for ticket exchanges on the following Saturdays: June 1, June 29, July 27 and August 31.

Sacramento, California:  As far as “SacRT Forward” is concerned, are district staff ramping up outreach and event efforts here in May and the summer months ahead of us? I loved the outreach and, for lack of a better term - informational courses you offered leading up to project approval by the board. This was excellent, and look forward to continuing my education on this topic leading up to the September 8th implementation. Thank you.

Reply:  Yes! And, thank you. Staff will be on trains and buses, at transit centers and there will be a full-blown ad campaign to get the word out about SacRT Forward. Check the sacrt website and social media for information too.

Sacramento, California:  I’m sure you and the district employees have heard by now that Major League Soccer (MLS) is expanding its efforts to go to a 30-team league. This almost certainly ensures that Saint Louis, and our very own Sacramento Republic FC are pretty much guaranteed spots in the increasingly popular league. Although a “formal decision” will likely be made on or before July 31st of this year, what will Sacramento Regional Transit do to get grant funding or funding from Republic FC to increase service on Route 11 and operate the Green Line on all days of the week? I think Regional Transit should focus on increasing service at 7th Street and Railyards Boulevard, but it should be at the expense of the Sacramento Republic FC either through ticket surcharges or something that is a Republic FC contribution. I firmly believe that Regional Transit should not spend from its own budget on this. How will Regional Transit go about achieving this increased service, should MLS do its part and award Sacramento Republic FC MLS status in the Railyards? Will RT staff get the Republic FC to the table and frankly discuss service increases, but that it be at a cost borne by the Republic FC, and not by SacRT? I appreciate that SacRT take this approach to this and potential other future service increases.

Reply:  SacRT is excited about the Sacramento Republic FC potentially joining the MLS. When the Sac Republic had games at Hughes Stadium at Sacramento City College, we carried approximately 6,000 riders to each game. We hosted a coordination meeting this week with them to discuss what transit service will look like to serve a downtown Railyards stadium. As part of an agreement, the developer would construct a station on 7th Street near Railyards Boulevard. We are also in discussions about double tracking portions of 7th Street to ensure better operations to and from the station. We are excited to continue these conversations and to get updates on the status of the MLS bid.

Elk Grove, CA:  Good morning Mr. Li. As of July 1, RT will take over service for E-Tran in Elk Grove. What is your vision for how services and routes will look in Elk Grove in the future, namely with the commuter services?

Reply:  We will be strictly the operator of this service. The Elk Grove City Council has agreed to a five year service contract for SacRT to operate the service. Decisions about the routes, schedules, fares, etc. will remain with the City of Elk Grove. Commuter service will remain unchanged. Should the city choose to annex its transit operations to SacRT, we would work with city staff to examine duplicate routes and optimize efficiency.

Sacramento, CA:  Can SacRT equip its buses and trains with GPS so riders can track them with an app? It would be handy to know when to actually expect a train.

Reply:  All our fixed-route buses are already equipped with GPS. If you go to on your smart phone, you can get the next bus time at your stop in real-time. You can also get it on a map at our RT Tracker site. On the light rail side, this is something we've been working on for a while, and internally, we now have our dispatchers getting and using the real-time position of the train. Pushing that data out to our customers and our signs is the next step and is coming this summer.

Sacramento, CA:  Are there security officers at light rail stations? I don't see officers at Roseville Road. Does RT contract security?

Reply:  SacRT has over 70 Transit Agents and Transit Officers. They are often riding the trains and at the stations. I will speak with SacRT's Police Chief to ensure that we have coverage at the Roseville light rail station. We also have over 1,000 live feed cameras that allow our Security Operations Center to monitor our stations in real time 24 hours a day.

Sacramento, CA:  As homelessness is a prevalent and costly issue in Sacramento County, what steps is Sac RT taking to help combat homelessness? Specifically, is Sac RT interested in introducing a reduced or free fare for those that are under federal poverty guidelines ($12,000 annually)

Reply:  SacRT partners with Sacramento Steps Forward to provide transit services for their winter sanctuary program that houses homeless in various congregations throughout the region. We also partner with social services areas, such as the Department of Human Assistance, to provide discounted passes to their clientele. We also recently reduced our fares in an effort to attract new riders and make it more affordable for those on a fixed income.

Sacramento, CA:  Hi Mr.Li, Do you have any information on route changes for 11, 86 & 88 during the levee strengthening project on Garden highway ?

Reply:  We will be detouring Routes 11, 86, and 88 off of Garden Highway, via West El Camino. We are still waiting to hear when the closures will take effect.

Sacramento, CA:  Will Sac RT implement a reduced fare program for Veterans with a valid VA ID like other transit organization in Northern CA? Or be interested in following the San Antonio Texas model and utilize local social service organizations the ability to officially request free or reduced fare transit passes for Veterans or the homeless to overcome the transportation barrier for the first 90 days of employment?

Reply:  SacRT currently partners with social service agencies and others in our region that offer free and reduced passes and tickets to Veterans. These agencies purchase fare media from SacRT and then agencies handle distribution. For a list of agencies in your area please contact our customer advocacy department (

Sacramento, California:  What estimated timeline would you say that folks can track a train on the mobile web app?

Reply:  We're expecting to push the real-time train data out to the public, including through, shortly after the new network launch on September 8th.

Sacramento, California:  I have a concern about the application. Let’s say, for example, I look up a schedule, and it happens to be Monday, May 27th. As with any Monday, it shows me a Monday schedule. Here’s the problem: Monday, May 27th is a National Holiday. SacRT will be on a Sunday/Holiday schedule. Why does the mobile application default to what day of the week it is, rather than recognizing that a particular weekday should be treated like a Sunday? You’re going to also run into this problem over the course of the next twelve months on Thursday, July 4th; Monday, September 2nd; Thursday, November 28th; Wednesday, December 25th; Wednesday, January 1st; as well as Monday, January 20th. When will the application finally recognize that the dates listed here in this post are actually Sunday Schedules when we get to them, and not actually weekdays, as is the case now for application default? This is a big matter to me looking up schedules and then “running with the information” that technology is providing.

Reply:  Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I am going to instruct my IT staff to look at this and it sounds like something they should be able to correct.

South Sacramento , CA:  Have you seen any changes regarding ridership and financial numbers for this year?

Reply:  In October of 2018, the SacRT Board approved sweeping fare reductions to combat ridership losses for the time in the history of SacRT. Ridership has begun to turn around with SacRT seeing positive year over year ridership gains for the past few months. We anticipating FY19 ridership ending the year flat with FY18 results despite poor ridership results prior to the fare decrease. SacRT's financial position also remains strong to date in FY19.

Closing Remarks:

Thank you for your questions. Please join me for the June GM Chat on Friday, June 7, 2019.