Transit Talk with the General Manager

June 07, 2019
Henry Li, General Manager/CEO
General Transit Questions
Opening Remarks:

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

June is a busy month for SacRT and a great one for SacRT passengers!

For starters, 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 details.

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 on electronic media, Connect Card, ZipPass or paper media. The ticket exchange runs through Saturday, August 31, 2019. Visit for more information and extended Customer Service and Sales Center hours during the exchange dates.

The countdown is underway for the implementation of SacRT Forward, SacRT's new bus network that launches Sunday, September 8. As part of the project, new bus stop signs will start appearing at bus stops throughout SacRT's service area. The new signs not only feature a new look, but also include the bus route destination and the bus stop number on the front of the sign. The SacRT Forward outreach team is back riding all the affected routes to talk with riders about the future changes and improvements. Visit for route by route changes and additional information, and to sign up for our SacRT Forward mailing list.

SacRT will need to relocate one of its power substations in the downtown area that will impact weekend Gold Line light rail service in June. The move will require a temporary shutdown of the power near the Sacramento Valley Station beginning on Friday, June 14 at 9 p.m. through the end of light rail service on Sunday, June 16, and again the weekend of June 28. During the service disruption, special SacRT buses will transport light rail customers between the 9th & K Station (Gold Line trains will only extend service to this station during the service disruption) and the Sacramento Valley Station for riders traveling west, and the Sacramento Valley Station and the 7th & Capitol Station for riders traveling east. Blue Line light rail service will not be affected. For more information and to view the map, visit our website at or call 916-321-BUSS (2877).

On Thursday, June 20, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. SacRT will host an open house at the Rancho Cordova City Hall to provide information about our Light Rail Modernization Project. The SacRT Light Rail Modernization Project includes plans to double-track the Gold Line from the Hazel Station to the Historic Folsom Station to improve service frequency in Folsom. Installing a second track, or a "passing track," provides SacRT with the opportunity to modernize its light rail system and increase service and reliability to Folsom - the second track will enable light rail trains to operate eastbound and westbound between the Sunrise and Historic Folsom stations with little or no delay. This effort will increase light rail service from 30 minutes to every 15 minutes between the light rail stations.

Just another reminder that 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, which begins at 5:30 p.m. Click here for additional information.

Lastly, there are several community events that SacRT is participating in this weekend. Make it easy on yourself and catch a bus or take light rail to one or all of them. Be sure to stop by SacRT's booth if you catch some music at Concerts in the Park on Friday, June 7 or attend the SacPRIDE festival on Saturday, June 8 or Sunday, June 9. You can also find SacRT at these events on Saturday, June 8: Safetyville's Family Day, Pops in the Park and Sac-to-Zero. On Saturday, June 8, you can also take light rail to historic Folsom for Rock the Line Folsom event.

Now let's get to your questions.

Elk grove , CA:  Hi I understand that rt will service elk grove transit come 7/1/19 w no changes currently. However, will there be in the near future?? For example changes to the bus currently there is 2 #15. One from rt and another elk grove transit. Secondly, is there any plans to review elk grove transit routes?

Reply:  Thank you for the question. SacRTwill be a contracted operator for Elk Grove bus service starting July 1st. The city of Elk Grove will remain the decision maker about routes, fares, etc. As part of our service contract with the city, if we reach certain performance metrics, we will beginning discussing what an annexation agreement will look like. If that were to occur, SacRT would work collaboratively with the city to identify how the service can better integrate with the entire network and implement efficiencies.

Sacramento, CA:  How is RT going to help the city meet it's climate goals? Public transportation is at the core of livable communities - how does RT plan to make Sacramento more livable, particularly in areas that have little to no public transportation options, such as South Sacramento and Natomas?

Reply:  We see your question as, how is the region going to meet climate goals? SacRT, as the largest public transportation provider in the region wants to help lead this effort. We know that improving air quality improvements can be achieved by putting more resources into public transportation because, as a provider of services that can carry large amounts of people, we can have the greatest impact on green house gas reductions. I am honored to serve as a Commissioner on the Mayor's Commission on Climate Change. Next week that Commission will kick-off a Technical Advisory Committee focused on reducing emissions in the transportation sector. The goal is to achieve carbon neutral by 2045. We will be proposing some funding options which would provide SacRT additional funding to increase service demands, speed up transit travel times and move towards electrification of our CNG large buses and gas/diesel small buses.

SACRAMENTO, CA:  Has RT considered working with local organizations to provide discounted connect cards to employees? If RT has not, will they?

Reply:  We currently have a volumne discount program for large organziations such as Department of Human Assistance, Los Rios, and Sac State. We do have some plans to bring forward a smaller discount program for Board consideration for Connect Card holders. Currently, we are still looking a price points and the impacts to revenue. I anticipate that if this is brought forward, it would be on a pilot program basis, as this would allow us to evaluate the fiscal impact and determine if there are any equity issues.

SACRAMENTO, CA:  Is RT currently working with the city to address signal prioritization for buses?

Reply:  Yes. The city and SacRT work collaboratively on a number of issues. We are kicking-off a high capacity bus corridor study that will identify key corridors where we can expand bus rapid transit. We are very excited to work with the city on Stockton Boulevard to speed up travel time through signalization upgrades and transit dedicated lanes.

Laguna, CA:  When the SacRT Forward is implemented, will the Light Rail schedule change?

Reply:  There are currently no plans for any changes to the light rail schedule based on the SacRT Forward bus route changes. However, the light rail modernization project will allow for 15 minute service to the Hazel, Iron Point, Glenn and Historic Folsom stations in the future.

Laguna, CA:  The Green Line to the Airport: I have to admit that I'm somewhat pessimistic about that being completed in a reasonable amount of time (in my mind, 2036 is definitely NOT reasonable). Will SB 1 funding do anything at all to move up the current timetable? Or are we at a point now where even 2036 is being optimistic? Personally, I'm leaning towards the latter unless you have anything new to share with us.

Reply:  Thank you for your question. The Green Line into Natomas and the airport is currently finalizing the draft environmental process. Because of the size and scale of the project, SacRT will need to identify additional local funding to make this a reality. The Sacramento Transportation Authorty is currently considering a new sales tax measure in 2020 that could provide the local funding needed to move the project forward. These funds are extremely important as we try to levarage nearly 80% of the project funds from the federal and state leve, including SB1 funds. Without a new funding source, it is very unlikely that it will move forward in a reasonable time frame.

Sacramento, CA:  Is it okay to call 321-BUSS to report a problem at one of the Light Rail stations? My phone is too simple for apps. I noticed that sometimes telling your phone staff is effective; other times not.

Reply:  Yes, of course. You can also call Customer Advocacy at 916-557-4545. If it is a problem for Police Services, call 556-0275. Thank you.

Sacramento, CA:  With the sprawl that is happening in our region, how will RT ensure residents in Sacramento have their same service, while also providing service to new residents in new neighborhoods?

Reply:  SacRT is encouraged by recent developments that are focusing on transit oriented and infill development. Late last year, the city of Sacramento passed a transit oriented development measure that looks at building higher density and requiring less parking around our light rail stations. As you point out, the more we develop on the periphery, the harder it is for us to serve via transit, especially with limited funding. In February, the SacRT Board approved a complete overhaul of our bus network. In areas that are harder to serve with fixed route transit, we will be implementing our microtransit service, SmaRT Ride, in order to ensure coverage. Also, as new large developments are being considered, the County and the Cities work with SacRT to determine a reasonable impact fee. For example, during 2018, SacRT and the County passed an plan that if the area around Jackson Highway is developed, SacRT would receive a fee to cover the cost of new service to the residents.

Sacramento, CA:  In the meantime while the Green Line is being built, is RT working to improve bus service to the airport, potentially installing a BRT lane on I-5 from downtown to the airport?

Reply:  While we continue to make progress on the Green Line to Natomas and the airport, we are committed to providing airport service in the very near future. So, to answer your question, yes, we have received some partial funding to implement an all electric, frequent shuttle between the airport and downtown. We are working to identify the remaining funds and hope to launch sometime in 2020.

elk grove, CA:  Hi, I understand RT will be servicing ELK grove transit on 7/1/19 no current changes. However, is there any talks in the near future though. Such as, there is two #15 buses with different routes. one is rt and the other is elk grove transit. And is there a review of elk grove transit routes? Elk grove changes there routes both locally and commuters a couple years ago some for the better and some not so.

Reply:  Starting on July 1, we will be operating Elk Grove's transit service. At that time, the City of Elk Grove will still retain overall decisions on changes to the service. This means, Ek Grove will retain authority and responsibility for setting the routes, schedules, fares, etc. and SacRT will handle the operations and maintenance. In the future, if Elk Grove's City Council and the SacRT Board is pleased with how things are working, then the City may opt to take the next step and annex into the SacRT district, at which point, SacRT would be responsible for those decisions.

Sacramento, CA:  As the region is heating up, will RT consider working with local organizations to provide free transit passes to vulnerable populations (individuals experiencing homelessness, in a shelter, etc)?

Reply:  To address this issue in the most effective and efficient manner, we work with large agencies such as Francis House, Department of Human Assistance, and Volunteers of America. We provide discounted passes to these agencies and they either directly or indirectly hand out passes to the people in need. The people that visit these agencies tend to be populations that are most vulnerable.

Laguna, CA:  A couple weeks ago, I saw a light rail vehicle being hauled on a flatbed truck heading Northbound on I5. I don't suppose that it's one of the promised new vehicles to be added to SacRT's fleet?

Reply:  We have not procured our new low-floor light rail vehicles yet, but we are very close. I don't believe the light rail vehicle you saw was one of ours. But thanks for your question.

Sacramento , CA:  I wish you would put the light rail on weekends at township 9 it is hard to go shopping Please

Reply:  Currently, we do not see a significant enough demand at Township9 and along the Green Line to add weekend service. However, we constantly monitor ridership and survey our riders to make sure we are meeting demand. As development in the Railyards and along the River District occurs, we will continuously asses the level of the Green Line service.

Folsom , CA:  Is Sac Rt take over Folsom Public Transit and Elk Grove Transit ? Same holiday schedule together?

Reply:  SacRT is operating the Folsom bus service now. This became effective earlier this year when they annexed their public transporation services to SacRT. The holiday schedule is the same except for one day. They have one extra day, Presidents day. On July 1st, 2019, SacRT will operate the Elk Grove service. We will follow their current holiday schedule.

Sacramento, CA:  Hello, I am a Nanny in the Elmhurst neighborhood where I care for twin girls under the age of 2. I was waiting on the accessible platform for the Gold Line last week with the babies in a stroller, and when the train arrived the driver said I needed to fold my stroller before entering. They were not flexible in their request and stated I could not enter unless it was folded up, despite it being roughly the same size as a wheelchair and smaller than a bike, and the train being almost completely empty. As a millennial with limited income, I choose to take transit whenever possible because I want to support the city and not have to take the girls in and out of the car if we are out on errands. It seems highly inequitable to provide accessible platforms, and space on board for wheelchairs if people like me, who also need these resources, are forced to put our children in risky situations by removing them from their secured seats. Can RT reconsider this policy? There seems to be no reasonable justification to exclude people like myself with children from the same resources provided by ADA requirements. I am less inclined to ride RT if I am going to be required to make unreasonable accommodations and put my kids in a unsafe situation on top of the platform when toddlers are unable to receive commands. To make sure they remain safe I need to hold two hands while I am requested to fold a stroller. It is an impossible request and seems to disproportionately disenfranchise people in my situation. Thank You, Lauren

Reply:  Strollers need to be folded in order to make room for passengers in wheelchairs and to keep aisle ways clear. While I understand that it might be incovenient to fold up a stroller, it provides more space for others and improves our safety.

Sacramento, CA:  What areas have the highest demand for new or increased stops or service?

Reply:  Our new bus network which launches on September 8 will extend our service into some new areas including farther into North Natomas, which has been a long-standing need, as well as farther into North Highlands, which has arguably needed service even longer. We are also working on a grant-funded airport shuttle. But at today's funding levels, we are somewhat limited in where we can expand. With our full-size bus service, which carries about 11 million riders each year, we are focusing on built-out areas that can support all-day/all-week service. But there are numerous communities where we would like to expand service with additional local sales tax money.

Closing Remarks:

Thank you for your questions. In honor of Independence Day, and because the first Friday of July falls on what will most likely be a long holiday weekend for many, we will hold the next session of Transit Talk with the General Manager/CEO on Friday, August 2, 2019.

Have a Happy Fourth of July!