Transit Talk with the General Manager

September 06, 2019
Henry Li, General Manager/CEO
General Transit Questions
Opening Remarks:

Welcome to the September 2019 edition of Transit Talk with the General Manager! I hope you had a nice Labor Day weekend.

We are just a couple of days away from the launch of SacRT's new bus network! After months of planning and a lot of input from you, our riders, we are ready to commence the new bus service on Sunday, September 8. The new bus network is designed to improve service frequency, scheduling, weekend service and connectivity.

Adjustments have been made to almost every bus route, some minor and some much more substantial so please make sure you are aware of the changes that may impact you. The new bus network consists of:

-27 regular fixed routes
-15 peak hour only routes
-All routes have 7-day a week service (with the exception of one route)
-All routes have 45 minute or better service (with the exception of one route)

If you haven't already, visit for information about the service changes, including those that serve schools in SacRT's service area. You can also use the SacRT trip planner to plan your trip in advance of the changes. Simply enter any date after September 8, your starting point and your destination to find out which route or routes you will use on the new bus network.

To help riders navigate the new bus network, staff will be at various locations throughout the system offering trip planning assistance.

SacRT's Customer Call Center is also expanding hours to help answer passenger questions about the new bus network. Starting Sunday, September 8, the new hours will be Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends. The expanded hours will be in effect for 90 days and extended if needed.

And as a thank you to passengers, and to encourage new riders, SacRT is offering free rides to celebrate the launch of the new service. Sunday, September 8 through Wednesday, September 11, all rides on buses and light rail are free. Be sure to tell your family, friends and colleagues.

As part of the new bus network, new system maps and new bus stop signs have been put up across the region. This is the first time in 30 years that SacRT has redesigned the bus stop sign. The new sign is double sided, so information can be seen from both directions and features the destination name so riders know which direction the bus is headed.

If you'd like an old bus stop sign, simply email to request a sign. Bus stop signs will be available for pick up starting Tuesday, October 1, 2019.

Thanks to partnerships with the City of Sacramento, Citrus Heights, Rancho Cordova and Folsom, on Tuesday, October 1, SacRT is offering fare-free transit for students in grades TK through 12. The Ryde Free RT (Student fare free transit pass) program will provide over 200,000 students the opportunity to ride any of SacRT's fixed-route or SmaRT Ride microtransit services at any time within SacRT's service area from October 1, 2019 through September 30, 2020. If funding is available we plan to continue this program beyond 2020.

While some students will receive a Student ID and sticker this month, the program does not start until October 1 so students and parents are reminded to purchase a monthly pass for September.

Students will be issued a sticker from their school that should be placed directly on the student's valid school identification (ID) card, allowing schools to print and issue ID cards with the transit pass sticker already affixed to them. Schools that do not provide student ID's will receive SacRT cards with the sticker attached. SacRT cards are also available at all Sacramento Public Libraries. More information about the program is available at

Now let's get to your questions.

Sacramento , CA:  When RT offers free rides from the 8th to the 11th, do folks need to still tap their Connect Card or will that not be necessary? Also, I occasionally use para transit. Last evening my ride from Antelope to Sacramento was over an hour late. What does RT and Paratransit do to assure these excessively late rides are curtailed or avoided in the future. When I spoke with dispatch for paratransit, they did not have good feedback and gave vague responses. I really enjoy these Q&A offered to the public monthly. Thanks, Rich R

Reply:  Thank you for your question. Passengers will not need to tap their Connect Cards during the free ride days. I apologize for the inconvenience you experienced with your Paratransit trip. SacRT currently contracts with Paratransit Inc. for our ADA paratransit service. We will have staff reach out and see if we can assist them in any way.

Sacramento, CA:  Glad to see more Sunday service. How many buses will be on Stetson sundays compared to now. Will it take add sales tax for late night. Service. R t forward good start

Reply:  I'm glad you like the new Sunday service. I'm may need more information regarding the location your are referring to. As for a transportation sales tax, as you may know, SacRT currently receives 1/6th of 1 penny in local support. Similar transit agencies of our size receive approximately five times more in local funding. There are currently planning efforts to pursue additional transit funding that would support later service spans and frequency.

Gold River, CA:  You have cut the 28 line . Exactly how do you propose I get to Walmart, the grocery store and the light rail? The cost of gas is rising you should add service not cut!

Reply:  Thankfully with the new SacRT Forward network, we have more service and frequency that will provide individuals with additional travel options. We find that a lot of our customers take the Gold Line to the Walmart on Folsom Blvd. Historically, we were getting about 20 people per day who got off on the #28 at that location, and that is the same stop as the Zinfandel light rail station, so not all of those 20 people are necessarily going to Walmart.

Sacramento, CA:  Will the 86 heading to Marconi/Arcade stop at 7th and Capitol? If not, where is the nearest stop and why weren't signs placed at the stop to advertise that??

Reply:  Thank you for your question. The new #86 will pick up on L Street at 9th Street, along with the #30, 38, 62, and 88 as well. We have signage out at Capitol Mall right now, alerting riders to the changes, and we have had people riding all these routes all summer to let customers know, however, when we were looking at the signage out there yesterday, we did feel that it could be more clear. We will put some additional signage out there. Thank you for bringing this to my attention!

Folsom, CA:  Hi my question is do you plan on adding more routes in folsom ?

Reply:  SacRT and the City of Folsom reached an annexation agreement for transit services last winter and we began operating the service in February. As part of the agreement, we have promised not to make any changes to the routes during the first year. Moving forward, we will work with the city on optimizing routes and potentially adding service such as SmaRT Ride, better connections to High Schools and a connection to Folsom Lake College.

Sacramento, CA:  Hi my question is why don't you parter with yolobus and other transit agencies to form one big sacramento metro tranist and cover all 6 counties ? This one add more light rail and exprees and intercity and local and 24 hr routes and these would befits and make these Sacramento metro transit big to compete one la and bay area transit ?

Reply:  You may have read that Folsom Stage Line recently merged into SacRT. We worked for some time with their City Council and staff to make a smooth transition and so far I think all parties have been really pleased with the results from integrating the two services. We have also reached a contract agreement with the City of Elk Grove to operate the eTran bus service. We believe that integrated system will allow us to realize efficiencies and eliminate redundancies while providing a better rider experience. We are happy to take on a larger area, but it has to be something that the local jurisdictions want and we need to show that we can deliver.

Sacramento, CA:  Any word on when SmartRide will come to downtown? I have a feeling it will be used by a lot of people.

Reply:  We are shooting for November. We are very excited to launch this zone and a number of others in the coming future.

Sacramento, CA:  I’ve got a bit of an out of this world question. For weekends, and this weekend of particular note, why are service changes of any proportion implemeted on a Sunday, rather than a Saturday to start the weekend, or a Monday, to start the workweek? I don’t know about you, but I feel that implementing service changes on a Sunday is a bit disruptive - for lack of a better word, than to implement service changes on a Saturday or a Monday. A couple examples that I can see in your changing network is Route 13 in North Sacramento and Route 61 in South Sacramento. These two routes, for example, will not operate this particular Saturday - September 7th. They will be operating on Sunday the 8th. What happens if a rider needed any one or both of these routes on Saturday, and there was no alternative route to get there? They’re stuck or they have to walk quite a ways due to the one day disruption. Had service changed on Saturday or Monday, they would enjoy these routes the entire weekend. Now, just to get an entire weekend of service, riders on these two particular routes have to wait until September 14th at the earliest to enjoy a full weekend of service benefits. I hope my question and explanation will help drive change on this particular topic in the organization. Thank you.

Reply:  Thanks for your question. The reason we do service changes on Sunday is a combination of union agreement, management practices (e.g., weekly processes for filling vacations and other absences) and some of our software, both on the transit management side and the payroll side. Even with the example you pointed out, it maybe seems a little odd to have no #13 on Saturday, and then to have it on Sunday, but that is still a good thing. The bottom line is we're getting new weekend service on the #13 and numerous other routes! The sooner the better!

Sacramento, CA:  What other areas will the "SmartRide" be available for riders?

Reply:  Staff is still putting the exact boundaries together, but future locations include Rancho Cordova, North Sacramento, Folsom, Gerber, and Downtown among others.

Sacramento, CA:  Hi my question is will there be more routes added in the futer for under serviced natomas area or other areas ?

Reply:  Great question. We were able to add additional service to North Natomas through SacRT Forward. It is important to note that the North Natomas JIBE (SacRT is the operator) is a service that is also available in North Natomas. You can learn more about SacRT Forward route changes here: You can learn more about the JIBE here:

Sacramento, CA:  Hi my question do you plan on extending light rail to elk grove and natomas area ?

Reply:  Hello. Thank you for your interest in light rail expansions that would create a more connected region. In August, SacRT presented our unmet needs to the Sacramento Transportation Authority. Those presentations included our plans to extend Light Rail to Elk Grove and through Natomas to Sacramento International Airport. These are part of our future plans and we are doing staff and searching for funding to make these a reality.

Sacramento, CA:  What stations will the SacRT staff be at this weekend? I would like to get a blue bag.

Reply:  Thanks for your interest. Sunday and Monday, SacRT staff will be at most Transit Centers: Louis-Orlando, Arden Fair, Sunrise Mall, CRC, Florin Towne Center, Watt-I/80, Mather/Mills, assist passengers with SacRT Forward route changes. They will have materials but, sorry, not blue bags. If you'd like a bag you can come to our Main office (1400 29th Street) and ask for Katie. The transit centers can be found on our new system map:

Sacramento, CA:  I would love to see "SmartRide" along Calvine Road (Bradshaw, Vineyard Road, Waterman Blvd). Also, how does it work with college students who has a student pass?

Reply:  This Monday, September 9, Smart Ride will start service on Gerber-Calvine. Visit for a map and details.

Sacramento, CA:  Hello, Can you please explain why the 7th and Capitol Mall stop is being eliminated? It is a major hub for numerous bus routes. Those signs placed at this and other bus stops do not always get noticed by all passengers. Would it be too much for the drivers to kindly remind 'regulars' of these changes?

Reply:  Here is background regarding Capitol Mall service: SacRT will no longer be serving the stop on Capitol Mall, between 7th and 8th Streets, except with the 51X Golden 1 Center shuttle. The remainder of the routes will be rerouted to L Street. Those routes are the 30, 38, 62, 86, and 88. This will basically put these routes back where they used to be, on L Street, prior to the Golden 1 Center opening. These buses will pick up on L Street at 9th Street and on L Street at 4th Street. Once construction is complete at L & 7th, we will add a stop there. Route 11 also stops on Capitol Mall today, but it will have a different route. It will be going up and down 7th and 8th Streets. So if you are trying to catch it to Natomas, you'll probably want to board at 8th & Capitol. In case you're wondering, Yolobus will NOT be moving off of Capitol Mall at this time. Their buses will remain on Capitol Mall for the time being, although they are underway with a major study kind of like SacRT Forward, so that may be something they look at. Back in 2016, we moved these routes from L Street to Capitol Mall because of concern about frequent detours off of L Street due to Golden 1 Center events. But what we've found is that there are so many events on Capitol Mall, and the events on Capitol Mall are all day long, that we'd prefer to be back on L Street, where during most of the service day, it is a straight shot for our buses. When we do have Golden 1 Center events, we will detour off of L Street, back to Capitol Mall, but those typically only affect a few trips at the end of the service day on a few routes.

Sacramento, CA:  Henry. Do we know anything more about light rail accident overall I would give you excellent grade for all the changes you have been making

Reply:  Thank you for the question. I provided an update during the last Board Meeting. The National Transportation Safety Board concluded their Field Investigation within three days and will issue a report on their findings in the near future. The investigators praised SacRT staff for working tireless to address the incident and for being transparent and collaborative. I will be sure to share additional details in the near future.

Folsom, CA:  Hi i been a sac rt rider for 10 years and i seen a bad custermer service from your drivers towerds people who ride your buses and dirrty buses and dirty bus stop , my question is do you plan on fixing your custermer service problems with your driver and cleaning your buses and bus stops ?

Reply:  Thank you for your question and I apologize for the experiences you have had. We have added additional training for our operators and take customer service very seriously. You should feel free to reach out to Customer Service department so that we have a log of complaints: (916) 557-4545 or

Citrus Heights, CA:  Citrus Heights: Living where I do, I’m hoping that I will continue to be able to go to my favorite restaurant via RT with just as much ease. Wonderful Chinese Restaurant, , is that establishment. Possibly Citrus Heights‘ most popular restaurant! Because I enjoy drinking alcohol there, RT is my perfect answer. If it’s less convenient, I might be forced to eat by my house.Thank you.

Reply:  You'll probably want to take the new Route 25, which will run seven days a week! You can also trip plan here:

Anelope, CA:  Hey Henry Li. I remember looking at SACRT’s plans for improvements to their fleet a few years ago and saw there was a possibility of acquiring articulated or accordion buses. Any plans still down the line to possibly purchase some down the line? Also, what manufacture will the low floor LRV’s come from? Thanks.

Reply:  Thank you for the question SacRT is always looking to improve our fleet. We are currently procuring various makes and models of electric buses. At the moment, we do not have any plans for accordion buses. At our last Board meeting, SacRT conditionally awarded a contract to Siemens Mobility, located here in Sacramento, for the procurement of new low floor light rail vehicles.

Closing Remarks:

Thank you for your questions. The next session of Transit Talk with the General Manager/CEO will take place on Friday, October 4, 2019.