Transit Talk with the General Manager

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

Welcome to the November 2019 edition of Transit Talk with the General Manager.

SacRT is currently seeking comments on potential service changes for next year, including bus service between Davis and the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, bus service to Sacramento International Airport and other miscellaneous changes for April 2020. For more information visit

If you still have questions about SacRT's new bus network, SacRT's Customer Call Center hours were expanded to help answer passenger questions. The new hours are 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 until December and extended if needed.

The weekend after the Thanksgiving holiday is typically the busiest for retailers and a great way to support the "Mom and Pop" businesses in the Sacramento region is to shop Small Business Saturday on November 30.

SacRT will make it even easier by providing free rides all day on bus, light rail and SmaRT Ride microtransit service system-wide. In addition a special SmaRT Ride shuttle service along a dedicated shopping route in the downtown/midtown communities will operate between 9:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. with service every 15 to 20 minutes. Visit for a copy of the Small Business Saturday map, or visit,, or To plan your trip, try SacRT's online trip planner at or call SacRT's Customer Service Center at 916-321-BUSS (2877).

SacRT's fare-free Holiday Bus will once again roll out on December 1. The colorful 40-foot SacRT Holiday Bus will be easy to spot as it travels on different routes throughout the Sacramento region spreading goodwill from Sunday, December 1, 2019 through Wednesday, January 1, 2020.

In keeping with the "season of giving," passengers will have the opportunity to deposit a cash donation in the farebox. This year, all donations will benefit the Sacramento Children's Home. Since 1867, the Sacramento Children's Home has been dedicated to caring for Sacramento's most vulnerable children and families. Text donations are also welcome and encouraged. To make a secure text donation, text GIVETOSCH to 44321. For more information about the Sacramento Children's Home, visit

View the Holiday Bus schedule at to find out when the Holiday Bus will be traveling to a neighborhood near you!

Just a reminder to parents and youth that the RideFreeRT program for youth in grades TK - 12 isn't just for school. During the holiday break we encourage youth to take transit to the park, the mall, the ice rink or wherever they might want to go during their time off. At the beginning of the school year, schools issued school ID cards and free ride stickers. If a child's school did not provide a school ID card, SacRT RideFreeRT cards and stickers are available from the school. Youth can also get RideFreeRT cards and stickers at all Sacramento public libraries. More information about the program visit

Lastly, with all the typical distractions in our daily lives as well as the hustle and bustle of the approaching holiday season, I'd like to remind riders, pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists to be aware around train tracks. Whether on foot, a bike or in a vehicle, it is illegal to go around moving or lowered crossing gates.

Look and listen for trains. Light rail trains can travel at any time from either direction and are relatively quiet. After a train has passed, a second train might be traveling from the opposite direction. When you see tracks, think train and stay safe.

Also, as winter draws near, heavy winds and rain can down trees and block light rail tracks and roads. Please know that SacRT crews are working around the clock to reduce any delays to service.

I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving. Now let's get to your questions.

Sacramento, CA:  Can you give an update on the new proposed RT line connecting UC Davis with Sacramento?

Reply:  SacRT, in partnership with UC Davis and Yolo Bus will be launching the UC Davis shuttle service in April 2020. We are calling this service, the Causeway Connection. We are currently finalizing schedules, stops and reaching out to community members and riders. We are very excited to launch this zero emission frequent bus service that will connect the UC Davis Campus with Downtown Sacramento and the UC Davis Medical Center.

Sacramento, CA:  What are the hours for security officers at the light rail stations?

Reply:  We have 24 hour coverage of security officers system wide. We staff security officers at stations starting at 0530 am until 0100am. The security officers often move throughout the system during their shift. We also operate and maintain a 24/7 Security Operations Center that monitors thousands of live feed cameras throughout our system. You can reach out to our Security Operations Center at any time by calling: 916-556-0275

Sacramento, CA:  I love and somewhat dislike the airport service proposal. I love it because it somewhat makes existing YoloBus service more frequent than once an hour. I dislike the service proposal because I think it doesn’t go far enough to address airport service to communities like Natomas. For example, here in Natomas, we would still have to somehow get into downtown before going to the airport under your staff proposal going before your board later this month. Have you received any written communication and/or correspondence regarding the concerns in the Natomas area about this topic? Is Regional Transit internally addressing this matter, an important one to Natomas, and hopefully will bring a solution to the board later on in November?

Reply:  Thank you for your feedback. We are excited to launch bus service to the airport and will work with Yolo Bus to coordinate service. As you know, SacRT has long planned a light rail extension to the airport that will also traverse through the communities of South and North Natomas. We are continually looking at ways to add service to underserved communities. Through SacRT Forward we were able to extend some of our bus routes further into the North Natomas community. We will continually work with the community to identify ways to add more service.

Sacramento, CA:  It seems that daily we receive alerts that a light rail train is late, delayed or broken down. Why is this happening so frequently?

Reply:  In an effort to keep our customers informed SacRT staff sends out frequent messaging regarding the status of our light rail fleet. While there are multiple updates per day it is important to remember that SacRT also runs a lot of light rail service. Additionally, SacRT is dealing with an aging light rail fleet that is prone to occasional breakdowns. We are actively seeking funding to replace our vehicles with new state of the art, low-floor trains that will be much more dependable.

Citrus heights, CA:  In the last issue of next top news, I heard that the 82 will be eliminated? There are people along the 82 route, that are going to not gonna be able to go between American River College and sacState. In the future, I might be going back to American River College and might be living along that line. What I notice about that route, if anything, is that some of the drivers are oblivious to disabled passengers, particularly if the passenger is blind and are often times rude. Why are they illuminating that route in the first place if it’s popular?

Reply:  SacRT is not eliminating route 82. We are temporarily detouring the route to better servce local residents and a business park, while we work with county staff to install a bus stop at Whitney. The detour took effect October 27th. In addition, we improved weekend service frequency on route 82 as part of our SacRT Forward initiative.

Sacramento , CA:  Hey Henry Li. I have been a frequent user of smart ride for some time now and hace been making the Honda dealership by greenback and auburn as my designated stop to cat ch route one to go to American river college for school. Any chance for smart ride to be able to stop at bus stops through the micro transit app or even have American river college be a designated stop in itself for smart ride? Also, I read in a previous transit talk session that it was mentioned that the new low floor vehicles will be similar to what San Diego has for their modern light rail system. Any confirmations or further updates on that? Thanks.

Reply:  Thank you for yor question. SmaRT Ride will pick riders up at requested stop locations, as long as they are in the service area. When we launch the downtown SmaRT Ride service, we will have desingated SmaRT Ride stop pick-up/drop off location in an effort to not disrupt traffic. In regards to light rail vehciles, we are working with San Diego to piggback off of their procurement so the vehicles will be very similar.

Sacramento, CA:  What is the status on the old RT bus stop signs? I have only received one email saying I would be notified soon when I can pick it up, but that was weeks ago.

Reply:  We are currently working through the large lists of requests. The first 100 sign requests are currently being disseminated We will contact you as soon as we reach your number.

Sacramento, CA:  Mr. Li, Thanks for having the QA once a month to answer questions. I know there is a lot going on with SacRT Forward, the new State buildings going up, and the MLS at the Sacramento Railyards. You have a full plate a head of you: double-tracking to Folsom (first), linking up all the Colleges (2nd) and the double tracking of the green line. The old State printing Plant will be torn down with a replacement of 4500 employees and only 1400 parking spaces. What a chance for SacRT to capture that market! T

Reply:  Thank you. We have plenty of work ahead of us!

Sacramento, CA:  Will we ever see four-car light rail trains again? Now that you're offering free rides for students, commuters are being crowded.

Reply:  SacRT is working hard to keep as many train cars in service as possible and is actively developing plans to more efficiently disperse the vehicles that we have in operation each day. Student ridership only makes up less than 5% of total light rail ridership. We are carefully monitoring the Ryde Free RT program for students and it’s impact on our current services.

Township Nine, CA:  We currently have weekday light rail service in our section of Sacramento, but no weekend/holiday service. With the recent announcement of the addition of Sacramento Republic FC into Major League Soccer, what is the 26-month planning process looking like to bring us in Township Nine the addition of weekend/holiday Green Line Service, and will the team/franchise and its ownership be able to pay Regional Transit for the construction and operation of light rail service to a brand new station at and/or near Railyards Boulevard and North 7th Street. This is something you should not have to pay for, but rather the team/franchise. In my opinion, it would make for a model example of how a great public-private partnership should work. Thank you. Do you agree with my questions and stance on this topic?

Reply:  We are very excited about the announcement that the Sacramento Republic FC will be entering the MLS in 2022. We are working with the developer to construct a new Railyards light rail station that will serve the stadium and surrounding development. The development group will be covering the costs of the station. We are looking to double track 7th Street, which will allow for 15 minute service frequency on the Green Line and on game days we will be sure to launch special service to connect the other light rail lines.

South Sacramento, CA:  When does the Morrison Creek Blue Line Station finally become available for boarding and alighting? It’s been 4+ years of the Blue Line to CRC, but the Morrison Creek Station remains dormant and out of commission. Thank you.

Reply:  SacRT will construct the Morrison Creek light rail station as the surrounding development in Delta Shores comes online.

Sacramento, CA:  The doors on the newest light rail cars stay open through the stops, allowing cold air to chill passengers. Can this be changed?

Reply:  Thank you for your question. Climate control on our trains is very important especially during the cold winter season and hot summer months. I will discuss with our operations department.

Sacramento, CA:  Regarding the proposed RT line connecting UC Davis with Sacramento in April 2020, is RT truly seeking community feedback about what the routes should be? I heard there will be significant changes to pick-up and drop off locations which will extend the commute for most riders. Can you please provide details about the current proposed route, including where/when the stops will be and if there will be express buses going directly from UCD campus to UCD Health?

Reply:  Thank you for the comment. UC Davis is leading the outreach effort in regards to the Causeway Connection. They have scheduled some additional Open Houses to discuss the service with riders and community members. We hope you can join us and provide your feedback. The two open houses are scheduled for: Wednesday November 6th - Walter A Buehler Alumni Center (530 Alumni Lane, Davis CA 95616), Founders Room, 12-1:30pm and 5-6:30pm Thursday November 7th - Center for Health and Technology, Room 1135 (4610 X St, Sacramento, CA 95817), 11am-1:00pm. and 4-6:00pm

Sacramento, CA:  What are agency's future plans for rolling out improved wayfinding such as walking maps, at-stop schedules and digital, real-time signage? Thank you.

Reply:  On September 8, 2019, we installed real-time bus tracker electronic signs at 12 bus stop shelters across our system. We plan to expand the electronic signs to additional locations in the future. Stay tuned for real time arrival of light rail service.

Orangevale, CA:  Hello, the Sunrise/Folsom - bound trains in the 5:30-6:30 pm timeframe on two consecutive Mondays were late and packed to the gills when arriving at 65th St on 10/21 and 10/28. Are Monday trains 3 or fewer cars ? Should I leave work earlier than 5:30 pm on Mondays to try to get on an earlier train than the 5:27 or 5:42 pm train? On 10/28, I had to wait until approximately 6:30 pm after having arrived at the station at 5:20 pm and not being able to get on a late Folsom train since it was already packed, which didn't stop riders from squeezing onto just the 2 cars comprising that train. Thank you.

Reply:  Thank you for bringing this to my attention. As you know, SacRT has an aging fleet of light rail vehicles that we will be replacing with modern, low-floor vehicles in the near future. Because of the age of our fleet, many vehicles require routine maintenance and may need to be pulled from service from time to time. We are continually monitoring our vehicle capacity and will adjust accordingly to meet demand.

CARMICHAEL, CA:  First,will restoring previously deleted 68/55 segments to the 'new' 68 potentially require adjustments to the 67 schedule as well,since 67/68 trips arriving at CRC change to the opposing route on the return trip to Arden Fair?Second,will there be stops on north Diablo if and once the 93 routing is simplified?

Reply:  There are no scheduled changes to route 68 due to route adjustments. Yes, we will be adding new bus stops on Diablo Drive.

Galt, CA:  Greetings, and Welcome to November. I hope everything is going well. I had an opportunity to watch your October Board Meeting on the organization’s YouTube Channel. I was quite intrigued on the possibility of operating and maintaining the four transit services that we have in Galt. I am currently bothered by the policies in place in the current service and hope that Regional Transit gets the opportunity soon to operate the existing services in Galt. Last month, I asked the driver I had for a transfer, and he in turn asked me where I was going. I said that I was going to South Sacramento from the Cosumnes River College Station and transit center. He then asked me if I was going into Elk Grove or into Sacramento. I asked him why. He explained to me that transfers are issued to passengers transferring to E-Tran, but that transfers are not issued when transferring to Regional Transit. I asked why, when recently, it was brought to my attention that E-Tran is operated by RT drivers, but so is RT. The driver between Galt and Cosumnes River College did not have an explanation as to why this was their current policy. As a result, I hope RT operates our routes down here. How soon will you know if you have been awarded our service in Galt, and when would it begin operating under the RT umbrella? Thank you.

Reply:  Bus service in Galt is operated by South County Transit. They currently have an RFP to contract their service with an operator. SacRT will be responding to the RFP. As you mention, we are currently the contracted operator for Elk Grove's e-Tran service.

Rancho Córdova , CA:  What is the status of going from “scheduled train information” to “real time train information?” It seems like this is an on-going effort to finally get launched. I have however noticed that at some stations in Central Sacramento that the “next train” electronic display board now displays up to the next five trains, and not just the next three trains. This is not yet the case at suburban and/or rural stations.

Reply:  The real time information for trains is still in the testing phase. We plan to launch it as soon as possible.

Sacramento, CA:  Good day, It's great that SacRT is offering free-fares for youths, but the one Bus Stop serving “Leataata Floyd Elementary School” & “Health Professions High School” in the low income and elderly communities of Marina Vista/Seavey Cir. Apts. was discontinued on Sep. 8th. The nearest Bus Stop is on the corner of 5th St. & Broadway. It is more than a half mile walk to the Bus Stop. Also going south on 5th St. from Broadway, one side of the street is unpaved or have no pedestrian sidewalk at all, making wheel chair inaccessible without a strong abled attendant pushing through the graveled areas or cars parked on-top of sidewalks on business hours. The entire street is poorly lit after sundown and no one would be stupid enough to either walk all the way to/from the 5th & Broadway Bus Stop—hence I see very few people utilizing those two stops—even in the daytime. In short, it is on a VERY desolate pedestrian street next door to a Marijuana Dispensary. Last year, it was said the Bus Stop near the TWO schools & the Marina Vista/Seavey Cir. Apts. was said to have been discontinued because of low usage, but didn't SacRT have the foresight into thinking that it was because of the constant fare increases & how expensive it was to ride the bus, that the low-income elderly and youths in that community and the TWO schools next to it refrained from using SacRT. When the fares were constantly being increased, the elderly and/or disabled would group all their chores onto a single ride, while the younger/abled ones would either walk, bike, or drive. Uber, Lyft, and ParaTransit are not an option for many with a low fixed-income in the area. Also, if you had made free-fares for youths available BEFORE CANCELING the Bus Stop, then you would see the increasing usage of that stop—that's TWO schools next door to one another. Even though bus rides are free for youths, there is no close bus stop to get to where they are going. Those in the Alder Grove community next door who also goes to the TWO schools, can no longer utilize the free rides because of the cancelled stop near their schools—the students make the one mile walk instead of walking half a mile, wait up to h30 minutes for another half mile bus ride. Also, the "promised" SmaRT Ride for the discontinued portions never materialized. In a SacRT flyer, it was promised on Jun. 17th would have SmaRT Ride available to the TWO schools and the Marina Vista Apt./Seavey Cir. areas affected by the discontinued bus stop, but it never materialized. I now realize it was just to temporarily placate the affected residents at the time—smart move. I’ve been riding the bus when it was still #8 before the change to #38 in the early 80s. They never discontinued bus service when they researched & realized how many people it would affect. A few elderly neighbors say they became very sick after making that long walk to/from Target Store (Riverside & Broadway) just to buy groceries, as they have health issues—getting to downtown just in order to transfer onto other buses or the light rail to go else wheres is even harder now. Anyhow, any help in assisting in public transportation for the community members where I reside in is greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Reply:  We are launching SmaRT Ride for that area on January 6, 2020. Youth in grades TK through 12 can ride for free and there are discounted rates available for seniors. Also, if you have a group of five or more that travel from the same pick up location to the same drop off location, you can ride for free.

Closing Remarks:
Thank you for your questions. The next session of Transit Talk with the General Manager/CEO will take place on Friday, December 6, 2019.

Unfortunately we did not have time to address all questions today. If you have more questions about the UC Davis Shuttle, please attend a public forum on November 6 or 7.