Transit Talk with the General Manager

February 07, 2020
Henry Li, General Manager/CEO
General Transit Questions
Opening Remarks:

Welcome to the February 2020 edition of Transit Talk with the General Manager.

If you traveled in the month of January, I hope you took advantage of SacRT's new Route 142, which is express bus service to the airport. SacRT's Airport Express Bus operates between downtown Sacramento and the Sacramento International Airport seven days a week every 20 or 30 minutes combined with Yolobus routes 42A and 42B. The new airport express service begins at 3:24 a.m. and operates until midnight. For questions or help with trip planning, call customer service at 916-321-BUSS (2877) or visit

Other new service launched in January is six new SmaRT Ride service areas; along with the new SacRT SmaRT Ride app. I am happy to report that response to the on-demand transit service has been positive and we are looking to expand into additional service areas this summer. Visit for maps of all the service areas and additional information.

Make a transit connection this Valentine's Day, Friday, February 14. Two or more can ride SmaRT Ride for free. Or take a Valentine's Day selfie on a SacRT bus or train and tag us for a chance to win a free monthly pass, make sure to use the hashtag #ILOVESacRT.

Have you heard about SacRT's cash incentive program for new bus operators? As we move forward with more bus service, SacRT is offering retention incentives to hire and keep more highly skilled bus operators.

The Operator Incentive Program is offered to newly hired operators once they complete two major milestones in the district. The first, an operator will receive $500 upon completion of a six month probationary period and a second amount of $500 after one year on the job. Visit for a posting of all open positions.

On Monday, April 6, the new Causeway Connection electric bus service between Davis and Sacramento will begin operation. SacRT and Yolobus will operate the service in partnership with UC Davis, the City of Sacramento, Electrify America and the Sacramento Area Council of Governments to operate the new public intercity express bus service.

The new Route 138 Causeway Connection will feature zero emission electric buses with 33 seats, two wheelchair spaces, bike racks, free Wi-Fi and USB charging posts available at all seats.

The service will be operated by SacRT and Yolobus, Additional information is available at

SacRT will begin operating paratransit services on Sunday, June 28. The new service is called SacRT GO Paratransit Services. The only change to the future ADA paratransit service is that SacRT will operate the service directly instead of contracting with Paratransit, Inc. We expect the change will improve service quality and customer satisfaction. Current services levels will not change and fare will not increase. For more information, contact SacRT's Accessible Services Department at 916-557-4685.

Now let's get to your questions.

Sacramento, CA:  Back in January, SacRT launched the Airport Express, in which documents mentioned that when combined with Yolobus, service is every twenty to thirty minutes. What would SacRT do should YoloBus make service changes to their route that serves the airport, whether it’s in service days, span of service hours, or in overall frequency operating throughout the day? How soon could SacRT react to changes made by YoloBus should the changes either positively or negatively impact SacRT?

Reply:  It depends on the type of changes. We can always make minor adjustments to the schedule. You may have noticed that we recently moved the end point of the route from 15th & K Street to L Street & 14th Street, to help ease congestion on 15th Street. Thank you to the City of Sacramento for temporarily granting us some extra curb space on L Street. Having regional services like the airport bus means more coordination with other agencies, but we have a great partnership with Yolobus, who we will also be working with on the upcoming Causeway Connection. Yolobus is actually undergoing their own system redesign right now, which we're watching closely. In fact, we will have staff at their Board meeting on Monday night to listen to the update on the project!

Sacramento, CA:  When will eTran (Elk Grove) accept passes on the ZipPass app?

Reply:  When SacRT launched the ZipPass application we included options to add on other transit providers in our area. SacRT has reached out to our neighboring partners, but E-Tran has not chosen to join ZipPass at this time.

Sacramento, CA:  Is SacRT and its partners considering launching any additional SmaRTride zones, especially where fixed route coverage was lost back on September 8, 2019? What zones are you looking at creating and when could they possibly start?

Reply:  We are considering expanding some of the service areas and add one new service area in July 2020. Since we just launched six new service areas last month, we are currently working on streamlining those service areas.

Sacramento, CA:  Commuters are sick of two-car light rail trains. All this week we've been putting up with packed light rail cars, morning and evening. What is going on?

Reply:  We apologize for the inconvenience We don't want to run two car light rail trains, but with our aging light rail vehicles, there are times when they need to be serviced and maintained. Our goal is to have three and four car trains, especially during peak hours. We are working with our partners to purchase new light rail vehicles as soon as possible.

sacramento/rancho coordova, CA:  Hello Mr Li, Thank you for taking my comments. I just wanted to voice my concerns over the regular night delays on the gold line. There was one month, I believe in October or November, where the train was literally on schedule a handful of times. As someone that is just getting off of work - and as someone that pays 100/month (not an insignificant amount) - this can be very frustrating. It has gotten a bit better since then but the nightly delays on the gold line are still pretty common. Is there anything that is being done to limit these delays even further? I was also wondering if there is anything being done about the over crowdedness? Again,to have the train late and then overcrowded is not a pleasant way to spend an evening after work. Thank you Thank you.

Reply:  We understand the frustration and we are working on adjusting our light rail schedules. We have been ordered to slow down along certain stretches which causes delays to our current schedule times. We are currently evaluating the real-time train times with the revised speeds to make adjustments to the schedules. We are also working on a light rail modernization project on Gold Line, which includes the purchase of new low-floor light rail vehicles, station improvements and double tracking sections of Folsom stations to provide 15-minute service to Folsom stations. Thank you for riding and we hope we can make these improvements soon.

Sacramento, CA:  Besides the “Causeway Connection” starting in April, what else is SacRT contemplating in doing as it relates to changing any service?

Reply:  Yes! We actually have a number of changes coming up in April, that will take effect on 4/5/20. First, we are adding running time to #11 Truxel, #23 El Camino, and #56 Meadowview to improve reliability. Second, we are adding an early morning trip on #21 Sunrise and we're improving the Saturday #30 J Street from every 60 to 30 minutes. Third, all the buses that go to University/65th St station will be detoured due to construction. They will still go to the 65th Street station, but the routing will be different. This will affect Routes 26, 38, 81, 82, and 87. More information will be available online soon. Fourth, we will be making a minor change to Route 75 in Rancho Cordova. We are going to split the route into two routes, the #75 and the #78. Collectively, they will have the same number of trips, buses and stops. Everything will be the same, except that at the Mather light rail station, if you are headed to Butterfield, you will catch the #78, and if you are headed to Mather or the VA Hospital, you will catch the #75. This change is strictly to make it less confusing at Mather, so customers don't get on the #75 in the wrong direction. Last, we are doing a minor re-route to #93 Hillsdale from Andrea Blvd to Diablo Drive. This is a part of Andrea Blvd where we don't have any bus stops, so it will just speed up the bus.

Sacramento, CA:  When is L st bustops going to be fixed ,reexamined, from 17 to 4 with SacMov impacts ? Too little space, too many buses , Not enough shelter or stops .

Reply:  Due to the Convention Center construction, and the construction at 15th & K, curb space downtown is really tight, and this is a tough area, because it is the end of the line for both Yolobus and now SacRT with our new #142 Airport bus route. Thanks to our partners at the City of Sacramento, we were able to get some additional curb space at L & 14th Street which allowed us to move our #142 Airport bus here for the operator break and we've already seen much better flow of buses and traffic on 15th St. We will continue to look into this. Thank you!

Rancho Cordova, CA:  SacRT seems to rely on fare as part of the operating budget. Do you have any plan to get into sales tax or similar to support mass transit in Sacramento area?

Reply:  Thanks for your question. Fare revenues are just one part of our operating budget- we also currently receive funds from local, state, and federal sources. Though these are very limited and not enough to cover our needs, we always strive to improve service and address concerns. The Sacramento Transportation Authority has been working with their local and regional partners to see if a new source of revenue can also be dedicated to transportation, with the support of the voters.

sacramento, CA:  what is the session topic? where find this?

Reply:  Please check out my openings remarks. They include current SacRT projects and topics that I think might be of interest. However, you are free to ask a question that is of interest to you. Thank you for joining the chat.

sacramento, CA:  what/where is session title under scheduled chat?

Reply:  I believe you are on the right page. You can submit questions at the "submit question" feedback box and I hope to answer you. Thank you for visiting

Antelope, CA:  I ride lightrail on a daily basis. I understand things occur out of your control and lightrail is delayed. My only complaint is that the passengers are not informed. You had stated in response to one of my questions on this "Transit Talk" is that the expectation is that the train operators keep the passengers informed but they don't. My response from other RT personnel is that if we want the status then we are to use the phone app. Not everyone has a phone and sometimes that isn't updated right away. We just want to be communicated with. Sometimes we have to inform our employers or other modes of transportation but without the information it makes it difficult. Thanks for your time.

Reply:  The Alert SacRTapp remains your best option for receiving information about train delays prior to your trip. We will follow up with our light rail operations team and have them remind operators to keep passengers informed regarding delays and other service disruptions that occur while on board the train.

Sacramento , CA:  Having lived in ArdenArcade area for several years, the t is surprising to learn that the SacRT zone defined as “Arden” is not inclusive of ArdenArcade., and seems a wee bit misleading.

Reply:  The Arden SmaRT Ride zone is focused on parts of the Arden area where there has never been the density to support much or any fixed route service. West of Watt Avenue, there is a lot more fixed-route service, so we are trying not to be redundant. Smart Ride has helped us connect communities in the northeast county that otherwise would not have transit, and it has helped us attract a lot of new users to our system.

Sacramento, CA:  RT trains have continuously seen unsafe people and dirty trains. There are alerts of delayed and cancelled trips daily. In addition, we only have 1 to 2 cars with upset and angry people all crammed in. The poor drivers and RT support are left to try and still provide us a service. I along with others pay for our trip every day, and often times we have had to pay out of pocket for Lift services to get home on top of that. Along with the inconvenience, some of us cannot be late due to other obligations and family obligations. I’m hopeful that solutions are in the works, however the lack of communication is frustrating. It would be helpful to at least let us know a timeframe, why are we down to so few cars, etc. Why are there complications all throughout the day and sometimes the train is already 15 or more minutes late before we get the alert. I must say that throughout all of the frustrations I have tried to remain positive but it is getting harder by the day. We see the Downtown train with 4 plus cars pass by, while 1 car shows up for us. I would like to here what solutions you have for all these problems Mr. Li.

Reply:  We apologize for the inconvenience We are working on updating our alert system for riders to make sure any delays or issues are messaged right away. Our goal is to have three or four car trains running, especially during peak hours. We are working around the clock to maintain our aging light rail vehicles while we are working with our partners to purchase new light rail vehicles. Thank you for riding and we hope to get solutions in place quickly.

sacramento, CA:  are there any plans to extend the blue line to roseville and extend the gold to west sacramento also ever since you got rid of the downtown portion of the 5 you lost half of its riders any plans to restore downtown service and add back t street portion

Reply:  Thanks for asking. We are working with our partners from local, state, and federal levels as well as our metropolitan planning organization (SACOG) to see where Roseville and Placer County light rail extensions could be feasible for the communities. Please stay tuned. We're also working on providing service across West Sacramento, in partnership with City of Sacramento, West Sacramento, FTA, and SACOG. As for downtown, we're continuing to look at where our services are needed the most. If you haven't seen already, we've recently launched on-demand microtransit service in downtown, midtown and East Sacramento, where commuters can request a ride and get to their destination within the service boundary on SmaRT Ride.

Sacramento , CA:  Henry, I really like the SmaRT Ride program that is now available downtown. As an avid traveler using public transit who is blind, I am wondering if there is an easier way to flag the driver of a SmaRT Ride that I am blind and to look out for me. I have not been passed up but can see how this may be an issue for those who travel less frequently than I. The phone number to call to book a ride seems to have long wait times, so using this as an option does not seem feasible when using near on demand public transit ride share. Would it be possible to include a feature within the SmaRT Ride app that allows for persons with disabilities to flag the driver? Also, I have become increasingly concerned traveling to/from the 29th Street RT light rail stop. Attempting to cross over to and from RT 29th at 30th, just east of the freeway, it’s nearly impossible to cross over to catch a north bound 67 or 68 safely. With no audible pedestrian crossing and cars coming fast by the highway, it’s hard to hear when it’s safe to cross. Often many of us have to wait for an inbound or outbound train to safely walk while the train is in motion by our side. Is there any chance that RT can work with Sacramento traffic engineers to install audio pedestrian systems to allow safe travel to and from the RT station at 29th? I am proud of all that Sac RT has and continues to do for public transit. I applaud you for all the initiatives that you and your team are doing to encourage more folks in the region to ditch their cars and to try Sac RT. Thumbs up! Richard R

Reply:  We have been working with the City of Sacramento to fund crossing improvements to/from 29th Street light rail station. I think your story explains it perfectly why it is badly needed! I've also asked my staff to look into better ways to flag the bus. Although it is more expensive at $5.00, you may be eligible for paratransit, which will provide service right to your address, and a greater level of assistance. You can contact our Accessible Service department for more information on qualifying for Paratransit service. Please call 916-557-4685 or email Thank you for your suggestion!

Sacramento, CA:  When will low platform be explained to Public and Regional Transist Board ? 80-20,60-40 low 4" to 8" increases to platform at light rail stations . Accommodations,bike space,configuration,WiFi

Reply:  Thanks for asking. We're consistently working on our light rail modernization, which includes upgrades to our current light rail station platforms and replacement of light rail vehicles to low floors. As you have asked, we are also hoping that these new trains will have better accommodation easier accessibility, bike space, and other amenities. Stay tuned- it's coming soon.

sacramento, CA:  when will you move the #38 off of J street?

Reply:  We don't have any plans to move the #38 off of J Street. We'd like to continue to add buses to J Street as it is a city-identified transit priority corridor.

sacramento, CA:  Can you stop providing services that only work with cell phone and make these services also available with computer online?

Reply:  Thanks for your question. Our on-demand microtransit service is not only available to request a ride through our app, but also online or by phone. You can request a ride online at We also provide news, alerts, and other information on our website. Please let our teams know if we could be helpful with other methods of accessibility for our services.

sacramento, CA:  What is the average wait time for pickup on the SMART bus?

Reply:  Thanks for asking! Our SmaRT Ride on-demand microtransit service is a ride share service, which have different average wait times as low as 2 minutes. This is a pooled, ride-sharing service and we have a system that identifies the best, optimum route and fastest delivery times for all of our passengers.

Folsom, CA:  Is Regional Transit considering any service improvements along the former Folsom Stage Line routes, and/or expanding the Folsom “SmaRTride to 10pm on weeknights and adding weekend/holiday service to SmaRTride? To simplify the question, what are Regional Transit and the City of Folsom considering improving and/or changing in 2020 and/or 2021 with regards to current transit service and service levels? As a rider there, I feel a bit left out of the loop on transit services within the city itself. Thank you.

Reply:  We've taken a cautious approach with the Folsom Stage Line service since we acquired it from the City of Folsom. We have wanted to make sure we maintain the same high quality of service and customer satisfaction. That said, we have been taking a look at some minor improvements that we might be able to make. Our big initiative, however, has been to start with Smart Ride, which we now provide throughout the city of Folsom, to provide an on-demand option, in addition to the traditional dial-a-ride service.

Sacramento, CA:  I'm once again checking on the bus stop installation at 5th & L. I'm really losing faith that RT is going to step up and do this! I've been waiting since September and it's now February 7th. Has that approval been obtained? I hardly believe it takes this long. I work for the State and we get things done quicker! Please let me know when this bus stop will be installed. Thank you.

Reply:  We are working closely with the City of Sacramento to get this bus stop installed. We hope to have this stop available in the coming weeks.

Closing Remarks:

Thank you for your questions. The next session of Transit Talk with the General Manager/CEO will take place on Friday, March 6, 2020.