Transit Talk with the General Manager

June 05, 2020
Henry Li, General Manager/CEO
Transit Talk with the General Manager/CEO
Opening Remarks:

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

During these tumultuous times, SacRT remains committed to providing as much service to the community as safely possible. In compliance with the City of Sacramento's 8 p.m. curfew order and advice from law enforcement, we suspended service in and out of the downtown Sacramento/Central Business District beginning at 8 p.m. each night the curfew order is in place. We are aware that transit is a lifeline for many in our community and are working hard to ensure that we keep our region moving while balancing the safety of pedestrians, customers and employees. We continue to share our service plan information each day and encourage customers to download the free Alert SacRT app, visit, or call 916-321-BUSS (2877) for details.

On Sunday, June 14 SacRT is restoring weekday bus service and on Monday, June 15, we are expanding three SmaRT Ride service zones in the Franklin-South Sacramento, Rancho Cordova and North Sacramento areas. The added service will help SacRT stay ahead of increased demand for transit by providing enough vehicles and frequency to encourage safe social distancing onboard.

These changes will partially restore bus service levels to approximately 80 percent of SacRT's regular service levels (pre-COVID-19). The June 2020 service improvements will include earlier start times for most weekday bus routes, additional trips at the end of the route, and/or added frequency during peak hours to better serve riders. Weekend bus service will not be affected. The Causeway Connection zero emission electric bus service will continue to operate with a modified schedule. For a summary of the June 2020 service improvements and SmaRT Ride expansion areas, visit

As state and county restrictions accelerate to reopen, SacRT is ready to make the riding experience as safe as possible as we welcome many of our customers back. The safety, health and well-being of SacRT's customers and employees has been and continues to be a top priority. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been proactive in implementing numerous best safety practices to help customers with essential travel to destinations around the region while creating a safer transit environment.

SacRT continues to be vigilant in sanitation of buses, light rail vehicles and our facilities for the safety of passengers and employees. Buses and light rail vehicles are sanitized and fogged with Chlorine Dioxide every night. Employees are required to wear masks and are provided with personal protective equipment (PPE) such as hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, disposable gloves and safety glasses. In addition, all SacRT buses now have protective plexi-glass barriers by the driver's seat, which allows passengers to once again board at the front of the bus.

We appreciate the cooperation by passengers and encourage everyone to continue with social distancing, wearing masks or face coverings while riding buses and light rail trains, and use ZipPass, SacRT's mobile fare app, or the region's Connect Card to help reduce touch points. Even if you are not riding with SacRT just yet, rest assured when the time is right, we are preparing for your return. To learn more about the safety measures SacRT is taking, visit or call 916-321-BUSS (2877).

During these unprecedented times, SacRT remains committed to our communities. We have become much more than a transit agency, we've thrived as a health and social service partner. Last month, SacRT teamed up with the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) and the City of Sacramento to equip buses with free wireless hotspots in communities with limited high-speed internet access during the COVID-19 pandemic. There are 10 WiFi Buses that are stationed at 20 different locations each day. To get the WiFi Bus schedule and learn more about how it works, including how to get the free WiFi Bus app, visit

SacRT will begin operating paratransit service on Sunday, June 28. The new service is called SacRT GO Paratransit Services. SacRT GO staff will begin taking reservations for service starting on Friday, June 26. All current policies for ADA paratransit service and Non-ADA service will remain in effect as SacRT GO will be providing both services. For more information, visit or contact SacRT's Accessible Services department at 916-557-4685 or email

Before we get started, similar to years past, we will not host a GM Chat in the month of July due to low participation with the Fourth of July holiday so close.

Now let's get to your questions!

Sacramento , CA:  When is Henry Li/RT going to focus on the rapidly declining infrastructure?

Reply:  In recent years, SacRT has had a renewed focus on our state of good repair. We have launched our light rail modernization effort to replace all 97 light rail vehicles, upgrade stations, and to add additional track to improve reliability and frequency. As I have said before, SacRT only receives 1/6 of a penny in local sales tax funding, far less than our peers. Measure A on the November ballot would bring additional funding that would help SacRT improve all of our infrastructure.

Sacramento, CA:  On June 14th/15th, I read that SacRT is going to make service improvements and implement service changes. Will the curfew that is currently in place, if extended to, let’s say, the end of June, affect SacRTs ability to extend service hours and times based on what the transit agency is intending to do on June 14th/15th in going back to a schedule that is approximately 85% of normal weekday and weekend/holiday service?

Reply:  If the City of Sacramento did continue to enforce a curfew order, SacRT would continue to comply with that order. Therefore, all Sacramento Regional Transit District (SacRT) bus and light rail service in the downtown Sacramento/Central Business District (CBD) would be suspended at a designated time relative to the curfew. As before, suspended service would only take place in the downtown Sacramento/CBD area due to potential crowds gathering on and near light rail tracks, which has impacts on major corridors. Normal SacRT bus and light rail service would resume each morning at the scheduled start time. I encourage customers to regularly check for service updates, or download the free Alert SacRT app. More information on the June Service Improvements is available at

Sacramento, CA:  With regards to the transition to SacRT GO ParaTransit services on June 28th, will the “Alta Pass” continue to be accepted, or will the transfer of the service contract to SacRT result in the elimination of the “Alta Pass?” I work with individuals with disabilities in Sacramento, El Dorado, Placer, and Yolo Counties who have expressed concern over this pass continuing to be accepted once the transition takes place on June 28th. Thank you.

Reply:  Thank you for your question. SacRT is working on an agreement with Alta California Regional Center that will include a seamless transition for customers who are eligible for the Alta Pass. We anticipate that this will be in place by June 28th and that there will be no lapse in coverage for Alta Pass holders. SacRT is holding two virtual open houses to answer rider questions on June 18th and June 19th. We are also working on sending out a letter with transition details to current riders. More information is available at

Citrus Heights, CA:  When does SacRT expect to have board meetings again in the board chambers? I continuously see notices that a meeting is occurring, yet an order is in place by the Governor that continues to prohibit public agencies like SacRT and others to not hold meetings that are open to the public. When does SacRT have an estimation as to when this will change?

Reply:  At this time, we are waiting on new guidelines from the County of Sacramento to proceed with in person board meetings. We need to keep the safety of the Board, SacRT employees and the public in mind at all times.

Rio Linda, CA:  Is Friday, July 3rd a Sunday/Holiday Schedule, or a modified weekday schedule? Several companies, mine included, have July 3rd off, only because the traditional Independence Day Holiday, this coming Fiscal Year is on a Saturday. Will that also affect the July Transit Talk, in which case it would be held on July 10th, rather than July 3rd?

Reply:  Friday, July 3 is not a SacRT Holiday and service will operate on a regular schedule. However, as in years past, we will not hold a GM Chat in July because we have found many people do take a long holiday weekend.

Folsom, CA:  In the recent days in which Sacramento has instituted an 8pm to 5am curfew, why has Folsom not had evening light rail service? That has seemed a bit odd to me.

Reply:  Sacramento County is still under “Stay at Home Orders” so there are very few people commuting to and from the Folsom stations. Many of the commuters that are riding to and from downtown Sacramento are complying with the curfew order.

South Sacramento, CA:  Will the expanded South Sacramento SmaRTride zone include areas formerly served by Route 61 along Fruitridge Road, Florin Perkins Road, and Folsom Boulevard, prior to when service was reimagined back in September 2019? If the new zone does not include these roads that used to have fixed route transit, when, at the earliest could these particular roads be included in a SmaRTride zone in the future?

Reply:  Unfortunately, not. We will be extending SmaRT Ride east to Stockton Blvd, between 14th Avenue and Fruitridge Road. We are not planning to extend it or adding service in the Florin-Perkins Road area at this time. More information on the extended service zone can be found at

Sacramento, CA:  Hello. I was recently on a ride where someone had deficated on the floor of the train. It was reported immediatley and for the next half hour or so (i was afraid to change trains becuase the last time i tried that, the conductor left without me) I watched as a few people nearly stepped in it. I would like to suggest a dedicated place on the train to keep something like caution tape so that if this happens again (it will) employees can visibly section off the area for the safety of the passengers.

Reply:  We apologize for this experience. We urge riders to download the free Alert SacRT reporting app to notify us of any unsanitary conditions on our trains or buses, as well as any other concerns. In these types of instances, that train car would be taken out of service at the earliest location and a supervisor would tape off the area. Our train operators do have certain supplies to deal with such circumstances, but the operator must be notified to respond.

Sacramento, CA:  Hi Mr. Li, Will route 142 (airport) be restored on June 14? Thank you.

Reply:  We are planning on restoring the route 42 Airport Express bus in September. In June, we will be restoring our bus service levels from about 60% to 80% of normal. Yolobus is still providing service between downtown Sacramento and the airport.

Sacramento, CA:  Also, will SacRT keep the WiFi on their buses and the lightrail?

Reply:  SacRT has teamed up with the City of Sacramento and the California State Transportation Agency for a pilot that offers free WiFi on 10 SacRT buses. These buses are parked at 20 different locations each day to provide free internet to the community. The free WiFi is not installed on buses that are in regular service. We hope to be able to provide that service in the future. More information on the WiFi Bus program can be found at

North Sacramento, CA:  What happened back on Tuesday? I was waiting for light rail at Arden/Del Paso, but a message on the passenger information display signs indicated that light rail service back on Tuesday was not going to begin until 7am. My normal train is at 5:31am. I hope everything was repaired as I had to ride “Lyft” to work that morning.

Reply:  We apologize for the confusion as there was some internal miscommunication about service levels related to the time frame of the City's curfew order and we missed a couple of trips the first day.

Downtown Sacramento, CA:  As it relates to the city imposed curfew in the Downtown and Central Business District, what contingency plans does SacRT have in place for downtown essential workers that depend on transit not only to get to work, but to get home too? For example, if a shift starts at Noon, and ends at 8:30pm, what should the essential worker do to get home, if in fact SacRT suspends service that the essential worker would otherwise have when their 8:30pm shift is over? Normally, I have observed that the last light rail train heading towards Watt/I-80 would be around 10:30pm from 9th & K, and about 9:10pm from 10th & K heading towards Cosumnes River College if curfews we’re not in place.

Reply:  We tried to provide as much advanced notice as possible so that essential workers can make alternative travel plans if they are heading downtown. We apologize for any inconvenience and hope the curfew ends soon as we know there are many in the community that rely on SacRT for their travel needs.

Sacramento, CA:  When will eTran accept passes from the Zippass app?

Reply:  SacRT would love for e-Tran to begin using the ZipPass app, but at this time e-tran has not expressed interest in participating.

Sacramento, CA:  Will there be future. Cutbacks in bus service because of covid

Reply:  At this time, SacRT is planning on expanding service from 60% of normal to 80% on June 14. We are also in the planning stages of resuming full service in September. More information on the June service improvements can be found at

Sacramento, CA:  Can you add real time light rail arrivals to the RT Tracker app/bookmark? Thanks

Reply:  We’re working on it! As part of the light rail modernization project, we are working with technology partners and the private industry. SacRT anticipates that these improvements will materialize in addition to the new low-floor light rail trains that we're excited to roll out in the near future.

Closing Remarks:

Thank you for your questions. The next session of Transit Talk with the General Manager/CEO will be held on Friday, August 7, 2020.

I hope you have a safe and happy Fourth of July holiday!