Transit Talk with the General Manager

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

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

This month I am going to focus on SacRT's September 2020 Service Recovery Plan, which restores bus and light rail service to approximately 100% pre-COVID-19 levels.

SacRT will begin the implementation of its Service Recovery Plan on Sunday, August 30. The Plan includes light rail (Blue and Gold lines), fixed bus routes, all peak-only/express routes, Folsom Stage Line, and some destination routes including the Airport Express and Rancho CordoVan. JIBE Express was reconfigured in July discontinuing routes 170 and 172 and adding new routes 180 and 182.

SacRT is also making some adjustments to several bus routes to improve on-time performance. SacRT and Yolobus will continue to monitor ridership on the Causeway Connection (route 138) and may add additional trips in late September.

SacRT's Service Recovery Plan is an integral part of supporting the region as it reopens by adding more service to ensure people can safely travel to essential destinations.

Like other businesses, the COVID-19 pandemic may have an impact on SacRT employees (i.e., school and childcare predicaments, and health related matters) that may result in manpower shortages, which may cause temporary service adjustments with little or no notice.

I encourage customers to check their bus arrival times in advance by using the RT Tracker (real-time bus information) available at and check the Service Alerts page at For updated timetables visit Please know that SacRT is doing everything possible to keep its employees and customers safe and healthy to ensure minimal impacts to service during these unpredictable times.

I 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 SacRT's best safety practices and other prevention guidance, visit or call 916-321-BUSS (2877).

Now let's get to your questions!

Sacramento, CA:  I see in your website that you’re going to pre-COVID-19 service levels on the 30th & 31st of this month. The article also mentioned about delays or service cancellations occurring at little or no notice at all. How can riders better prepare for unforeseen cancellations, especially on mornings where the rider is heading to work?

Reply:  We will make every possible effort to alert riders to any cancellations with as much notice as possible. We encourage customers to check their bus arrival times in advance by using the RT Tracker (real-time bus information) available at and check the Service Alerts page at the top of

Citrus Heights, CA:  When will board Meetings be open to the public again, rather than continuously closed to the public? I have observed that Sacramento City uses a call in system for the public to speak to the City Council as well as an e-comment system too. Until you open the open meetings to the public, would it be possible to call in, similar to the City of Sacramento, instead of exclusively by Email only? Thank you for looking into this.

Reply:  We are currently following the Governor's Executive Order N-25-20, which restricts the SacRT Board of Directors and other public meetings to be closed to the public. This is complying with state and federal guidelines on social distancing until further notice. We will certainly welcome the public back to the board meetings in person when it is safe to do so. Thank you for the suggestion for people to call in. I will look into that and see if it could be an option for us.

Rancho Córdova, CA:  What would it take for your board meetings to re-open to the public? Could Regional Transit allow this to happen with staff, board, and the public required to wear masks at all times while attending an open meeting? I hope this is being considered in protocols and guidelines as we inch closer to September. Thank you.

Reply:  We are currently following the Governor's Executive Order N-25-20, which restricts the SacRT Board of Directors and other public meetings to be closed to the public. This is complying with state and federal guidelines on social distancing until further notice. We will certainly welcome the public back to the board meetings in person when it is safe to do so.

Sacramento, CA:  Your last version of the SacRT Alert App allowed a user to delete the most recent alert and the App would ask if the user would like all older alerts to be deleted too. The latest version of the app forces you to delete each alert. One by one. With the number of alerts I get each day, this is very annoying. Please have the App designer add the delete all feature back.

Reply:  Thank you for this feedback on the app. I will pass it along to the team at SacRT that works with the app developers.

South Sacramento, CA:  What is next in terms of SmaRTride is concerned? That may be a very broad question, so allow me a moment to break it down. 1. Are the hours of the existing SmaRTride zones improving to operate as late as 10pm, which is what Downtown zone already is? 2. Will there be any opportunity for SmaRTride to operate on weekends and holidays? 3. Are new zones being considered, including any previously submitted ideas despite COVID-19, or is any service expansion of SmaRTride now on hold, for good?

Reply:  We currently do not have any plans to expand zones, add hours, or add new service to SmaRT Ride. If we receive increased funding we can consider these options for the future.

Folsom, CA:  Recently the customer service center at 1225 R Street expanded its hours. When COVID-19 started, it was 10am to 4pm, but has since become 9am to 4pm. I would like to see it expand on the other end of the day, so that it would either be 10am to 5pm or 9am to 5pm. Would you consider making a change like this, say, in the beginning of October? Are these more practical hours for the community at-large? I know they are for me. Thank you.

Reply:  Thank you for your suggestion. We don't have any plans to further extend the Customer Service Center in-person hours at this time, but your feedback is important. We are also attempting to advance our technology, so that riders have more options to conduct SacRT-related business when their schedule allows. For example, we are in the process of installing new fare vending machines with more convenient and flexible payment options. Check out for details.

Davis, CA:  I see that Unitrans is selling some of their old vehicles. It would be great for RT to get some of them, especially one of their double decker buses, for your fleet!

Reply:  Unitrans does have some cool double deckers buses!

Midtown Sacramento, CA:  Why do Gold Line Trains stop and honk around Stockton Boulevard? This seems fairly new to me, and annoying as well. Can someone explain what went into this decision?

Reply:  There was recently a non-SacRT related vehicle accident that occurred at this intersection. The vehicles involved in this accident damaged the traffic lights. There is a portable light system in place, but SacRT trains are slowing down and honking as an added safety measure until the City repairs the traffic lights.

North Sacramento, CA:  I received a couple of written write-ups a couple of weeks ago due to being late for work by virtue of light rail delays and other problems. One day, I was late due to mechanical failure. One day I was late due to a trespasser incident, and one day I was late because the train operator only activated the front most door to board a passenger on the mini-hi, but did not activate the other doors to allow the rest of us to push the button. These all occurred between 4:30am and 5:30am - which are currently the first three morning trains heading towards CRC. As a result, I have to now leave for work on the first and no later than the second train of the day in case of a delay. What is Regional Transit doing to eliminate morning weekday delays? I can’t lose my job over being late as a result of SacRT matters. For the time being I am leaving for work earlier than I should until this gets resolved. What can you do, and what can I do to resolve the weekday early morning train delays?

Reply:  I understand your concerns regarding the mechanical issues on trains. Our maintenance staff works 24/7 to keep all of our vehicles up and running. However, our fleet is aging. For this reason, we have purchased new low floor trains that are being built by Siemens. This will alleviate some of the mechanical issues on the trains we have now due to their age. However, sometimes the unexpected does happen, just as mechanical issues can occur with personal vehicles. Thank you for your patience as we work towards updating our light rail fleet.

Sacramento, CA:  I thank you for hanging in with us during this very stressful time. I take light rail to work rather than drive my car. Be that as it may, I have some concerns [and have called at least 2 months] to get the time schedule sign at the 48th Light rail station [toward downtown] to be fixed. The comments are "techs are busy," or we are waiting on parts," etc. The signage toward Folsom seems to be working. How can we get the signage working?

Reply:  Thanks for writing in about this digital message sign at 48th Street. I will check with our IT staff and find out what the status is of this sign. It is true that we are experiencing delays on receiving parts etc., as many industries and individuals have been affected by COVID-19. Thank you for patience and for bringing this to my attention.

Sacramento, CA:  Is it true that the SacRT SmartRide will exhaust funding next year or so? A driver mentioned this a month or so ago. Unless there is new funding.

Reply:  SacRT's SmaRT Ride is funded partially by a grant from the Sacramento Transportation Authority (STA). SacRT is seeking funding to continue the program but no final decision has been made. We know it is an important program for our riders and have received tremendous feedback.

Rancho Córdova , CA:  When is “real time” coming for rail? I already use the tool I have for bus at and it is very helpful.

Reply:  I'm glad to hear the the is helpful for you! We don't have an official launch date for the real time train tracking, but we do have the software in place and are testing it internally.

Closing Remarks:

Thank you for your questions. The next session of Transit Talk with the General Manager/CEO will be held on Friday, September 4, 2020.