Transit Talk with the General Manager

March 05, 2021
Henry Li, General Manager/CEO
General Transit Questions
Opening Remarks:

Welcome to the March 2021 edition of Transit Talk with the General Manager.

With COVID-19 vaccinations becoming more available, I am pleased to announce that as of March 1, SacRT is offering free transit rides for everyone who needs to get to a scheduled COVID-19 vaccine appointment location. This includes all vaccination sites in Sacramento County within SacRT's service area, including hospitals, pharmacies, and other immunization locations.

You can ride for free on SacRT's fixed-route bus, light rail, Folsom Stage Line, SmaRT Ride or SacRT GO paratransit services. Simply show a COVID-19 vaccine appointment confirmation in the form of an email, text or vaccine card, which will serve as valid fare on the date noted in your appointment confirmation. Visit for details.

If you do get your COVID-19 vaccine please continue to wear a mask on all transit vehicles, while waiting at stations or bus stops and at SacRT's Customer Service and Sales Center. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention order makes it a violation of federal law for not wearing a mask or face covering on transit. As I have stated from the start of this pandemic, the safety of our customers and employees is a top priority for SacRT so thank you for continuing to comply with this important mandate.

And if you need a mask, AmeriCorps volunteers will be distributing masks at light rail stations throughout the month of March. Free masks are also available at SacRT's Customer Service and Sales Center. Learn more at

It is clear that travel patterns have changed in the last year and because of that we want to work with our riders and community members to help plan for future service. SacRT will launch a new online survey on Monday, March 8 and hopes to get your feedback to help shape future service. I invite you to take the survey and enter to win a prize. Visit on Monday for details.

April service changes will take place Sunday, April 4. Routes 23, 26, 61, and 138 (Causeway Connection) will have some schedule changes so be sure to check for the new schedules.

On Monday, April 5, SacRT's SmaRT Ride will expand service areas in three zones. The Arden zone will be combined with the Carmichael zone and become the Arden-Carmichael zone. North Sacramento will include areas of Natomas and become the Natomas-North Sacramento zone and lastly, the Folsom zone will expand to include the new Folsom Ranch development south of Highway 50. We believe these expanded areas will better serve the residents of these communities providing an important transportation option. Visit to see the service areas.

Now let's get to your questions!

Sacramento, CA:  It was brought to my attention that some, but not all “SmaRTride” Zones are expanding in April. For the ones that it is not their turn in April, will there be “SmaRTride” zones expanding in Summer 2021 and/or Fall 2021? Which Zones have been deferred from expansion this April, and will they expand in Summer 2021 and/or Fall 2021? Could you please elaborate a bit on what the Sacramento Regional Transit District will be deferring in terms of “SmaRTride” Zones for Summer 2021 and/or Fall 2021? Thank you.

Reply:  Thanks for asking, we will begin promoting the April service changes in the next couple weeks. The three zones that are changing on April 5, 2021include Folsom, which is adding the Folsom Ranch community, North Sacramento will be adding areas of Natomas to become the Natomas-North Sacramento zone and the Arden and Carmichael zones will combine into one zone called the Arden-Carmichael zone. We are still working on additional SmaRT Ride changes for summer 2021. Maps and flyers on the April zone changes is available at

Arden/Carmichael, CA:  Good Day Henry and other Regional Transit Staff. I am a rider of the “SmaRTride” and heard that the Zone I use (Arden/Arcade) is combining with Carmichael and will become a larger zone of coverage area. My question is whether the new zone will expand in terms of service. I believe, but correct me if I am incorrect, that our current service is weekdays from 7am to 7pm. Will our service hours be eligible to expand to that of 6am to 9pm, matching what you are currently doing in Downtown and Fair Oaks? Thank you for looking into this.

Reply:  On April 5, 2021, we are expanding three SmaRT Ride zones and one of those changes is the new Arden-Carmichael zone. We are not changing the hours of service at this time, so the zone will operate from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. More information on the changes is available at

Citrus Heights, CA:  I read aboard a bus just this week that you’re going to turn on a survey asking folks about the route network and travel habits during the COVID-19 pandemic. Are you considering major service cuts or perhaps further route restructuring from what was done back in September 2019? Here in Citrus Heights the Route 23 ought to continue North on San Juan/Sylvan/Auburn to the Louis/Orlando Transfer Point. Route 1 is a frequent route along Greenback that passengers can use to get to the Sunrise Mall as it is. One clarification I do want to mention, besides lack of fixed Route coverage along Sylvan Road is that the reason I wrote “San Juan/Sylvan/Auburn” as I did is that this is actually one continuous road that happens to have three different names while traveling from its southern boundary at Fair Oaks Boulevard to the Louis/Orlando Transfer Point in the City of Roseville, near and just south of Interstate 80.

Reply:  We are launching an online rider survey on Monday, March 8 and it will be available for three weeks. We are looking for rider feedback and community feedback about readiness to come back to transit. We are not looking a service cuts but looking at what service improvements we should consider for the future. The survey will be available at on Monday.

Rosemont, CA:  When is Smart Ride is coming to Rosemont area? Because I use RT for evenings.

Reply:  Unfortunately, there are not plans for SmaRT Ride in Rosemont at this time. We are expanding three SmaRT Ride service zones on April 5 and looking at additional changes to come in summer 2021.

Land Park, CA:  Is there any timeline that the Sacramento Regional Transit District has set for returning peak hours light rail service to 3-car and 4-car consists? I have noticed while commuting to and from work that light rail is 2-car consists throughout the day, from beginning of the service day to the end of the service day.

Reply:  Thank you for riding and great question. SacRT continues to analyze and monitor passenger loads on light rail and will make the necessary adjustments for additional cars as passenger loads increase.

Folsom, CA:  I’m being told that the “American Rescue Plan” is being heard today and throughout the weekend in Washington, D.C. If approved and signed by President Biden, what could the Sacramento Regional Transit District receive, monetarily from “The American Rescue Plan,” and would service be the biggest beneficiary of the “American Rescue Plan” as far as the Sacramento Regional Transit District interprets it? I hope the district services can benefit from “The American Rescue Plan” like bus, light rail, and the SmaRTride too. Thank you.

Reply:  The Senate is considering amendments to the American Rescue Plan and could potentially vote on the legislation this weekend. The House bill includes over $30 billion in formula funding for public transportation. The federal funds have been instrumental in supporting SacRT's operations and additional cleaning during the pandemic and we are support of the package.

Rosemont/Sacramento, CA:  Can I use Apple Pay for bus and light rail service/SacRT Go Paratransit?

Reply:  Great question, unfortunately at this time the only Apple Pay option is at our new fare vending machines, which have been installed on the Blue and Green lines. We will begin installing them on the Gold line soon. We are also working on a new app for SacRT GO Paratransit Services, which will make payment options easier.

Sacramento, CA:  Hi Mr.Li Is there any progress on the green line extension to airport ? With construction and development progressing in the Metro air park area, it seems like an opportune moment for SacRT to work with the city, county and businesses to get this project active again. Thank You,

Reply:  The Green Line extension to the airport is a priority project for SacRT, at this time we are working on obtaining additional local funding to continue the next steps to move the project forward.

Sacramento, CA:  Hello what is the status of the instrument house at Bidwell Street it looks like an eyesore and has been for close to 2 years now

Reply:  Thank you for asking, the replacement instrument house is currently being built specifically for this location and is expected to be installed in the next few months.

Elk Grove, CA:  A fellow rider of mine brought to my attention that this coming Monday Evening, there will be a workshop on Elk Grove and Regional Transit integration. Where can I go (masked up of course) to attend, and perhaps participate in the discussion/conversation if something comes up during the discussion, and I or others want to ask any clarifying questions so as to be sure of the topic(s) at hand? Again, I may just want to attend (masked up of course) to listen and gather information as this process goes forward. Then again, if something does come up and I am a bit confused or concerned, I want to attend the forum to ask any clarifying questions, just in case. Thank you.

Reply:  I believe you are referring to the SacRT Board of Director's meeting, which is scheduled for Monday, March 8 at 5:30 p.m. There will be a presentation from SacRT staff about the progress on the Elk Grove Annexation. More information on the board meeting is available on our website We are holding the meetings virtually and you can watch live on YouTube.

Elk Grove, CA:  Is a “SmaRTride” Zone being considered for the City of Elk Grove as well as the allowing of “SacRT GO” ParaTransit services into the City of Elk Grove from other portions of the “SacRT GO” ParaTransit services area? I’m speaking for myself here, but perhaps my sentiments are echoed by other riders and that I don’t like it having to transfer at Cosumnes River College, if I can avoid it going forward. Enough is enough already.

Reply:  I'm happy to report that we will be introducing a SmaRT Ride zone in Elk Grove later this year. Last fall, we were fortunate to receive additional grant funds from the Sacramento Transportation Authority, under Sacramento County Measure A sales tax, to continue our Smart Ride program through June 30, 2023, and to expand in several specific areas, one of which was to create a new zone in Elk Grove. We are currently working with the City of Elk Grove on the zone boundaries. Also, regional paratransit services that no longer require a transfer will be a benefit of Elk Grove annexation should it be approved by both Elk Grove Council and the SacRT Board.

Sacramento, Arden, CA:  Are you aware that free fare bus rides to CalExpo for vaccinations drops riders almost a mile from the actual Kaiser vaccination site?

Reply:  The Cal Expo site for the Sacramento County is a drive-in location only and the Kaiser site at Cal Expo is a standalone site that has not partnered with SacRT. We do have a special drop-off and pick-up location at Cal Expo for SacRT GO Paratransit Service customers. We are working closely with the county and partners to ensure transit services are as close as possible to different vaccination locations.

Citrus Heights/Folsom, CA:  I often run into farebox issues whenever I use the “SmaRTride” service. Apparently, many times I go to tap the “ConnectCard” device, I come across non-functioning machines, whereas on Fixed Route, I rarely run into this at all, if ever. Would staff be available to address the Connect fare machines on the “SmaRTride” vehicles and see what needs to be done to fix and repair so that financial losses are kept at a bare minimum? Thank you.

Reply:  Thank you for bringing this issue to my attention, I am sharing with our SmaRT Ride team. If you run into problems in the future, it would be great to report it to us on the free Alert SacRT app, or you can send an email from the SmaRT Ride app or call SacRT Customer Service at 916-321-BUSS (2877), so staff can log the issue.

Closing Remarks:

Thank you for your questions. The next session of Transit Talk with the General Manager/CEO will be held on Friday, April 2, 2021.