Transit Talk with the General Manager

April 02, 2021
Henry Li, General Manager/CEO
General Transit Questions
Opening Remarks:

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

The month of April brings us service changes and the expansion of three SmaRT Ride zones. On Sunday, April 4, bus routes 23, 26, 61 and 138, and the Causeway Connection, with service between Sacramento and Davis, will have minor service changes. Visit for the new timetables.

On Monday, April 5, to better serve the residents of Arden, Carmichael, Folsom, Natomas and North Sacramento, SacRT will merge the Arden-Arcade zone to include Carmichael creating the Arden-Carmichael zone providing service to Kaiser Morse and American River College. The Folsom zone will expand to include the developing community of Folsom Ranch, and North Sacramento will expand further to include Natomas creating the Natomas-North Sacramento zone. This zone will add service to Garden Highway, Arena Boulevard Shops and more. Visit for zone details and maps of all eight SmaRT Ride zones.

Now that several school districts in our region are returning to in-person learning, I would like to remind everyone about SacRT's RydeFreeRT fare-free transit for youth program. Youth in grades TK though 12 can ride all SacRT services (bus, light rail and SmaRT Ride) for free. And RydeFreeRT is not just a way to get to school, this service is available to youth anytime, anywhere SacRT service goes. To ride free, students need to show their student ID or a RydeFreeRT card. If a student doesn't have a school ID, they can get a RydeFreeRT card, which is available at schools, libraries, and the SacRT Customer Service Center at 1225 R Street (adjacent to the 13th Street light rail station).

Having trouble finding a ride to get your COVID-19 vaccination? I would like to remind you that 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.

Ride for free on SacRT's fixed-route bus, light rail, Folsom Stage Line, SmaRT Ride, Causeway Connection 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.

As a reminder, even if you have been vaccinated, masks are still required 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. The safety of our customers and employees is a top priority for SacRT so thank you for continuing to comply with this important mandate.

If you need a mask, AmeriCorps members continue to distribute free masks at light rail stations. Free masks are also available at SacRT's Customer Service and Sales Center. Learn more at

Now let's get to your questions!

Arden/Arcade, CA:  Henry, I am thrilled to see the changes coming to SmaRTride on Monday. I also read a recent Sacramento Bee article on this very topic, in which you had mentioned to reporters that there are some more changes coming to SmaRTride in Summer of 2021. If you can, would you be able to share any of the behind-the-scenes discussions about what changes may be possible this Summer? Thank you.

Reply:  We are also excited about the new SmaRT Ride changes. At this time, we are looking at possibly expanding our Gerber-Calvine SmaRT Ride zone, but more information will be available as we get closer to summer.

Elk Grove, CA:  Good Afternoon Henry: Are you able to provide an Elk Grove annexation update here in the April monthly chat, or would you rather have the question(s) regarding Elk Grove Annexation updates provided to chat participants on May 7th instead?

Reply:  Discussions are progressing for the Elk Grove annexation and we anticipate going back to the Board in April to finalize the annexation.

Sacramento, CA:  What is the latest status on restoration of Airport Express Route 142, or is staff considering a new “outside the box” thinking approach to tackle restoring service to Sacramento International Airport?

Reply:  Thank you for asking, we are closely monitoring travel patterns at Sacramento International Airport. Currently passenger activity is down 67% compared to last year. We will continue to follow passenger traffic and begin service at an appropriate time. Yolobus continues to offer bus service between Downtown Sacramento and the airport.

Citrus Heights, CA:  When do you foresee SmaRT Ride operating on weekends, or at least Saturdays?

Reply:  At this time, we don't have plans to expand SmaRT Ride to the weekends, but we hope it can be a possibility in the future with additional funding.

Sac City U.S.D., CA:  My children are heading back to the classroom later this month, but I noticed that their respective schools are going to be on different schedules than what they were pre-COVID, and secondly, I haven’t got any information back on supplemental SacRT bus service to schools in the Sac City Unified School District. What’s happening on that front, and is there someone or some people I should talk to regarding 200-series bus lines?

Reply:  SacRT will resume our 200 series bus service beginning on Monday, April 5, 2021. SacRT is also adding additional trips on several 200 series routes to meet expected demand beginning on Thursday, April 22, 2021. This information will be shared with the school districts as well.

South Sacramento , CA:  Please provide a status on any future plans since the American Rescue Act was passed. Are there any projects or service changes on the horizon?

Reply:  The American Rescue Plan included emergency transit funding for public transit operating costs. The transit funds provided under the bill are available for operating expenses related to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This week the President outlined his infrastructure proposal, the American Jobs Plan, which includes over $2 trillion in transportation investments. SacRT will work closely with our federal delegation as this package moves forward.

Sacramento, CA:  Definitely not an important question, but I'm curious about the reason to misspell the word "Ryde", especially for a program for students. Can you explain the meaning behind it?

Reply:  Good question! We had a group of students design the concept for the fare-free transit for youth program and they developed the RydeFreeRT name, which in the design the "y" looks like the middle of the SacRT logo. You can see the design at

Sacramento, CA:  Good afternoon, Have the #86 or #88 routes been eliminated? The routes that travel from and to Downtown Sacramento to the Natomas area, near West El Camino Avenue?

Reply:  Routes 86 and 88 are still in operation. You can view the schedule at

Sacramento, CA:  Hello, I understand that ridership is considerably down from last year, which is unfortunate, but have most RT bus and/or train operators been able to keep their jobs?

Reply:  Thanks to federal funding, SacRT has been able to keep all employees during the pandemic and we even grew our service options over the last year. We are thankful for the federal funding that helps keep the region moving with essential transportation services.

Folsom, CA:  I love that your expanding service coverage in Folsom on our on-demand same day weekday service. When I looked over the program a bit, I became confused and have two questions I want to get out about it. For one, why do two existing zones have hours of 6am to 9pm, but the other seven zones are only 7am to 7pm? What would it take for all zones to be 6am to 9pm? Second thing was weekday service versus everyday service. When can we see service everyday, much like light rail does here in Folsom, and not just exclusive to weekdays? One of the things I have learned throughout the pandemic is the value that the “essential worker” and “essential workers” play in our society, and their need for transportation everyday, not just five out of seven days a week. Having the on-demand shuttle as you do in Folsom, would go a long way for this population (essential workers) given what critical role they have in keeping America operating, and not shut down. Thank you for your time today.

Reply:  At this time, we don't have the funding needed to operate later hours and on weekends. We understand the need for additional service hours and days, and we hope with additional funding, we can add these options in the future.

Sacramento, CA:  You mentioned that although ridership has decreased significantly, how are the social distancing measures being enforced on the trains and buses? For example, if a rider is not wearing a mask, what steps are taken?

Reply:  The safety of our employees and customers is a top priority for SacRT. SacRT is requiring anyone waiting at a station or transit center, riding transit, or visiting the SacRT Customer Service and Sales Center to wear a mask. Operators will ask that a mask is worn before entering a bus and can notify Dispatch if a passenger refuses; the same goes for all of our services: Light Rail, SacRT Go and SmaRT Ride. Our staff will remind passengers about our policy and those that do not comply will be provided a mask and not allowed to ride if a mask is not worn. We have found that nearly all passengers and staff follow this policy. If on board one of our vehicles and you observe someone not following the policy, you can send a message on the free Alert SacRT app or contact staff at our Customer Call Center at 916-321-BUSS (2877).

Closing Remarks:

Thank you for your questions. The next session of Transit Talk with the General Manager/CEO will be held on Friday, May 7, 2021.