Transit Talk with the General Manager

March 04, 2022
Henry Li, General Manager/CEO
General Transit Questions
Opening Remarks:

Welcome to the March 2022 edition of Transit Talk with the General Manager.

SacRT's Short-Range Transit Plan (SRTP), SacRT On the Move, examines what SacRT service will be over the next five years and we are actively seeking your input. I encourage you to get involved in this process as we consider trends and conditions in today's Sacramento region. One way to get involved is to join us for a virtual open house on Tuesday, March 8 at 5:30 p.m. For information to attend the virtual meeting or for other ways to comment visit The formal review and comment period is open through Wednesday, March 16, 2022. Once the public comment period concludes, staff will analyze all the feedback received and finalize the SRTP plan document into a final draft to be presented to the SacRT Board of Director for final adoption in April 2022.

As the pandemic moves behind us, many community events around the Sacramento region are returning in full force, and SacRT is proud to help support these events. Tomorrow, Saturday, March 5, 2022, the Capitol Beer Fest returns to Capitol Mall and SacRT is once again making it easy for you to get there with free rides on light rail. With 15-minute service and light rail stations within a block of Capitol Mall, SacRT is the easy way to get to and from the festival. Visit to print or screenshot your flyer. Visit or call 916-321-BUSS (2877) for trip planning assistance.

Another fun event taking place in the region this month is the Mills Station Arts & Culture Center (MACC) Family Art Day on Saturday, March 12, 2022. SacRT partnered with The MACC, which is located at the Mather Field/Mills light rail station, to offer free rides to attend this family friendly event. Visit to print or screenshot the flyer.

If you or someone you know is looking for a great job with great benefits, then look no further - SacRT is hiring! Available positions include transit operators, mechanics, facilities workers, grants analyst, digital media production specialist and community outreach specialist just to name a few. Visit to learn about all of our job opportunities, excellent benefits and sign-on bonuses.

Effective Sunday, April 3, 2022, SacRT will implement service adjustments on the following routes: 11, 19, 23, 25, 61, 67, 68, 81, 82, 86, 103, 107, 134, 142 and 193. Making adjustments on these routes will better align with staffing levels, allowing buses to operate on a consistent and reliable schedule, resulting in fewer canceled trips. No service adjustments will be implemented on light rail. Visit for details.

Just a reminder that masks are still required on all SacRT vehicles and while waiting at stops or stations. Free masks are available at the SacRT Customer Service and Sales Center, located at 1225 R Street (13th Street light rail station).

Now let's get to your questions!

Sacramento, CA:  Henry, you’ve said you would ride on the Breathe CA Bike Trek for a number of years and you’ve missed it each time. Since it is a one day event this year and it is being held in Loomis, it should be easy for you to make the ride. Are you and your wife going to ride this year? It is scheduled for the 10 of September beginning at Loomis Basin Park. Let’s support Breathe’s mission of clean air, use of public transit and anti-smoking.

Reply:  Thank you. Yes, I am ready to get back on the bike again. I look forward to riding with a SacRT Team to support the Breathe CA Bike Trek and their mission to support clean air and public transit.

ELK GROVE, CA:  1) Any plans to increase the Etran route frequencies on weekends such as more frequent than running once an hour on Saturday and no buses on Sunday. There are plenty of young people who do not own a car and they need to get to places or to work. The current Etran weekend schedules are really discouraging people to use public transits. 2) Also any plans to realign the Etran bus schedules with the lightrail schedules so if the buses run a few minutes late it will lessen the chances of missing the lightrail. A good example is one of the Etran route is scheduled to arrive to the lightrail stations 5 minutes before the train departs. And during school months, the buses are often run late and so missing the lightrail is a common thing.

Reply:  Thank you for the question about Elk Grove transit. You may want to check out our Short Range Transit Plan (, which is available for review and public comment right now. In it, we have priced out weekend service improvements for Elk Grove, including Sunday service, and Saturday service on the routes that don’t currently have it. I will pass along your suggestion on connection timing to our Scheduling department to investigate. Since taking over the Elk Grove transit service last summer, we have left things essentially unchanged, but this is the kind of thing we can begin looking at now.

Carmichael, CA:  I am aware that the Transportation Security Administration and the United States Department of Transportation have a mask mandate currently in place to March 18, 2022. I am unclear at this time as to what happens after March 18th, so I have some questions for you. Is the mask mandate being extended to your knowledge, or will it expire at the end of the service day on March 18th? If it does expire, would SacRT institute its own stricter standards when it comes to mask wearing, or will the national guidelines take effect on SacRT? Do you perhaps anticipate having rules, regulations, and protocols for vaccinated riders and unvaccinated riders? After March 18th, would you allow vaccinated riders to board vehicles with proof of vaccination in lieu of wearing a mask, if the federal mask mandate does in fact expire? Thank you.

Reply:  Thank you for your question and good afternoon. As you noted the Transportation Security Administration requires masks when traveling on public transportation. Currently the mandate runs through March 18th. We will be monitoring any new guidance carefully and will be sure to relay any changes to the riding public.

Citrus Heights, CA:  Looking ahead to the April 2022 service changes, I am curious to find out the estimated number of months that the service reductions taking shape will be in effect for? While timing may not be exact due to several factors you have to take into consideration, would you, here in March, be able to give your best estimate now, even if that has to be a refined answer in the May or the June 2022 chat?

Reply:  We are hoping to restore most of the service by September. Over the next two months, we’ll be doing a more thorough assessment, and seeing how our staffing levels trend. We are in good shape financially, so this is not a systemic problem. We are ramping up hiring efforts to meet the needs of our riders..

Rancho Córdova, CA:  When does work begin on station modifications on the Gold Line to eventually accommodate the new low floor light rail vehicles? Here in Rancho Cordova, would that mean doing some Folsom Boulevard bus bridges as the work begins and progresses?

Reply:  Work on the Gold Line "passing track" and station modiciation is scheduled to begin summer of this year. And, yes, shuttle buses to take passengers between impacted light rail stations will be in place. Prior to construction we will provide notification in our passenger newsletter, on our website and through social media. A-frame signs and our other forms of communication will be used to inform riders as well.

Citrus Heights, CA:  During last month’s Transit Talk (Feb 2022) a fellow rider in Citrus Heights suggested modifying Route 23 to not use Greenback Lane and instead “continue along San Juan, Sylvan and Auburn to Louis/Orlando.” They also thought removing 23 off Greenback “would not be as bad as some would think as Greenback would still have frequent service on route 1.” …… Well, I remembered this as I walked by closely and noted that Bus Stop #1190 on Greenback has a noticeable number of San Juan High students using 23. So I’m hesitant about deleting this part of 23…..Nevertheless, this rider had strong points and cited “good community benefits” by adding fixed bus service to Sylvan like Route 95 once provided. Looking at Sylvan itself, I’ve seen people of different ages. More students are seen from San Juan High and also Sylvan Middle School further north. There’s also multifamily apartments, senior care facilities and a community center as well as shops. I’m wondering if perhaps a loop can be created that follows Sylvan Road, Auburn Blvd, Antelope Road, then Fair Oaks Blvd back to Greenback. This loop could be part of 23 or a new route unto itself operating both ways. (I thank the previous rider for these inspirations.) Does this sound feasible to you?

Reply:  Thank you for the suggestion. During our SacRT Forward project in 2018-2019, we actually looked at restructuring Route 23, somewhat similarly. We ultimately decided against it. Route 23 has always been a well-used route. When we floated significant routing changes to it, we heard from customers and our own bus operators that it was probably not a good idea. We ultimately felt those customers and operators were probably right. We made some changes to other nearby routes such as Route 25, but decided to leave Route 23 unchanged, and we have felt like that’s been a good decision.

Rosemont, CA:  Good afternoon! The SacBee ran a story last week about a proposed sales tax for the county to fund transit, and I am curious as to where RT's priorities would be if it gets passed! Any insight?

Reply:  Thank you. Should the proposed citizen initiative qualify for the ballot, the language would provide approximately 40% of the measures proceeds to SacRT. SacRT will be able to use proceeds for state of good repair, increased service and new capitol projects.

Rosemont, CA:  Hello! Are there any project updates or announcements coming up in regard to implementation of a BRT in the Sac region?

Reply:  Good afternoon. SacRT has completed our High Capacity Corridor Study which assessed opportunities for High Capacity Bus Service along congested corridors in the Sacramento region, including Stockton Boulevard, Florin Road, Sunrise Boulevard, Arden Way and Watt Avenue. Last month, the city of Sacramento proposed a bus only lane along Stockton Boulevard. We are hoping to work with our partners to secure federal infastructure funds to start moving these projects forward.

Hayward, CA:  Why are you cutting express busses for those who live along Auburn Blvd. Route 93 and 25 is not an alternative and they take forever to get to ones destination. Also have seen that no Citrus Heights buses serve Auburn an Greenback any further from the Roseville Border to there. Smart Ride is not really a reliable solution either.

Reply:  I’m sorry to hear about your concern about Route 193. Please understand that these service adjustments are temporary as we deal with a major shortage of bus operators, which is causing us to miss a lot of our scheduled service every day. The idea behind these temporary service adjustments is not to eliminate the route permanently, but to temporarily reduce service levels so that people can at least plan accordingly, rather than be stranded unexpectedly. We had to make decisions about where to cut back, and ridership was fairly low on Route 193. We understand that Route 25 and 93 may not work for everyone or may take longer. Route 1 may also be an option for some people, and it comes more frequently, going direct to Watt/I-80. Others may be able to drive and park at Watt/I-80 light rail station.

Antelope, CA:  Hey mr. li. Is the federal mask mandate going to finally expire on the 18th of this month or will it be extended again. I get you are trying to make transit as safe as possible to slow the spread of SARS COV2 but I have asthma and those n95’s give me a headache after an hour or so of wearing one. At this point, I’d rather request a medical exemption. I at least did my part by getting vaccinated. Anyways, I appreciate you overseeing the health and safety of your employees and your riders.

Reply:  At SacRT, safety is a priority for our passengers and employees. As you noted the Transportation Security Administration requires masks when traveling on public transportation and currently the mandate runs through March 18th. We will be monitoring any new guidance carefully and will be sure to relay any changes to the riding public. If you would like to request a reasonable modification, call 916-321-BUSS (2877).

Elk Grove, CA:  Hi Henry, just some general questions about the Connect Card. Sometimes when I walk up to the Connect Card machine (is working/online), my card isn't registering/doesn't make a beep sound when I try to place it on the tap area (I have a monthly pass). Will I get in trouble if I board onto the RT anyway? Also, another concern is that some machines aren't turned on, do we just ignore and proceed on boarding on the RT?

Reply:  It sounds like you may need to have your connect card replaced. You can either do that online at or in person at our customer service center located at 1225 R Street (13th Street station). Additionally when you come across devices that are malfunctioning you can use our Alert SacRT to let our maintenance staff know about the issue so that the device can be repaired or replaced. If you are unable to tap on because of a defective piece of equipment you may board the train. Please explain your situation to the transit ambassador should you come across one and they can help with getting the device fixed. The TA can also help you use your card after you exit the train if you'd like to see if your card itself is defective.

Sacramento , CA:  Masks proven by medical specialists not to work. Why have to still wear?

Reply:  Wearing masks on public transportation is mandated by the Transportation Security Administration and currently the mandate runs through March 18th. We will be monitoring any new guidance carefully and will be sure to relay any changes to the riding public.

Elk Grove, CA:  With regards to the webinars on the draft short range transit plan, are there links to the March webinars on the website, so that if folks miss live attendance, that they can go back and gain a link on the website for past presentations? Specifically, I was on the website on Wednesday, and was unable to find a link to watch the webinar that occurred on Tuesday. Thank you for looking into this and making future webinars accessible to viewing shortly after they aired in their live broadcast.

Reply:  Thank you for your interest in the webinars. We are working to get them uploaded to our website and Youtube very soon.

South Sacramento , CA:  Regarding any service changes upcoming, are there any plans to further realign some express commuter or school routes?

Reply:  At this time, we have the service adjustments that are taking effect on April 3, 2022. We are looking at September in the hopes of restoring some or all of that service, and potentially rolling out some of the changes in Year 1 of our Short Range Transit Plan. Look for more information on that over the next couple months.

Elk Grove, CA:  Sacrt keeps harping that it will keep the same schedule once it takes over Etran, but it keeps cancelled commute routes where there is frequently just one route to and from downtown. Are there plans to address the lack of commute routes for Elk Grove riders who work in downtown ?

Reply:  As I have mentioned, the public transit industry nationwide is experiencing a workforce shortage. We are working hard to address our staffing levels to address the recent cancellations.

Laguna, CA:  Can you elaborate on why the new low floor light rail vehicles are beginning on the Gold Line rather than the Blue Line? What's the time line for the new light rail vehicles on the Blue Line?

Reply:  Our goal is to replace our entire fleet with 72 new low-floor vehicles. We have purchased 28 vehicles and have secured the majority of the funding for another 8 vehicles. The grant funding we recieved from the state to jumpstart our light rail modernization program tied the initial vehicles to the Gold Line. We have secured funding for some vehciles to be used along the Blue Line and will continue to pursue opportunities so that we can transition to a lowfloor fleet as soon as possible.

Sacramento, CA:  What’s going on with customer service? In the past couple of months, I send over complaints and an inquiry but never heard back from them

Reply:  I am sorry to hear about your recent experience. Our Customer Advocacy department tries to respond to all e-mails and voicemails from customers regarding complaints, commendations, requests, and feedback within 1-2 business days. Some customers do not request a callback for follow-up, in which case their feedback would be logged but they may not hear back from us. If they have requested follow-up and do not hear back from us within 1-2 business days, they can always contact Customer Advocacy directly by dialing (916) 321-2877 and selecting option 3, then option 6. Customer Advocacy is open Monday-Friday from 8 AM – 5 PM

Sacramento, CA:  Hello, In the SRTP there seems to still be money set aside for the Riverfront Streetcar. Is that an active project?

Reply:  The project has been awarded state and federal funding and is still an active project in the federal Capital Investment Grants Program. SacRT and the two cities have been coordinating on a project modification request with the Federal Transit Administration.

Citrus Heights, CA:  While RT brought paratransit services in the house, I understand that it does contract with an outside provider to provide supplemental services. If this is the case, doesn’t that cost RT a lot of money and that what is the name of that provider?

Reply:  Although SacRT has signed a Contract with UZURV Holdings, Inc. to provide supplemental services to the SacRT GO service, this service has not started yet; we are currently actively working with UZURV to launch the supplemental service.

Citrus Heights, CA:  After seeing and hearing you on Zoom for several Board Meetings, it makes me wonder: what if you brought your live video and audio here to your monthly Transit Talk?! Your appearance and delivery during “Item 8 - General Manager’s Report” are informative and engaging. You can bring some of that upbeat spirit here…..What if you read each question out loud on camera then answer as we see and hear you? We would have the benefits of your tone of voice and body language along with your written text as presently done…...And you can have a new Zoom background each month! Currently you have one with the State Capitol and a Light Rail vehicle. Each month you can have a different Zoom background featuring a specific SacRT service that you can speak about (like SmaRT Ride, Paratransit, Zero Emission Buses, etc.) …. What do you think about enhancing Transit Talk these ways with sight and sound?

Reply:  Hello. Thank you for the kind words and we are always looking at ways to communicat better with our riders. We certainly can consider trying a live GM chat in the future. I will talk with my team about this.

Closing Remarks:
Thank you for your questions. The next session of Transit Talk with the General Manager/CEO will take place on Friday, April 1, 2022.