Transit Talk with the General Manager

August 05, 2022
Henry Li, General Manager/CEO
General Transit Questions
Opening Remarks:

Welcome to the August edition of Transit Talk with the General Manager/CEO. I'd like to start off this month sharing some great news from last month. In early July, SacRT was awarded two grants totaling $30 million in state funding from the California State Transportation Agency through the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP) to help make major improvements to the Sacramento region's light rail system, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and support jobs.

As part of the awards, SacRT will receive $23.6 million to support the agency's nearly $600 million Light Rail Modernization Project, an additional $5 million to support connectivity and planning at Sacramento Valley Station (SVS) to prepare for future development at the Railyards, and $1.5 million for contactless fare payment devices onboard buses and light rail vehicles. For more information about the award and specific projects, visit to learn more.

Beginning Monday, August 15, 2022, SacRT's route E110 will start serving Promenade Parkway at Sky River Casino in Elk Grove. Minor service adjustments to bus routes 33, 134, and 142 will also take place, effective Sunday, August 28, 2022. Due to the continued workforce shortages and COVID related challenges, SacRT will continue operating the service levels that were put into effect in April of this year on bus routes 81, 107, 134, 142, and 193.

In addition to the service adjustments taking place this month, SacRT will expand two SmaRT Ride zones on Monday, August 29, 2022. The Elk Grove SmaRT Ride service area will expand to include a direct connection to route E113, Elk Grove High School, Elk Grove Library, Elk Grove Adult Education Center, Elk Grove Food Bank, Old Town Plaza, Elk Grove Regional Park, and several Elk Grove grocery stores.

The Natomas-North Sacramento SmaRT Ride expansion includes McClellan Park, serving the VA Medical Clinic and businesses in the southwestern part of McClellan Park. Visit for more details on all the service adjustments.

As a reminder, due to the renovation construction of the California Department of Water Resources Building, the westbound platform of the 8th & O light rail station is closed for approximately three years. Bus stops on 8th & O and 9th & N are also closed. Visit for alternative stops, maps, and more information.

In order to stay informed of where your bus is and when it will arrive at the stop in real-time, sign up for SacRT's BusTracker. You can get personalized alerts for individual bus routes and bus stops within a 60-minute window. Simply create an account at If you don't have a smartphone or internet access, just call SacRT's Customer Service line at 916-321-BUSS (2877) and select option #1 to enter the bus route and bus stop number to get automated arrival time during regular service hours seven days a week, or hold to speak to a Customer Service Representative. Riders can also check for service alerts at

Lastly, I'd like to announce that SacRT is officially blogging! SacRT recently launched the "SacRT in the Community" blog to share positive stories about riders, community partnerships, and staff. The first feature story highlights the journey of a groom and his groomsmen using SacRT light rail to get them to the church on time! Visit to read his story. If you have a SacRT story you want shared on our blog, submit it to SacRT at

Now let's get to your questions!

Citrus Heights , CA:  A few months ago, there was talk of Californians being offered up to 3 months of free mass transit rides to combat high gas prices. This would also entice more of the public to try and adopt transit. What is the status of these free ride transit programs, especially with regards to SacRT?

Reply:  While the Governor had initially proposed three months of free transit, that proposal was ultimately not included in the adopted state budget. SacRT has applied for funding to support a free month of transit and we are waiting for approval. The Utah Transit Authority did a free fare program in February of this year and saw more than a 30% increase in ridership.

Folsom, CA:  Is work on double tracking to Folsom set to begin next month and continue well into the Fall of 2022?

Reply:  Thank you for the question and we are excited for the additional track to provide more frequent train service to Folsom. The contractor has begun field investigations but we don't anticipate any construction to start until early 2023. You can stay up to date on the Light Rail Modernization project by visiting

Citrus Heights, CA:  I was hoping that the Airport Express (Route 142) was going to go back to a service frequency of every 30 minutes later this month, but now I read that the route will continue as a 60-minute frequency. What caused the holdback of going to every 30 minutes, and will the recent decision to delay improved frequency be reconsidered for after the holiday season has concluded?

Reply:  Unfortunately, due to continued workforce shortages and COVID related challenges, we are unable to increase to 30-minute service on the Airport Express bus. We are making time adjustments to run in between Yolobus Route 42, so there will be service between downtown Sacramento and the airport every 30 minutes.

Sacramento, CA:  I utilize both YoloBus and Regional Transit to get around and live my daily life. I read that Regional Transit will have schedule adjustments to Route 142 later this month to leave L at 14th Streets at :35 after each hour, while YoloBus will leave the same stop at :05 after each hour. Here is my question with background. YoloBus has been planning for sometime now to improve their 42A and 42B to twice an hour with 30-minute or 45-minute frequencies. How will their changes, once implemented, impact your upcoming change to Route 142? Will you have to adjust the schedule again at the next opportunity of service changes, including, but not limited to returning the Route 142 to 30-minute frequencies, which is what I believe was done prior to April 2022? Thank you for looking into this.

Reply:  Starting Sunday, August 28, 2022, we are making adjustments to the Airport Express Bus (route 142) to run in between Yolobus Route 42, to provide more frequent service between downtown Sacramento and the airport. We will take a closer look at possible schedule changes when Yolobus decides on their schedule changes.

Sacramento, CA:  With inflation as crazy as it has been of late, (around 9% nationally) and costs going up for individuals and companies, has the Regional Transit District taken a hard look at the current fare structure and bounced around any increases or logistical changes to the existing fare structure. I wouldn’t be surprised if 1-way fares went to $3, yet the day pass cost be adjusted to $6 as one example. This would likely steer many cash riders to buy daily passes over other fare categories. Has this, for example, been looked at? How can riders voice their input on this topic? Are customer forums being planned around this so as to encourage good dialogue amongst the riders to Regional Transit Administration?

Reply:  SacRT keeps a close eye on our fare revenues and monitors trends at transit agencies throughout the nation. Inflation is definitely having an impact on our riders in other areas of their lives and we want to make sure that SacRT can continue to provide affordable service for our passengers. At this time we are not considering an increase to our fares. Our focus is to continue to grow our ridership base by encouraging new riders to try transit. Programs like RydeFreeRT is a great example. Students (grades TK-12th) are able to ride for free and SacRT is reimbursed for the lost fare revenue by our funding partners (cities of Sacramento, Citrus Heights, Folsom, Rancho Cordova and Elk Grove and Sacramento County).

Sacramento, CA:  What timeline, if any, will SacRT place the debit/credit card readers onboard the buses, similar to how they have been on the trains for quite sometime now?

Reply:  Thank you. Last month SacRT was awarded funding from the California Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP) to install touchless payment options onboard all of our buses. As you know, we were the first light rail system in California to offer such devices. We hope to work with the state to implement this grant funding and install the devices as soon as possible.

Rancho Cordova, CA:  When does construction work begin to raise platforms along gold line stations in our city in anticipation of the new light rail cars currently being manufactured?

Reply:  We are currently out to bid for the construction contract to modify our station platforms to accommodate the new low-floor vehicles. We are hoping to start work early next year. Stay updated on the Light Rail Modernization project by visiting

Sacramento, CA:  The 7th and Capitol light rail station has not had the ability to have functioning fare payment systems for sometime now. I am a “Connect Card” user, and other downtown stations are not close enough alternatives for me. Is there anything in the pipeline to perform the necessary repair work lined up soon so that fare payment and fare collection can once again resume at this important station? Thank you.

Reply:  Due to a power issue at the 7th & Capitol station, we are only able to use a generator to power lights at the station. We are working to get a contractor on board to fix the power issue, which would provide power to the fare vending machines and Connect Card readers. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Elk Grove, CA:  In reading about the upcoming service changes, I was originally under the impression that Sky River Casino and SacRT were entering into a cost sharing agreement to augment added service to the E-110 bus route. Based on what I am now reading, I am not happy with what is happening later this month. Did the cost sharing agreement not come to fruition for August 28th, and as such, will the additional service on E-110 for weekends and holidays and late night service have to wait until Winter and/or Spring of next year?

Reply:  At this time we do not have an agreement with Sky River Casino. The Elk Grove Transit Services bus route E110 extension to Sky River begins on Monday, August 15, 2022. We hope to provide additional service to the casino in the future.

Citrus Heights , CA:  What is the latest status on repairing the electronic signs at light rail stations?

Reply:  We are starting the refurbishment process of the electronic message boards at light rail stations next week. Since it will take several months to update all the signs, we will begin with the signs located at the highest ridership stations and key transit connections first.

Rancho Cordova, CA:  When will the Smart Ride service expand to weekends, later evening hours, and/or service other major Rancho Cordova areas, such as the Kaiser Clinic, Costco, Sunrise Blvd. area?

Reply:  The SmaRT Ride program is funded through a grant from the Sacramento Transportation Authority. We are currently looking for sustainable funding to continue the program.

Unincorporated Sacramento County, CA:  I want to send my compliments to both Regional Transit and Sacramento County on the recent completion of sidewalk improvements along Folsom Boulevard between Mayhew Road and Bradshaw Road. This will definitely make access to light rail stations like Tiber and Butterfield much easier than prior to the work getting awarded and done. Thank you very much.

Reply:  Thank you for the comment! Improvements along the Folsom Boulevard corridor have long been planned and we are excited to see this section completed.

Sacramento, CA:  I recently read on the Regional Transit website the upcoming service changes that are taking place later this month. I had thought that the service changes were more extensive than what I had read about a week ago. Are many of the other service changes, originally planned for later this month, being deferred to the first half of 2023 so that staffing levels to provide the planned service will be met, or was not implementing a more robust amount of service related more to available funding more than anything else?

Reply:  We had originally hoped to restore additional service, but with staffing limitations and absences due to COVID, we have deferred until next year. As you mention however, additional funding is needed for us to add headways and more service levels.

Unincorporated Sacramento County, CA:  Last year, specifically the NBA Season in particular, SacRT offered excellent schedules for folks to attend NBA games at Golden 1 Center, except when the Warriors were in Sacramento for Sunday evening games beginning at 6:00pm. With the NBA about to release the 2022-2023 schedule sometime later this month, will SacRT consider extending the span of Sunday evening service to the same span of service hours that are currently in effect on Saturday evenings? I find a big disparity when Sunday evening service offerings on the blue and gold lines are reduced by two hours versus what is in place for Saturday evening service.

Reply:  We are closely monitoring Kings’ home games and other Golden 1 Center events, and will make reasonable service accommodations based on ridership demand. As we move out of the pandemic and we see an increase in ridership, we will add train cars and possibly extend the service hours on Sundays.

Rancho Cordova, CA:  I am also a frequent rider on Yolo and Sacramento buses. I thought that my Connect Card tap was valid for up to 90 minutes. Yet, when I transfer from a Gold Line train to a Yolo bus, the Yolo bus drivers either are not familiar with this or do not accept it so I have to pay for a new fare although my Connect Card still has plenty of time left.

Reply:  Thank you for the question. The 90-minute window you are referencing is valid on SacRT services only. Daily and monthly passes are transferable to Yolobus at no additional cost (with the exception of Yolobus express services).

Closing Remarks:
Thank you for your questions. The next edition of Transit Talk with the General Manager/CEO will take place on Friday, September 2, 2022.