Transit Talk with the General Manager

September 02, 2022
Henry Li, General Manager/CEO
General Transit Questions
Opening Remarks:

Welcome to the September edition of Transit Talk with the General Manager/CEO.

Earlier this week, SacRT and the Sacramento Public Library debuted Sacramento's new Rolling Library Train. The train, which promotes riding and reading, is decorated inside and out. This is the first time the interior of a SacRT light rail train has been completely reimagined. When you step onboard the library train, you will feel like you have been transported into a library with artwork on the walls and seatbacks that resemble books on shelves. Riders can find hidden gems on those bookshelves featuring QR codes to free downloadable materials from the Sacramento Public Library. Simply take out your phone, scan the QR code, and you'll get to access different library resources for free. The rolling library train travels on both the Blue and Gold light rail lines. To learn more, visit

If you or someone you know is looking for a great place to work with great benefits, SacRT is still looking for bus drivers. We are holding two in-person hiring events this month. The first is on Tuesday, September 20 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. and the second is on Wednesday, September 28 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Both will be held in the auditorium at SacRT's Main Administration Building located at 1400 29th Street in Sacramento. SacRT offers a $2,000 signing bonus and paid training. Visit to learn more.

With some construction coming to a close at the University/65th Street light rail station, SacRT will be moving bus stops for routes 38 and 81 across the street to Q and 67th street. Look for wayfinding signs at the station.

Several festivals are taking place in the Sacramento area during the month of September, so I encourage you to take a free ride on SacRT to get to one or all. Visit to see how to ride for free and to enjoy some late summertime fun.

Lastly, I'd like to share that SacRT is developing a new brand identity and logo as part of our long-term marketing strategy. This visual overhaul is expected to take place later this year into mid-2023. The goal of this project is to modernize SacRT's brand and increase our visibility by helping our riders and community members identify our vehicles and all the services we provide. We'll be looking for public input and will be providing regular project updates at when the project kicks off later this month.

Now let's get to your questions!

Citrus Heights, CA:  Can the #11 bus and 519 Green Line schedules be coordinated so that Township 9 has service to/from downtown every 15 minutes?

Reply:  Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, at this time we are only able to operate route 11 every 45 minutes because of the length of the route and the current funding levels.

Citrus Heights , CA:  Please describe the contingency plan you have for Light Rail given current excessive heat warnings. What conditions will cause SacRT to activate this? Would you start a day's light rail service with this?

Reply:  Per normal protocol, light rail train speeds may be reduced, in some locations, once temperatures reach 94 to 96 degrees. However, due to the excessive high temperatures, SacRT may implement districtwide light rail speed restrictions at some point over the Labor Day weekend, most likely on Sunday when temperatures are expected to be 106 degrees and on Monday when they may peak as high as 111 degrees. In addition, SacRT may have to switch to one car trains during excessive heat periods, which will help reduce the amount of traction power drawn from the overhead wires. In the event that there is a major light rail disruption, SacRT is ready to implement a bus bridge to ensure riders are able to get where they need to go.

Sacramento, CA:  Does RT have any plans to do some serious deep-cleaning of station platforms? Many of the stations need a power wash and a good scrubbing, especially the busiest ones such as 16th St. It's unacceptable to see our transit system in such a trashed and disgusting state.

Reply:  Thank you for asking, we have recently hired more staff for power washing and cleaning at stations. If you see an issue at a station or stop, please use the free Alert SacRT app to report it.

Rosemont, CA:  When are electronic signs at light rail platforms going to finally be fixed? The WB Watt/Manlove sign has had a hole burned into it since winter 2020, it's been almost two years and nothing has happened.

Reply:  We are actually in the process of repairing all of our electronic message boards at our stations. The project just started last month and will take a few months to get all of them updated. We did have issues during the pandemic getting the parts needed to repair the old message boards.

Rosemont, CA:  If the upcoming Measure A passes and RT finally gets a boost in funds, will there be any projects that are ready to be constructed right away? And if not, why?

Reply:  Measure A is estimated to generate approximately $90 million annually for SacRT. We are preparing various projects to be in position to secure federal and state funding to move forward with construction. Funding could help expedite SacRT's Light Rail modernization program.

Hayward, CA:  How is the situation on improving Citrus Heights transit options? Has the express buses been restored yet along Auburn Blvd? What has the feedback been link with people having to take route 93 to light rail to commute? As a former Citrus Heights native I can understand how much 103 and 193 is a staple to the community. Although no one likes fare increases if a fare increase is required to run a special bus along the corridor to transport people it would be worth it.

Reply:  Service is currently suspended on Route 193 as well as a few other routes due to a shortage of bus operators. Raising fares on Route 193 would not address the issue we are having due to the workforce shortage. In the meantime, we are holding in-person hiring events and maximizing our effort to hire and train new operators.

Citrus Heights , CA:  This month's Next Stop News states SacRT is engaging in rebranding including a new logo. Have you already decided on one, or will riders have an opportunity to vote on choices?

Reply:  Great question, we are still in the very early stages and will be seeking public input in the coming weeks. More information will be shared on our website, newsletter and on social media.

CARMICHAEL, CA:  So far,about 23 newly delivered buses have service according to the online tracker and personal observations.Some sources say at least 30 have been delivered.What is the current timetable for replacing the 2006 and/or 2008 model buses?

Reply:  We have 30 new CNG buses from Gillig, but 23 are in service at this time. We are working on getting the other seven in service. We also have 41 new buses ordered and expect delivery in May 2023,

Antelope, CA:  Hey Henry. Three questions: how come smart ride doesn’t serve the watt/I80 station and only historic Folsom. How come the former VTA trams aren’t in service on the blue line or even the gold line? Since when did you guys get the 2200 series of new buses?

Reply:  SacRT's SmaRT Ride service in the Natomas-North Sacramento zone services the Marconi/Arcade Light Rail station as a pick-up drop off location, and is a short ride along the Blue Line to Watt/I-80. We received 30 of the 2200 series of buses earlier this year. The 2200 refers to the year they were purchase. For example, the 1600 series was acquired in 2016.

Sacramento, CA:  Somewhere I read that the Sacramento area is getting a large amount of state grant funds for the Sacramento Valley Station improvement project. Has the funding been received, and when can we begin see work on this project?

Reply:  The Sacramento region was awarded nearly $50 million in July from the California State Transportation Agency's Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program to make improvements to the Sacramento Valley Station (SVS) Transit Center. This includes funding to help support the realignment of the light rail station to a north south facing direction, in preparation for the SVS track loop project that will serve the Railyards development.

Carmichael, CA:  Hi! On the new light rail trains will we still have to push the button to open the door? Thanks!

Reply:  Yes, on the new low-floor light rail trains riders will still need to push the button to open the door.

Sacramento, CA:  Why isn't RT considering true level-boarding for the new low-floor light rail fleet? If VTA can do it, why can't we?

Reply:  On April 15, 2020, SacRT signed the notice to proceed to purchase the first 20 new low-floor light rail vehicles from Siemens Mobility, Inc. In December 2021, SacRT and Siemens Mobility executed a contract for the purchase of an additional eight vehicles, on top of the 28 currently being manufactured. SacRT’s contract with Siemens includes options for the purchase of up to 76 vehicles. Our total fleet today is 97 vehicles. SacRT will continue to run its existing high-floor fleet for approximately the next 10 years, or until sufficient funding is identified for a full transition to low-floor cars. The bottom step of the existing high-floor feet is at approximately 11 inches above the top of the light rail tracks. The new low-floor trains are at 14 inches above the top of the light rail tracks. If SacRT constructed a 14 inch platform now, passengers would have to step up from the bottom step of the high-floor trains to the platform, which would create a tripping hazard. With the current design, both fleets will have near level boarding, and true level boarding with a bridge plate at the two center doors on the new low-floor vehicles. The existing mini-high platforms will remain in place for level boarding onto the high-floor cars. SacRT is already exploring options to transition to full level boarding once the current high-floor fleet is retired.

Sacramento , CA:  What is necessary for bus stop vs bus shelter ? Bus stop improvement Requirements?

Reply:  There are requirements for a bus shelter. We have more than 3,000 bus stops across the system and we couldn't put in a shelter for every stop. But generally for bus shelter placement we look at having a ridership threshold above 25 daily boardings and the stop needs to be ADA compliant.

Tahoe Park (Sacramento), CA:  With the legislative session ending in Sacramento, and lawmakers returning home to get ready for the November elections, has any recent legislation have any benefit to Regional Transit and its riders, even if you’re still awaiting the Governor’s signature and/or veto message?

Reply:  Thank you for the question. Last month the Governor signed into law AB 2015, which updates SacRT's enabling legislation and provides for operational efficiencies. We are monitoring other legislative proposals that are awaiting action by the Governor including SB 922, SB 1162, AB 2441, AB 1919 to name a few.

Rosemont, CA:  Good Morning Mr. Henry Li, I was wondering if the SmaRT Ride would ever extend to the Rosemont area since it's only one mile from Rancho Cordova. If it ever does, it would really help me as I travel a lot. If not, I understand and I will use Paratransit.

Reply:  Thank you for the question and interest in SmaRT Ride. The program is funded through a grant from the Sacramento Transportation Authority and unfortunately we do not currently have funding to add or expand any of the zones at this time.

Sacramento, CA:  Last night, I believe it was, SacRT was at Robertson Community Center for an open house gathering on bus stop improvements. I was unable to go due to scheduling conflicts with my work schedule. Are any of these events planned for mornings and weekends so as to also cover folks that might not be available during weekday evening hours?

Reply:  Yes, we will be holding more open house in other areas and will hold a virtual open house. Future meetings will be shared in our rider newsletter and on our website at

Sacramento , CA:  Dec 2021 RT tracker introduced requires bus stop number ? If you can't find it ,what do you do? Sure great to find canceled bus trips to get around .. nice to see real-time!!

Reply:  All bus stop signs have the stop number on the sign. In the event that it’s not readable, we encourage you to call SacRT’s Customer Service line at 916-321-BUSS (2877). Representatives are available to assist callers Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Folsom, CA:  While it’s going to get very unseasonably hot this weekend, I am a bit concerned about the changing of the seasons with regard to construction of the second track to make light rail 15-minutes in frequency to and from Folsom. Does it look like construction of the second track is going to start soon, especially before a potentially big change in the weather from sunshine and hot conditions to stormy and flood-like conditions? I hope this work begins soon.

Reply:  The construction work on the passing track is expected to start in winter of 2022. Construction is expected to be complete by early Spring of 2024. Upon project completion, trains will arrive in, and depart from, downtown Folsom every 15 minutes.

Sacramento, CA:  I just used your Alert SacRT app for the first time the other day and I have to say I am disappointed you use the word "homeless" in the Report Type field.

Reply:  Thank you for providing feedback on the Alert SacRT app. The drop down menus are not customized by SacRT and are a template used nationwide by various transit agencies. We will share your concern with the app vendor and try to modify the language.

Citrus Heights , CA:  How long will the Rolling Library be in circulation? Will it only be a 1-month activity like the Holiday Bus or does it NOT have a due date?

Reply:  The plan is to have it on the system for at least one year. The schedule we have online is active for the month of September 2022. Learn more at Hope you get a chance to ride.

Davis, CA:  So, besides the yolo causeway connection, what other bus routes use all electric buses currently?

Reply:  We also have electric buses on the Airport Express route 142 and we have nine electric shuttles in two of our SmaRT Ride zones.

North Highlands, CA:  So, will the zone for Citrus Heights, antelope, and orangevale smart ride necker be extended to serve watt/ I 80?

Reply:  At this time, we don't have the funding available to extend SmaRT Ride.

Elk Grove, CA:  Good Day Henry: I live in the neighborhood adjacent to the new Sky River Casino, and have recently made my concerns known to city hall about non-residents parking on our street and being patrons at the new casino. In a visit to the casino shortly after it opened, I addressed my concern to casino staff, of which they told me that there is no public transportation to the casino at the present time, and that the only way there is to have a car. Do you and the Regional Transit Staff have a solution to this soon? I think that resolving this will also help to resolve folks parking in our neighborhood and perhaps even free up some parking spaces at the new casino as it would shift some folks from driving onto public transportation. Thank you.

Reply:  Thanks for your question. Route E110 currently provides a nearby stop and SacRT is in discussions with the City of Elk Grove and the Casino about future stops nearer the Sky River Casino; however, this requires adjustments to our schedules and agreement between SacRT, the City of Elk Grove and the Casino about SacRT's use of additional closer stops.

Sacramento, CA:  How long until 7th & Capitol has power again?

Reply:  Thanks for your question, and we apologize for the delay on this project. We are working on getting a contract awarded to fix the power issue. Once we have a contractor onboard we expect the work should be completed within four weeks.

Arden/Arcade, CA:  What potential service changes is Regional Transit considering to kickoff 2023 on Sunday 01 January 2023, while at the same time continuing to examine workforce staffing levels as well as positive COVID-19 cases?

Reply:  There are no major changes planned for January 2023 or to the Causeway Connection at this time due to our shortage of bus operators. Our priority is restoring full service on the routes that are suspended or reduced right now.

Sacramento , CA:  What is this new public Transist ballot measure?

Reply:  SacRT presented an informational update about the proposed ballot measure at our July 25th Board meeting. The initiative, known as the Sacramento County Transportation Maintenance, Safety, and Congestion Relief Act of 2022-Retail Transactions and Use Tax, is expected to generate $8.5 billion in local revenue during the forty-year life of the measure (2023-2063). Based on estimates, SacRT is expected to receive over $3.3 billion over the course of the measure, or approximately $85 million annually.

Rancho Cordova, CA:  What is the start date for station reconstruction in Rancho Cordova? When I looked at the “modernization” section of the Sacramento Regional Transit District website, all indications pointed to Summer 2022 as the start of the work. Neither I, nor my fellow riders have seen anything happen. Has the work been delayed due to a shortage of qualified skilled workers along with COVID-19, much like most everything else of late, or is it something else that I haven’t heard of, yet? Thank you.

Reply:  The website was updated last month with an updated construction date. We now expect construction work will start in winter of 2022. Construction is expected to be complete by early Spring of 2024. Upon project completion, trains will arrive in, and depart from, downtown Folsom every 15 minutes.

Citrus Heights, CA:  CORRECTION: Can the #11 bus and 519 Green Line schedules be coordinated so that each one runs from Township 9 to/from downtown at a regular interval?

Reply:  Unfortunately we are not able to make that change. The Green Line schedule is slotted in between Blue Line and Green Line trains and needs to stay at 15 or 30 minutes. We would need additional funding to operate the route 11 more frequently.

Closing Remarks:
Thank you for your questions. The next session of Transit Talk with the General Manager/CEO will take place on Friday, October 7, 2022.