Transit Talk with the General Manager

October 07, 2022
Henry Li, General Manager/CEO
General Transit Questions
Opening Remarks:

Welcome to the October 2022 edition of Transit Talk with the General Manager/CEO.

Fossil-fuel powered transportation is the single biggest source of air pollution in California. As a transit agency, SacRT is working every day to get people to their destinations while reducing pollution in the region. This week, I hope you took advantage of SacRT's week-long free rides in honor of Clean Air Day on October 5th, and while Clean Air Day has passed it is not too late to take the Clean Air Pledge. For details visit

However, you can still ride free if you travel in the Natomas-North Sacramento SmaRT Ride zone, because Jibe is sponsoring free rides on SmaRT Ride during the entire month of October. Visit for details on how to ride free.

SacRT and Civic Thread are working together to complete a Bus Stop Improvement Plan for the SacRT service area, which includes the cities of Citrus Heights, Elk Grove, Folsom, Rancho Cordova and Sacramento, and Sacramento County.

The plan will create a comprehensive list of necessary and desired improvements to bus stops, amenities, and supporting pedestrian infrastructure. Two workshops will be held this month. The first is on Tuesday, October 11 at the Carmichael Library, and the second is on Tuesday, October 25 at the Belle Cooledge Community Center. Both workshops are from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Learn more at

Several events are taking place this month, including the Sacramento Kings Fan Fest at the Golden 1 Center, Aftershock in Discovery Park, Golden Harvest Parade and Festival in Old Sacramento, Ironman in downtown, and Elk Grove's Hallo-Pallooza in Old Town Plaza. I encourage you to visit to check out the details for each event and visit for your free ride flyer.

As always, be sure to check the page for any service disruptions, which may be caused by large events or other circumstances. You can also sign up for rider alerts on planned news and events on that page.

Lastly, in celebration of Halloween, be on the lookout for SacRT's very own SacRT-Rex who will be riding transit and handing out treats from Monday, October 24 through Friday, October 28.

Now let's get to your questions.

Roseville, CA:  Hey Henry. Why are the 300 series of light rail cars in service?

Reply:  I believe you meant "why aren’t they in service". The 300 series are our UTDC vehicles. They are currently removed from service due to significant mechanical issues.

North Highlands, CA:  I noticed that SacRT will be extending light rail service hours on Sunday due to both the preseason Kings game, along with the final day of the Aftershock Music Festival. Has SacRT considered extending normal light rail service hours on the Sunday/Holiday schedule so that span of night service hours is mirroring that of what is currently offered on the Saturday schedule? As a Kings fan, I would hope that this would be taken into consideration. Thank you.

Reply:  Thank you for the question. We will continue to provide additional service for Kings home games and to support other events based on ridership demand. Currently, normal ridership demand on Sunday evening does not require extending service comparable to Saturday and weekdays. However, we regularly monitor ridership levels and continually evaluate the need to provide additional service.

Elk Grove, CA:  What’s the latest news on Route E-110 and its viability to extend past Kaiser to Sky River Casino? Any chance of that happening in the next three to six months, or so. It feels like we are kept out of the loop on this in Elk Grove, and that this particular monthly forum is the best place to get answers to transit service questions like this. Thank you.

Reply:  Thank you for the question. We are continuing to coordinate with the City and Casino on additional service. We beleive that it will be feasible to connect in the next three to six months.

Arden/Arcade, CA:  What is SacRT doing with regards to service to Sacramento International Airport? For example, I see that existing Route 142 is operating at 60-minute frequency, whereas the specially decorated buses used are advertising service at every 30 minutes. At the next opportunity of service changes available, will this route improve to every 30-minutes, or will SacRT perhaps take a different approach to airport service - perhaps extending existing Route 11 to go there instead? As an Arden/Arcade resident, I wouldn’t mind transferring to either Route 86 at Marconi Station or Route 88 at Arden/Del Paso Station to make my way over to Truxel Road if it is known that Route 11 served the Airport. It would sure be a blessing to not have to go first to downtown and then back-track on my airport trips. Thank you for looking into this. It is always a pleasure to ride SacRT and take automobiles off the roadways.

Reply:  Thanks for asking. We had to roll the #142 Airport bus service back to 60-minute frequency because of our operator shortage. Although we have the funds for 30-minute service and our policy is 30-minute service to the airport, we had to roll back some service across the system because of the bus operator shortage. We hope to have staffing levels back up early next year, which will allow us to return to the 30-minute service on the #142. We do have plans to extend #11 Truxel to the airport as well so riders from Natomas and on Truxel don’t have to backtrack downtown to catch the #142. That is a more expensive extension that will cost $1-2 million a year to operate but it is in our Short Range Transit Plan. For now, we are still just focusing on getting staffing levels up to where they need to be to operate the basic system. But that is a plan we have for the future.

Citrus Heights, CA:  When would riders more likely than not see the contactless fare payment devices onboard buses? I have noticed them on the trains, but after talking to a fellow rider, it was brought to my attention that a recent Facebook post by the district showed that a recently awarded grant application was approved to get these devices in the buses. Are you able to provide a timeline and/or update today, or is this still a behind-the-scenes thing being worked on with nothing quite ready to share publicly for this month?

Reply:  We were excited to recently be awarded grant funding to add the contactless payment options on our buses. We expect to recieve the grant funds that you are referencing sometime early next year. Procurement of hardware could begin shortly after that. A rollout timeframe is hard to predict this early in the process with the ongoing supply chain issues affecting the industry.

Sacramento, CA, CA:  1. The routes and schedules via has not been working for the past few months. For example when you pick a route, the stop and click on the time point, a blank page is displayed. 2. With the IRA act, does SacRT receive any funding for upgrades or the green line to airport ? Is there any support from the county or the city to make this a reality ? 3. How are the ridership numbers ? It seems like SacRT is carrying a significantly less amount of commuters post pandemic.

Reply:  1) Thank you for letting us know. I have contacted our IT Department and they have indicated that the problem has been fixed. 2) The IRA including some tax rebates that will benefit SacRT. The $1.2 trillion federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law which was passed in 2021, is a five year bill and SacRT will be applying for funding from various programs to implement our capital budget. 3) Ridership has been growing steadily at SacRT for a while now. It is true that recovery amongst commute riders has been slower than other groups. This we believe is due to the high number of people who continue to work remotely. While we have not finalized the numbers yet, we can report that September was the highest ridership month post-COVID. Early data suggests that total bus ridership is more than 70% recovered at this point with rail ridership well over 50% of pre-COVID levels.

Antelope, CA:  Hey Henry. What inspired your system to have the automatic stop announcement system on buses and light rail. Like for instance, when the light rail announces, “the next stop will be 12th and I”?

Reply:  Much as it would be nice to take credit, the Americans With Disabilities Act requires key stops be audibly announced, for our visually impaired customers. This was traditionally done by having the operator make the stop announcement, but SacRT procured automated systems over fifteen years ago to make the announcements more clear and consistent.

Sacramento, CA:  So, when will one of the new modern low floor light rail cars be on display in the river district? I heard from someone they might be in display there soon.

Reply:  Thank you for your interest in our new low floor LRVs. The first vehicle will be arriving soon. We do plan on displaying the vehicle at some point; however, the date and location has not been determined. The display event will be marketed in advance of the date.

Carmichael, CA:  The free ride week that concludes today has been a major relief to my household. We live paycheck to paycheck and have more often than not had to choose between food, transportation, and housing. Not having to directly pay for transportation has given us the sigh of relief we have been wanting for quite sometime now. With that in mind, what efforts are underway at the district to provide more of this in the near future? I understand that there is a cost to the district to do this, and that without a sponsor to otherwise cover the lost revenue that what we all went through that concludes today will not happen again. It would be my hope that there would be more generosity of sponsors real soon as transportation costs directly on households are becoming a burden on household budgets, especially when inflation and other financial matters factor into taking things into consideration.

Reply:  I'm so pleased that many of you were able to take advantage of our Clean Air free ride week. With more dedicated local funding, SacRT would have some flexibility to continue our RydeFreeRT (students ride free in K-12th grades) program and other discounted and fare-fare programs. The Clean Air free ride offer is just one of four weeks that SacRT received grant funding for. The additional three free ride weeks will be promoted throughout the year. Note that our next systemwide free ride day is planned for Election Day on Tuesday, November 8, 2022 as part of our Drive the Vote promotion to help remove the transportation barrier for community members to get to vote centers and ballot box locations in Sacramento County. As a reminder, check our free ride promotion page at for other weekly promotions.

Sacramento, CA:  Is there a possibility that at minimum, one of the new low floor LRV cars can be a “library car” similar to existing LRV 121. I love this concept you have done with the library system, and would hope in this suggestion/comment that at least one low floor LRV will continue this new tradition once it is in service and carrying the riding public. Thank you.

Reply:  It's so refreshing to hear that you are enjoying the rolling library train program. SacRT hopes to expand on this concept in the future. In fact, we are collaborating with the library to create QR coded decals to be placed at busy stations and stops for customers to access while waiting for their bus or train. Meaningful partnerships like the Rolling Library are really important to us and the Sacramento community. I will make sure to include your request in the communications plan for the new low-floor vehicles.

Closing Remarks:
Thank you for your questions. The next session of Transit Talk with the General Manager/CEO will take place on Friday, November 4, 2022.