Transit Talk with the General Manager

December 02, 2022
Henry Li, General Manager/CEO
General Transit Questions
Opening Remarks:
Welcome to the December 2022 edition of Transit Talk with the General Manager/CEO.

As 2022 comes to a close, it's a great opportunity to look back at how much SacRT accomplished over the last year serving the Sacramento region. Here a just a few of the highlights . . .

Just a couple of weeks ago, we celebrated the one year anniversary of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, a five year federal bill, which will provide more than $108 billion for public transit. The law provides more than $10 billion in transit funding for California.

SacRT was awarded $176 million in federal, state, and local funds specifically for the Gold Line to modernize the light rail, including the purchase of 28 new low-floor light rail trains, station modifications and construction of a "passing track" near Folsom to provide 15-minute service. Construction is scheduled to start on this project next month.

SacRT held several hiring events throughout the year for bus drivers and many other positions. As a result of these events, SacRT hired more than 86 new employees! We will continue hiring events into 2023 starting with two this month on Tuesday, December 6 and Tuesday, December 13, so be sure to check regularly for additional dates and details.

SacRT on the Move is SacRT's Short-Range Transit Plan (SRTP), which makes recommendations on SacRT's service looking forward over the next five years, and considers things such as span and frequency improvements, pandemic recovery, and ridership building initiatives. The SacRT Board adopted the plan in May 2022. For more information about the plan, visit

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.

SacRT partnered with Civic Thread, a local non-profit planning and advocacy organization, to work on a Bus Stop Improvement Plan for SacRT's service area. Several workshops and a community survey allowed respondents to rate the bus stops in their area. The final in person workshop for the year will take place on Tuesday, December 6 at The MACC at the Mather Field/Mills light rail station, and a virtual workshop will take place on Wednesday, December 7. Visit for details.

SacRT also partnered on a number of projects this year including systemwide free rides for a week in October to celebration California Clean Air Day, free rides to Drive the Vote on Election Day, launched the Rolling Library Train in partnership with the Sacramento Public Library, and held a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of the first student transit oriented development adjacent to the University/65th Street Station.

As usual, there are many holiday events taking place in the Sacramento region and I hope you will take advantage of riding SacRT to get to them! The Downtown Sacramento Ice Rink at 7th & K streets is open (get $2 off skate rental when you show your valid SacRT pass/ticket), the annual Theatre of Lights in the Old Sacramento Waterfront family-friendly show has started, and SacRT's holiday bus is on the move! For information about these holiday events, parades and more, visit

Be sure to visit the SacRT alerts page to learn about service detours and disruptions, such as those for the California International Marathon on Sunday, December 4, 2022. Also, check the schedules and services page for service hours on all bus and light rail for the Christmas and New Year's holidays. This information can also be found in the December issue of our passenger newsletter, Next Stop News.

Lastly, I want to thank you for riding SacRT. It has been a challenging year in many ways due to the pandemic, but because of our extraordinary customers and dedicated employees, SacRT has weathered that storm and we continue to make customer service and safety for everyone our top priorities. I hope you have a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season.

Now let's get to your questions!

Rosemont, CA:  A couple of months ago or so, I had asked a staff person aboard a light rail train as to what the status of repairs are over at the 7th and Capitol Station. At the time, they indicated that repairs would be done between Veterans Day and Thanksgiving Day. So far, the station remains a station in which riders like myself are unable to use their connect card or pay for fare at the machines. What seems to be the hold up on performing the necessary repairs, and what does Regional Transit now see as a more practical timeline to begin and complete the necessary work there and get the station back into a fully functioning station? It seems like the station has been unavailable to buy fare at for well over a year now.

Reply:  SacRT has hired an electrical contractor to perform the repair. The contractor is now working with the City of Sacramento to obtain a construction permit and traffic permit. Once the permits are in place, the electrical service will be repaired.

Marisol Village, CA:  I live in the newly opened Marisol Village homes located off of North 12th Street. We currently have Route 33 on Weekdays, but are quite a walk away from accessing transit on weekends and holidays, with Alkali Flat being the closest location to accessing transit. I was told a bit about the upcoming Dos Rios Light Rail Station and its proximity to Marisol Village. When is the groundbreaking set to happen for this new station, and how long will construction activities happen for, leading up to the grand opening of the new station?

Reply:  We expect the groundbreaking near April 2023 and more informaiton including a special webpage will be available about the project next year on our website, SacRT has been involved in events at Marisol Village and will continue to do so during construciton of the new station. The new Dos Rios Station is expected to open in late 2024. More information will be available on our webiste at

Sacramento, CA:  What is the status of the new light rail cars? What happened to the UTDC cars that were brought over from VTA?

Reply:  We expect the delivery of the first new low-floor light rail car in January 2023. Once delivered, we will begin our testing process, which will take around six months before it can be put in service. We are also starting the Light Rail Modernization project, which includes adding a passing track to provide 15-minute service to Folsom stations and modifiying the stations for the new low-floor vehicles.

Woodlake Neighborhood of Sacramento, CA:  Greetings Henry, I live in Woodlake, which includes three light rail stations. One of them, Globe Avenue, was the victim of an overnight accident when service was sleeping, and caused major damage to the access ramp for rail travel into Downtown Sacramento. Does Regional Transit have any idea when repairs will be made to the ramp and creating a more beautiful station? Just going by the station recently just seems to be an eyesore and not something in particular Woodlake Neighbors want to present to folks that want to buy or rent in this Neighborhood. Thank you.

Reply:  SacRT is working on a repair procedure for the ramp leading to the mini-high platform. Once a repair procedure is created, SacRT will hire a contractor to perform the work.

Sacramento, CA:  Are there any plans to have real time bus arrivals through Google Maps instead of through an RT app/website? Thanks!

Reply:  Good news! We are sending real time feeds to Google and Transit Apps. You should see a yellow/blue bar with round dot to denote current location. Also, we launched our new SacRT BusTracker App, which is now available for iPhone and Android devices.

Citrus Heights, CA:  When it's easy lately to get swept away by local doom and gloom, I'm particularly grateful the moment SacRT rolls out the Holiday Bus. It brings out my inner Elf. It's really something delightful for riders to look forward to and anticipate. I'm curious each year what cause you're supporting. It's also interesting to take it through various parts of the Sacramento region and see how different communities react happily to it. So thank you for Holiday Bus 2022!

Reply:  I'm so glad you enjoy the SacRT Holiday Bus as much as we do. We pick a different local charity each year and we are always open to suggestions for future years.

Carmichael, CA:  With November’s Measure A likely going down in defeat, what does this now mean in terms of the future of bus transit service? Will riders and non-riders alike begin to see service cutbacks, mainly because there will likely not be any additional sales tax revenue coming in to pay for service changes and service improvements we were optimistic of happening had the measure was to be approved?

Reply:  Thank you for the question. The defeat of Measure A was as resounding message that the plan did not go far enough to address our communities concerns regarding climate change, equity and mobility. Many of our transit peer agencies have a far higher level of local funding than SacRT. In the meantime, we will continue to be good stewards of our public funds to remain financially sound, while doing everything we can to preserve jobs and the essential transit services we currently offer.

Citrus Heights, CA:  My first year in the Sacramento Region about 12 years ago I was surprised by the California International Marathon and how streets were blocked off. A few years later when I started taking SacRT, I was surprised again when buses took detours. I remember seeing Routes 23 and 25 on Garfield Ave since Fair Oaks Blvd was blocked off for racers. So I was wondering, 1 - are these detours planned and known in advance?, and 2 - if these can be published online for riders who have to get around particularly large stretches where streets are blocked?

Reply:  Yes, there are street closures and detours for buses during the California International Marathon. We shared the information on our social media channels and all detours and service alerts are posted on our website as

Sacramento, CA:  What is wrong with the new elevators at Watt I-80? Seems like they don't work 80% of the time, always having to use a bus shuttle.

Reply:  The east elevator is out of service waiting on a motor replacement. The west elevator needs a new electronic component. The part has been ordered and should arrive next week and repairs will be made then.

Sacramento, CA:  A couple months ago in this chat, there was a question that was answered suggesting route 11 might be extended to the airport – is there any status update on that? It might make sense/be more feasible to extend route 13 to the airport instead – the distance from its current terminus (Del Paso & El Centro) to the airport is shorter than from the current terminus of route 11 to the airport, and could also provide a connection to the Amazon facility as well as to the Blue Line at Arden/Del Paso. Any thoughts on extending route 13 instead/in addition to route 11?

Reply:  In our Short-Range Transit Plan (SRTP) update, SacRT analyzed both Route 11 and Route 13 as potential extensions to the airport. The SRTP includes plans to shorten the existing Route 11 to Downtown, and reallocate service miles to extend north to the airport. Extending Route 11 also provides service in areas of new development in North Natomas, such as the Northlake (formerly Greenbriar) community.

Sacramento, CA:  Hi, wondering if RT would consider adding 1 stop on the 142 somewhere between downtown and the airport, in Natomas. For example, Southbound from Terminal B to downtown – insert 1 stop at the Truxel & San Juan Rd Southbound stop and Northbound from downtown to Terminal A – insert 1 stop at the Truxel & San Juan Rd Northbound stop. This would also be a way to test/bring up demand for transit between Natomas and the airport before the light rail is implemented and possibly help “make the case” for funding to get the light rail in place more quickly.

Reply:  Adding stops on Truxel and San Juan to the Route 142 would require the bus to exit the interstate which would add minutes to the existing running time, and would likely result in needing additional vehicles and operating funds. This route change would also be redundant with the three existing SacRT routes that currently serve Truxel/San Juan (11, 13 and 86); all of which connect to the Route 142 downtown.

Sacramento, CA:  Will the Airport Express, Route 142, be ready in January to return to 30-minute frequency, or would this service improvement continue to be on hold until later in 2023?

Reply:  We recently posted on our website the planned January service updates. At the moment there are no changes to Route 142.

Sacramento, CA:  Good Afternoon Mr. Li: First and foremost, I am born and raised in San Francisco and a self proclaimed transit junkie! So now that I've moved to Sacramento I am loving your Connect Card and learning your transit system more and more with each ride. I'm curious if you have any plans to make a phone able card similar to the Clipper Card in the Bay Area? I realize the ZipPass app is available but there's nothing like the convenience of a seamless Clipper Card that connects you with multiple transit agencies, easy to upload money and the best part, you don't have to carry it in your purse or wallet. While I'm happy with your current Connect Card, I would LOVE to have a digital version for my phone! Thank you so much! Richard

Reply:  Thanks for the question. The SacRT Connect Card system is a card based, closed loop, fare system that complicates integrations with mobile applications. Unfortunately the current system design does not allow for the type of integration that you see in some new fare systems. We are always looking toward the future here at SacRT and certainly are taking into consideration the newer technologies available. For example, SacRT is partnering with Cal-ITP on emerging fare technologies including the first contactless, open-loop, fare payment system onboard light rail vehicles in the State (tap to ride). SacRT will be looking to integrate our fare systems in the near future to provide much needed simplicity and ease of payment for our passengers.

Roseville, CA:  I use Regional Transit, Roseville Transit, and Placer County Transit. I don’t like how the transfer agreements work within the three transit services. I talked to a fellow rider on my Regional Transit rides who happens to use YoloBus. They have told me that it is very simple with daily pass, semi-monthly pass, and monthly pass, in that when they show their Yolo bus driver their pass, they can ride to their destination and back. Here on Roseville Transit, Placer County Transit, and Regional Transit, the operators don’t seem to be talking to each other like Yolobus does with Regional Transit. Can the staff that put transfer agreements together re-look at the Roseville and Placer agreements, and please make it more passenger friendly to what I was told by a fellow rider that is currently in place between Regional Transit and Yolobus? Thank you.

Reply:  Our transfer agreement with Roseville Transit and Placer County transit allows for system to system transfers at points of contact between our agencies. Passengers who ride one system to a transfer station and then board the other system are allowed to board the second system for free if they hold a daily or monthly pass. If you find that this is not the case please contact our Customer Service department at 916-321-2877 and we will look into it further. The case with Yolobus is slightly different. SacRT and Yolobus have a revenue sharing agreement for jointly held passes. There is no jointly held passes or revenue sharing agreement in place with Placer and/or Roseville. We can look into this in the future and assess the financial impact of it as well as the benefit it could provide our passengers.

Davis, CA:  What can be done in conjunction with Yolobus and Yolo County in order to boost connectivity between Davis and Sacramento? Currently, train service and bus service between the two cities are infrequent throughout the day which impedes using transit as a viable option of travel for commuters to Sacramento and for students living in the Sacramento area heading to UC Davis for their classes. Given the increasing traffic on the Causeway, I believe that needs to be done sooner than later and we need to provide ways for our residents to reduce our carbon footprint.

Reply:  SacRT works closely with Yolobus on providing regional connectivity, and reliable connections between the bus routes that meet in Downtown Sacramento. SacRT also operates the Route 138 (Causeway Connection), which provides hourly, zero-emission bus service, Monday through Friday, between Davis and Sacramento.

Citrus Heights, CA:  When will the holiday bus be on the 21 line?

Reply:  Thank you for the question. The Holiday Bus will be on Route 21 on Friday December 23rd and Monday December 26th. You can find the full Holiday Bus Schedule here:

Sacramento, CA:  Earlier this year we were told that there would be information about the Long-Range Transit Plan update/draft but this did not come to fruition. Will this be something RT plans on doing in 2023?

Reply:  SacRT does have plans to update our Long-Range Transit Plan; however, a date to begin this effort has not been determined yet. Staff will continue to pursue funding opportunities to kick off this project.

Sacramento, CA:  With the state passing SB922 this year, allowing for the waiving of CEQA review for bus/light rail projects under a $100 million threshold, does SacRT have any plans or ideas as to how to utilize this groundbreaking legislation? There are many opportunities for bus improvements on major corridors such as Sunrise, Stockton Blvd, Howe, and Watt. There hasn't been any information from RT surrounding SB922 so we'd love to know if there is anything in the works. And if not, please consider doing so.

Reply:  SB922 extended the existing exemption until January 1, 2030. SacRT is working to advance a network of high capacity bus corridors and many of them could potentially benefit from this extended timeline, including the ones you mentioned.

Sacramento, CA:  Are passengers required to exit the vehicle at the end of the line?

Reply:  SacRT does not require passengers to deboard at the terminus of our light rail lines.

Rosemont, CA:  Are SacRT fares compatible with E-Tran?

Reply:  There are differences between SacRT and Elk Grove Transit Services (formally Etran) fares. For example, the existing Elk Grove basic single ride price is $2.25 and the SacRT single ride price is $2.50. The annexation agreement with the City of Elk Grove requires us to maintain Elk Groves existing fares for a period of time. Consolidating fares in the future is possible, but can be a very complex process. Any fare change that SacRT implements requires a Title VI analysis and Board approval. An initial study was done when Elk Grove was annexed and the preliminary results present us with some unique challenges. For example, while SacRT's base fare of $2.50 is higher than Elk Grove, the average fare that SacRT passengers pay is actually lower because of the discounts and subsidies that SacRT passengers are able to take advantage of. All of this makes for a very complex process for finding a fare structure capable of consolidating fares without causing concern from a Title VI perspective.

Sacramento, CA:  Measure A failed and is dead until at least 2024. Does RT have any plans to introduce their own funding or expansion plans/programs? Will we be seeing service changes/cuts because of Measure A's failure to pass?

Reply:  The defeat of Measure A last month was a clear message that the voters want a more climate focused initiative that supports transit oriented communities and active transportation. We will be listening to the feedback of community groups prior to considering what the next steps will be for identifying a sustainable local funding source.

Sacramento, CA:  With the failing of the Transportation tax initiative what is future if any of the green line to airport ?

Reply:  The green line to the airport remains a strong and popular project, however SacRT will need additional local funding to make it competitive for federal and state dollars.

Sacramento, CA:  There seems to be a continuing shortage of bus drivers causing unforseen cancellations. When can we expect an improvement ?

Reply:  We are holding another set on in person hiring events in December. One on Tuesday, December 6 and the second on Tuesday, December 13. We are also increasing driver pay starting in January 2023, which should help us attract more drivers.

Sacramento, CA:  Daily choice rider: zip-ties are in many locations inside buses & lite rail vehicles, left over from Covid seat restriction signage. Could the cleaning staff start cutting those artifacts off? It takes about 2 seconds each with a pair of side cutters to remove them. They look tacky & their presence shows lack of attention to detail. Thx

Reply:  Thanks for bringing this to our attention. We shouldn't have these on buses or trains. We will remind our bus and light rail teams. If you see issues in the future, please send a message on our free Alert SacRT App with information on the bus or train number. Thank you for riding.

Citrus Heights, CA:  What is the status on the SacRT logo redesign project?

Reply:  We will have samples for the public to review and take a survey in mid January. More information will be shared on our social media, rider emails, passenger newsletter and on our website soon.

Rancho Cordova, CA:  In your introductory comments, it was mentioned that construction on the light rail modernization project will begin next month. Will that mean that in order to get the work started and completed safely that bus bridges will be planned and in effect? If so, is there a project website link on the SacRT website so as to see what stations and what months bus bridges will be located at? I assume that bus bridges will move and circulate throughout the project area and project timeline such that the same handful of stations will close, then open and shift over to close other stations, and not keep closed the same stations for too long of a timeframe. Is that a safe assumption, or not?

Reply:  Bus bridges won't be needed quite yet, but we will inform riders and the public at least 30 days before any service disruptions or bus bridges begin due to construction efforts. We will update the project page on our website at once we have final dates.

East Sacramento, CA:  Hey Henry. Three questions I have about smart ride: Why not consider merging the Carmichael and Citrus Heights zones as they are close to get her along coyle avenue at some point? Why not consider adding additional small buses to meet the demand during peak hours so that users do not have to wait 60+ minutes to book a ride so they do not have to suffer the fate of constantly getting the message “we are popular. Our wait times are at capacity and we can’t take your reservation at this time. Please try again in a few minutes. Thank you for trying transit”? And also, how about consulting the folks at Via to have the gps not tell the smart ride drivers to drive on the railroad tracks? For instance, this happened to me several times since I live in Antelope and it kept telling my driver to go on the roads that were private property to Union Pacific railway.

Reply:  Thank you for your suggestion, I will share this information with our Planning and Operations departments. The SmaRT Ride service is provided through Measure A funding, which has specific requirements on how the funding is used. Our Planning and Operations team work closely together monitor improvements based on demand and need. If you have issues with trips, please contact our Customer Service Department at 916-321-2877 with more specific information, so we can work with our vendor, Via, to address those issues.

Sacramento, CA:  Choice rider here: Line 86 has a bus stop sign on a temporary, short post. It is northbound Azevedo @ Pebblewood Dr. I do not have the stop # at this moment. The sign has been down for over 9 months! The bus drivers sometimes miss the stop because the sign is so short, especially since the change to Daylight Savings. A metal sign post already exists. What is the delay in simply getting the sign re-attcahed to its post?

Reply:  Thank you for your question. I have shared this information with our Facilities team to address the issue.

Sacramento, CA:  The new SacRT BusTracker does not display alerts on cancelled/delayed trains. It seems like we have to visit for looking up cancelled bus lines and AlertSacRT for train delays. The previous version of tracker had these listed in the same location and was very helpful. Can the new app be updated to include these ?

Reply:  The SacRT BusTracker is only for bus. The Alert SacRT App is for any service issues with light rail service. We hope to have an all in one app in the future.