Transit Talk with the General Manager

April 07, 2023
Henry Li, General Manager/CEO
General Transit Questions
Opening Remarks:
Welcome to the April 2023 edition of the Transit Talk Online Chat!

This month marks SacRT's 50th anniversary and we are celebrating with our riders, community and staff! We have many festivities scheduled for April and throughout the year.

To kick off the celebration and thank our riders, we are offering Free Ride Transit Tuesdays on fixed-route bus and light rail every Tuesday during the month of April 2023. The remaining dates to ride free are April 11, April 18 and April 25.

We are also hosting public pop-up events at different light rail stations and transit centers across the region during the month of April.

Watch for a special 50th anniversary edition bus and light rail train. Make sure to step on board for an immersive experience, as both the bus and train feature decals dotted with QR codes that virtually connect riders to stories and videos about our history and achievements. The 50 Year Anniversary train operates on the Blue Line on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays and on the Gold Line on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The 50 Year Anniversary bus operates on a different route each day in April. Get the schedule at

Don't forget to visit our special web page at, which includes journalistic-style stories about the origin of SacRT, SacRT across the decades, and long-time staff who have served our community for many years. You can also play transit trivia for a chance to win a prize! If you have a special story about SacRT, we would love to hear it. Visit to share your story.

In addition, SacRT is offering systemwide free rides in celebration of Earth Day on Saturday, April 22, 2023. Free rides are available to travel on all buses, light rail and SacRT GO oaratransit services during regular service hours. No flyer is needed to ride free, just board and go. On Earth Day, help?clear the air by trying an alternative form of transportation. Leave the car at home and try SacRT?for free. Visit to learn more.

April is a busy month for SacRT. Construction on Gold Line stations is underway to meet the height requirements of new low-floor light rail trains. Thank you to our riders for their patience as we have implemented bus bridges during weekend construction work. This allows construction crews to work safely, and for riders to safely travel between the affected stations. For details on the project, please visit

As the weather continues to get nicer, we look forward to seeing our riders at events across the region this spring. We hope SacRT can help get you there! Please check out for a list of local events where you can ride SacRT for free.

Now let's get to your questions.

Sacramento, CA:  Mr. Li: Yet again the sound of the station announcements is so loud in the train that I can't even talk to the RT personnel looking at my ticket. It is ridiculous. I talked to the conductor, and they said that has to happen by maintenance. I have complained about this so many times. Can something be done about this?

Reply:  Thank you for notifying me. I have alerted our IT Department and they will be making the necessary adjustments to the PA volume. If this continues to be an issue, please let us know.

Folsom, CA:  How far in the timeline is the Dos Rios station on the Blue Line? It would serve a lot of density, allow people to get to Friendship Park, and basically let you get rid of the 33 bus route.

Reply:  Thank you for the question and we are very excited about the development occurring in the River District. The new Dos Rios station will serve as a community gathering center and connect the new housing with the rest of our transit network. Site clean-up has taken longer than expected, but we hope that construction of the station can begin early next year.

Sacramento, CA:  Good morning Mr. Li: Why do I have to wave or stand for an operator to stop at a bus stop? Many riders could have physical disabilities that prohibit them from signaling. This policy is not inclusive. Think of visually impaired riders: how can they flag a bus down if they do not know it is coming? Those riders need a bus to stop so they can hear the route number read aloud when the doors open and determine whether to get on. I am not blind, but I need a prescription to see and on occasions when I have forgotten my glasses, I cannot see route numbers until the buses are fairly close. I didn't realize this was putting me in jeopardy of not getting a ride because I may not have been able to wave in time. RT needs a policy that requires all operators to stop when they see someone at a stop, unless the individual indicates they would not like a ride, would be a more inclusive policy while continuing to strive for efficiency. I am an ardent supporter of public transportation, and I am committed to making sure the service is available to as many in our community as possible. I plan to attend a board meeting and bring this issue up.

Reply:  Thank you for your feedback and I apologize to any passengers that have been passed-up. Our training requires that our bus operators must make stops at designated bus stops to provide access to transportation services for all individuals, including those with disabilities. Even if passengers are seated and not visible waiting to board the bus, the bus operator must still make the stop at the designated bus stop to provide equal access to transportation services for all individuals. We have recently received an increase in complaints regarding pass-ups and are actively investigating and validating each of them. To address this issue, we are taking immediate corrective action, including providing additional training for the operators to ensure that all passengers are picked up at designated stops.

Sacramento, CA:  What is the latest on the Green Line? When is it expected to be extended beyond Township 9? Would RT consider expanding frequency of bus 11 and discontinuing service on the Green Line until it is extended into Natomas? Seems more costly to operate it than the bus, without much added usefulness.

Reply:  SacRT's Short Range Transit Plan actually includes extension of Route 11 to the airport and increases in service levels. This is something we plan to do regardless of the status of the Green Line. We are currently working with the City of Sacramento on a potential crossing over the American River.

Sacramento, CA:  Other transit agencies, including some that are much smaller than RT, have real-time bus (and rail) times transmitted directly to Google Maps instead of using their own proprietary app. What is preventing RT from pushing real-time data to Google Maps?

Reply:  SacRT publishes its real-time bus locations via a publicly accessible feed, which is used by a number of third-party app providers, such as the Transit and Moovit apps. We also publish our own real-time locations via our Bus Tracker service: Bus Tracker (Desktop/Web): Bus Tracker (Mobile): SacRT BusTracker (App Store): An issue arose over the past week or two with our real-time feed which is affecting real-time and Google Maps. That issue is being addressed. Lack of real-time in Google Maps itself is a long-standing issue that we may actually be able to resolve at the same time.

Folsom, CA:  What's the status of power being restored to 7th & Capitol Station?

Reply:  The power was restored to the station last month. We will light the 7th and Capitol Station purple for the Sacramento Kings first playoff game.

Sacramento, CA:  What is the status of updating the signage at the light rail stations to reflect the current system? The signs at 29th Street still say that one direction is towards "Meadowview", but that hasn't been the end of the Blue Line since 2015. Not to mention you cannot get to Meadowview by boarding a light rail at 29th Street - you have to transfer. I have reported this (and similar outdated signage issues at other stations) numerous times in the SacRT Alert App and nothing is updated.

Reply:  Thank you for alerting me to the issue. We are in the process of updating the station kiosks with our 50th anniversary information and it may be an old poster that was not removed --- We will take care of it right away.

Elk Grove, CA:  Can you fix the Connect Card scanner machine at the light rail Franklin Station please? They're all smashed up and it's hard for me to scan my card. Thanks. Also you guys need to have more security on board on the trains because theres weird bums . Thanks.

Reply:  Thank you for alerting us to the damage of the Connect Card machine at our Franklin Light Rail Station. We are dispatching a technician to the station today to see if they are able to trouble shoot and repair the tap device. If it requires additional fixing, we will have to work with our contractor on replacement.

Sacramento, CA:  I would like to use SmaRT Ride more, but lately the time to pickup has been more than 30+ minutes when I've been requesting it (in the downtown-midtown-East Sac zone), not even during rush hours. Are there any plans to add more drivers/vehicles to meet demand?

Reply:  Thank you for your question and being a rider. I apologize that you have experienced long wait times. As you note, wait times can vary depending on the size of the zone, the number of vehicles operating and the amount of requests we receive. SmaRT Ride is grant funded and unfortunately we do not have additional funding to expand the zones at this time. SacRT receives 1/6th of a penny in local sales tax funding, an amount that is approximately five times less than many of our west coast peers.

Sacramento, CA:  For about a week, Google Maps has been showing RT bus stops as light rail stops (the icon that shows is incorrect). I believe this has to do with RT data feeds to Google. Can this be changed back to how it was before?

Reply:  Thank you for the question and we noticed that earlier this week. We have reached out to Google and are waiting on them to upload the new feed. We will be sure to reach back out.

Folsom, CA:  Why has half the parking area been fenced off at Glenn Station?

Reply:  Thanks for inquiring regarding the Glenn Station parking lot. Currently, our contractor is using a portion of the lot for trailer and construction staging as part of the Folsom 15-minute service project. Construction of the additional side track should begin this summer.

Sacramento, CA:  From what I've heard, the low floor light rail vehicles will be rolled out first on the Gold Line, and then on the Blue Line. Is that correct? If so, can you please explain how it was decided that the Gold Line would get the new trains first?

Reply:  The new low-floor vehicles should be operational on the Gold Line by Spring of next year. We are currently renovating the stations to accommodate the new vehicles. SacRT received grant funding specific to the Gold Line and we are actively pursuing funding to replace our entire fleet of vehicles and transition our system to modern low-floor vehicles.

Sacramento, CA:  The Bus Tracker App needs a lot of work to actually be useful as a real-time tracker tool. One thing is that instead of saying that a bus is delayed and providing an updated arrival time, it usually just says DUE until the bus eventually shows up. This leaves the passenger in the dark and makes the app useless when it comes to actually knowing how long until the bus comes. Another thing is that sometimes instead of showing the vehicle number it just says "SCH", which I'm assuming means "scheduled", but does it also mean cancelled? If so, the app should show more clearly if a particular trip is cancelled rather than relying on abbreviations. Can you please relay the feedback to the appropriate parties? Thank you.

Reply:  Thank you for using the app and providing feedback. We are aware of this issue and have already talked with the vendor. They have an update that will be coming out very soon that should fix this issue.

Sacramento, CA:  Hi Mr. Li, I live on McNamara Way near Franklin station. The train horns are blowing really loud at 10 PM - 11 PM or early mornings 5 AM - 6 AM. I know the operator must blow horn for safety reasons, but can the horn sound be lowered?

Reply:  I will reach out to our Light Rail Operations team to see what can be done to mitigate train horn noise, especially late at night and early in the morning. Regulations do require our horns to be set at 85 decibels.

Folsom, CA:  What month does construction begin on the passing track to get Folsom to receive service every fifteen minutes? How long is construction estimated to last? During the construction timeline, will service on rail be every fifteen minutes to Sunrise, with continuing bus service between Sunrise and Historic Folsom?

Reply:  Pre-construction has already started, with the track and platform construction work expected to start in summer 2023 (August/September). SacRT will be sharing additional information with the riders and the public about the construction process, including visual and audio messages for riders. Construction is expected to be complete by spring 2024. Upon project completion, trains will arrive in, and depart from, Historic Folsom every 15 minutes. Learn more here:

South Sacramento, CA:  I work at Folsom Lake College El Dorado Center and drive to City College to take light rail to Kings games in Downtown. I have been a season ticket holder for some years now. I have asked your staff onboard the trains if you will be implementing 15-minute frequency for night playoff games, along with extending the Sunday night hours to operate similar to Saturday nights? They didn’t know, but they did know about this online chat forum, and directed me to ask you today, as Sacramento prepares to start the playoffs at Golden 1 Center on April 15th - their first playoff appearance in 17 years.

Reply:  Congratulations to the Kings on making the playoffs! We will already be on 15 minute headways when passengers are going to the game. For the takeaway, the goal is to provide approximately 15 minute service from G1C, until the crowds clear. Best of luck to the Kings!

Sacramento, CA:  Are there any plans to install the Tap to pay option in buses ?

Reply:  Thank you for the question. SacRT is working with SACOG and Cal-ITP to bring additional fare payment alternatives that to our bus fleet that will be more attractive to cash paying passengers who may be unbanked or underbanked. More information will be coming on this in the upcoming months.

Sacramento, CA:  How customizable are the announcements on the light rail? If RT wanted to include announcements in Spanish or another language, or add in information about connecting bus routes or other points of interest near the stops, would that be hard?

Reply:  The technology in the legacy fleet vehicles are outdated and unfortunately, there is no flexibility making adjustments; however, we are looking to add Spanish language announcements in our new low-floor vehicles.

Sacramento, CA:  I have an interesting question, yet I understand if you have a long answer. When there are free ride days without the need of a free ride flyer, what entities fund Regional Transit for the otherwise lost fare revenue?

Reply:  Thank you for the question. We secured some state funding through the LCTOP program that covers up to four weeks of systemwide free ride days. The flyer-based rides are budgeted with operating funds.

Sacramento, CA:  A lot of delays on the bus occur due to passenger behavior, such as taking a long time to find money to pay the fare, issues putting the dollar bills into the farebox, etc. A lot of that would be fixed if RT provided some incentive to get people to use the Connect Card. Some transit agencies (Muni in SF, for example) actually provide a discount for paying fare using electronic fare media. Any thoughts on doing that here in Sacramento?

Reply:  While the base fare price is the same for cash payment as it is for electronic fares, SacRT does provide incentives to users our electronic fare systems. For example, users of electronic fare systems receive unlimited free transfers for up to 90 minutes of travel on a single ride ticket. Connect Card users also receive the benefit of daily best fare, or fare capping, when riding throughout the day.

Granite Bay, CA:  What is the update with the Greenline expansion to Sac Airport? Any obstacles that citizens can help to overcome? It would also be nice to have a shuttle to the airport directly from Roseville.

Reply:  SacRT would need additional local funding to extend the Green Line to the airport. As I mentioned earlier, SacRT receives approximately five times less funding then many of our transit peers, making it difficult to add service and expand the system.

Sacramento, CA:  Would RT consider having bus service from Sunrise to Folsom on the intervals to bridge the gap and have 15 minute service to Folsom, until the double-tracking is done and 15 minute intervals can be accomplished with light rail only? Having that be a regularly operated service might also help in the event of system outages that would normally make there need to be a bus bridge on that section of the Gold Line (contingency plan).

Reply:  There will be a bus bridge between Iron Point and Historic Folsom stations during the active construction period when light rail trains are not able to operate. The bus bridge should be in place for approximately six months while crews work on the tracks near the Glenn/Robert G Holderness Station. The buses will travel between stations on a similar 30-minute frequency. Having the bus bridge start at Iron Point always Folsom residents to park and ride the train to and from downtown Sacramento without having to park at Sunrise Station.

Rancho Cordova, CA:  With regards to regular bus routes, does your preliminary fiscal year 2024 budget anticipate any major and/or minor bus service changes between July of this calendar year to June of next calendar year? I am hoping that some existing routes can return to their full pre-pandemic service levels, even if that means that areas like smart ride and community bus may have to take a budget haircut fairly soon. Thank you.

Reply:  There are no major service changes to regular bus or light rail service anticipated in the preliminary FY 2024 budget, with the exception of a new commuter bus service from Elk Grove to the UC Davis Medical Center, which is planned for September 2023. We are currently operating at approximately 98 percent pre-pandemic levels. We continuously monitor ridership and as that increases, we will look at returning service levels (commuter and other) that are still impacted.

Sacramento, CA:  Are there any updates on electronic signage at light rail stations? I am still seeing a ton of stations with broken or inaccurate signage, which I report in the app but it doesn't seem to make a difference.

Reply:  SacRT nearly 100 electronic signs deployed throughout the light rail system IT closely monitors issues and prepares a weekly report for internal stakeholders and prioritizes repair of signs at the busiest stations. SacRT is seeking grant applications to deploy more modern signs and is prepared to implement a replacement program as funding becomes available.

Sacramento, CA:  How is SacRT doing financially ? There are articles that many transit systems are running on heavy deficits and reduced ridership.

Reply:  In the short term (over the next two years) SacRT is in a strong financial position. We are maintaining our reserve goals and realizing surpluses each fiscal year. With the assistance of federal stimulus funding, we project balanced budgets without any reductions in service through the end of FY25. In February, Moody's Investors Service published a research report on the financial status of California's transit agencies. The report found that SacRT has an A2 financial rating, one of the most favorable outlooks of any agency.

Closing Remarks:
Thank you for your questions. The next session of Transit Talk with the General Manager/CEO will take place on Friday, May 5, 2023.