Transit Talk with the General Manager

December 01, 2023
Henry Li, General Manager/CEO
General Transit Questions
Opening Remarks:
Welcome to the December edition of Transit Talk Online Chat! As the year comes to an end, it is a great time for SacRT to reflect on how far we have come and what is ahead.

One major project this year has been the Light Rail Modernization Project. We continue to work on modifying stations along the Gold Line to meet the height requirements of the new low-floor trains. This work will continue through summer of 2024. Visit to see if and/or when the Gold Line station you use is impacted.

On January 2, 2024, construction will begin to add a passing track along the Gold Line at the Glenn/Robert G. Holderness Station which will allow for 15-minute light rail service to all Folsom area stations including Hazel, Iron Point, Glenn/Robert G. Holderness and Historic Folsom. During construction, there will be no light rail service between Iron Point Station and Historic Folsom Station. SacRT will provide supplemental shuttle bus service for customers that need to travel to Folsom stations. Light rail service will be available at Iron Point Station for travel to and from downtown Sacramento.

The SacRT holiday bus began today, Friday, December 1. The holiday themed 40-foot bus travels on different routes daily throughout the region until January 2, 2024. To thank our riders, the SacRT Holiday Bus is FREE to ride. Check out the schedule at

The University/65th Street transit center is expected to reopen by mid-December. Pending final inspection and approval by the City of Sacramento, all five impacted bus routes (26, 38, 81, 82 and 87) will return to service at the University/65th Street transit center from the temporary location at the Power Inn Station. There is no exact date for reopening at this time, so please check to stay up to date.

If you plan on riding on one of the upcoming holidays, please check SacRT's schedules first. For Christmas Day (Monday, December 25, 2023) and New Years Day (January 1, 2024), SacRT fixed-route bus and light rail will operate on a Sunday/holiday schedule. The following service will not operate on these days: Causeway Connection, Elk Grove Local, Elk Grove Commuter, Folsom Stage Line, Rancho CordoVan, SacRT e-van and SmaRT Ride.

Are you looking for a new career? SacRT is hiring! You're invited to attend one of our hiring events in December. The first is Tuesday, December 5, 2023 from 2 p.m. - 7 p.m. and the second is Thursday, December 14, 2023 from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Both events are at the SacRT Auditorium located at 1400 29th?Street, Sacramento. Learn more at

Also, if you're looking for some holiday fun, check out the great events going on in Downtown Sacramento including the Downtown Sacramento Ice Rink and the historic Old Sacramento Waterfront, Theatre of Lights. SacRT is a great way to get to these events and avoid the parking hassle. You can even save $2 on admission to the ice rink by showing your same day SacRT ticket or pass!

Now let's get to your questions for the final Transit Talk of 2023!

Elk Grove , CA:  So, I’m curious since I’ve seen newer buses beyond 2229. What is the newest bus of this fleet. The highest I’ve seen so far is bus 2261.

Reply:  Albert?

Sacramento, CA:  Congrats on the groundbreaking for the double track plan for Folsom, that will provide greater frequency for those traveling south and west on our network. Why don’t we have regular bus service from Folsom to points north and west connecting to our network? Why can’t we go from the end of the old line to the end of the blue line? The 1 route almost does this but stops at Sunrise transit center - why not finish the 1 route at Historic Folsom station?

Reply:  Greater service from Folsom going west is on our planning list. We've also discussed the possibility of service going north to Roseville. But Folsom also needs greater service just within the city, as well as in the south of the highway 50 area. So there are a lot of needs in Folsom, but like everywhere else, dollars are limited. We are improving frequency on light rail to every 15 minutes next summer, which will be a major investment in transit to and from Folsom. We also have plans to potentially add weekend bus service in Folsom. Stay tuned for more information on that, potentially within the next month.

Sacramento, CA:  I know there is a debate on how to replace our busses - all electric or hydrogen or a hybrid of some sort. Tough choice. Is there any debate on what type of busses to add to the mix - should we obtain longer articulated busses,? maybe busses with doors on both sides to use before a new train line is used? How about busses with doors on the left to utilize bus stops in The median of our routes? Maybe “cargo busses” for bicycles, carts, strollers, luggage? What is the future of our bus system so we can obtain those types of busses at this time of upgrades?

Reply:  Thank you for your interesting question. Implying the need for different buses that service different needs, is spot on! SacRT will be undertaking a comprehensive operational analysis (COA) in the next year. This effort will look at the types of services provided, consider new models, and recommend service and fleet adjustments; including lower ridership routes (smaller 30 foot buses) and long-haul routes (over the road coaches). As you know, one size does not fit all and to ensure that we are providing exceptional service, we need to have the right vehicle for the right service. Our forthcoming Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) routes are still in the early planning stages, with substantial amounts of analysis still required before a preferred type of bus will be used. As you mentioned, a bus with dual-side boarding can be beneficial for BRT and will be considered. As we advance our plans for the future of SacRT transit service, the size and type of our fleet will be at the forefront of our consideration and recommendations.

Antelope, CA:  Hey Henry. So where will the new trams be doing their burn in testing at?

Reply:  We are going to begin the final phase of testing on the first new low-floor light rail train very soon. In the final phase of testing, called burn-in testing, each train needs on-track operation for a minimum of 1,000 miles without specific failures. Stay tuned for more information about this testing process coming out soon.

Folsom, CA:  I had read somewhere that the long awaited and anticipated construction from Iron Point to Historic Folsom beings on January 2nd. Is that estimated to last through July, yet be available and open again for the start of the 2023-2024 school year that will likely being sometime in August?

Reply:  Yes, we are beginning to share information on the construction project for the Folsom 15-Minute Light Rail Service Project. Construction will begin on January 2, 2024 and will last last at least 6.5 months. Rain could delay the project a bit. SacRT will have shuttle buses available between Historic Folsom and Iron Point stations during the construction. Learn more about the project and timeline at

Rancho Cordova, CA:  When will connect card readers be made available inside the trains, and on the flip side, when does RT estimate that the tap to pay readers that are currently in the trains be available as a payment option on the bus?

Reply:  SacRT is planning to release an Request for Proposals (RFP) in the near future that will provide passengers with a state of the art fare payment system on both Light Rail vehicles and Buses (including SacRT GO). This system will provide updates to both ZipPass and Connect Card. The tap to pay readers will be used as the payment acceptance terminal for all credit/debit card payments, mobile app ticket verification and smart card taps. Dates are not yet set in stone for the new fare system, but expect an update in early in 2024.

Sacramento, CA:  I had the opportunity to watch the last RT Board Meeting on the agency YouTube Channel. I am now a bit curious as to what is being considered for Routes 11, 33, and 142. Would you be able to share, here, some preliminary information based on the board’s action and direction to staff, even if it is in the very early and preliminary stages of that action just happening a couple or so weeks ago? Thank you.

Reply:  Since the Board meeting on November 13, staff has been working with the community partners to develop potential improvements to Routes 11 and 33 as an alternative project submission to the Strategic Growth Council. In discussions with River District residents and transit riders, Route 142 did not emerge with as much relevancy, but we think some significant improvements could be made to Route 11 and especially to Route 33, including evening and weekend service on Route 33.

Sacramento, CA:  What does the construction schedule look like in 2024 with regards to Blue Line Station modifications to raise the platform heights to comply with the anticipated start of service of the new low floor light rail vehicles? I appreciate much focus on the Gold Line in and to close 2023. Will 2024 mark the start of construction for stations along the Blue Line? Thank you for all you do. It is much appreciated.

Reply:  Thank you for your question. We will begin Blue Line station platform modifications in fall 2024. We need to complete the Gold Line stations before starting on the Blue Line. More information on the timeline will be shared on on project webpage at

Citrus Heights, CA:  My family and I appreciate the efforts the district has done in implementing a handful of fare-free days. It has made a huge difference in some of our household financial decisions. Do you anticipate that there will be a handful of these type of days happening throughout 2024, while also perhaps addressing a variety of subtopics to the existing fare structure like simplifying the fare structure for riders that don’t fall into a fare-free category? Thank you.

Reply:  I'm glad to hear that you and your family has taken advantages of our systemwide free ride days. SacRT will continue to offer fare-free days in 2024, but the exact dates have not yet been determined. As for SacRT's fare structure we are not planning any changes at this time, but we are always looking to enhance accessibility to our system. SacRT is working to procure a state of the art Account Based Ticketing system that may provide new opportunities for fare for passengers.

Davis, CA:  Happy Holidays Henry and everyone on staff at SacRT. I use the Causeway Connection, along with a variety of transit services like YoloBus, SacRT, Capitol Corridor, and the BART connection at Richmond Station. So yes, I am a busy transit user. I have an interesting question for you all. BART recently made a major decision to eliminate paper tickets as a result of the anticipation of new fare gates being installed in their route network throughout the next two to three years. Beginning today, in fact, they are “Clipper Card Only” for fare payment. Does SacRT and other transit providers in the Sacramento region anticipate to go “Connect Card Only” and eliminate paper tickets, especially at light rail stations, and in the wake of this fairly recent BART decision that will impact many throughout Northern California? I appreciate if you did, and in the meantime look forward to your answer to my question and its impacts to transit service providers in the Sacramento Region.

Reply:  Great question and I just answered a similar question about our system's fare option plan. SacRT is planning to release a Request for Proposal (RFP) in the near future that will provide passengers with a state of the art fare payment system on both our Light Rail vehicles and Buses (including SacRT GO). This system will provide updates to both ZipPass and Connect Card. The tap to pay readers will be used as the payment acceptance terminal for all credit/debit card payments, mobile app ticket verification and smart card taps. Dates are not yet set in stone for the new fare system, but expect to hear and see more early in 2024 regarding the updates.

Sacramento, CA:  What service changes on the bus side of operations is the district looking at putting into implementation in 2024? With much of the news being about the Gold Line and its service plan alone, that looks pretty exciting for the upcoming calendar year. Would you be able to, here in the chat, answer and address what exciting stuff is being planned and considered for implementation for bus service in the upcoming calendar year, as that, in my estimation, plays a huge role towards maintaining and increasing ridership? Thank you for your consideration.

Reply:  Thanks for your question. We’re still developing our draft service plan for 2024, we are working to get it out for a 30-day public review soon. In addition to the Gold Line improvements, we are working on complementary improvements to the Folsom bus network, as well as some minor improvements to other bus routes, mostly additional evening hours on major routes, to continue our push to make SacRT a convenient, reliable, seven-day a week transit system. Funding is expected to be tight for transit over the next couple years, so we are being careful about adding additional service, but our staff has been hard at work on low-cost improvements. If approved, we beleive bus service could be implemented within six months.

North Natoma , CA:  So, I’m curious since I’ve seen newer buses beyond 2229. What is the newest bus of this fleet? The highest I’ve seen so far is bus 2261.

Reply:  The highest new bus number being used for SacRT service is 2263. We have new buses that will be used for Elk Grove service, which aren't on the system yet, but those bus numbers go up 2271.

Citrus Heights 95610, Ca:  So now as 2023 ends, that means you'll soon retire the SacRT 50th Year Anniversary logo. Therefore, when will we get a chance to see new logos? Will SacRT choose the next logo, or will you hold an election for it?

Reply:  We are keeping the 50th Anniversary logo through March 2024, as we started our 50th anniversary celebration on April 1, 2023. We will have more information coming out soon on the rebranding for 2024.

Closing Remarks:
Thank you for your questions. The next session of Transit Talk with the General Manager/CEO will take place on Friday, February 2, 2024.