Transit Talk with the General Manager

February 02, 2024
Henry Li, General Manager/CEO
General Transit Questions
Opening Remarks:
Welcome to the February 2024 Transit Talk with me, SacRT’s General Manager/CEO, Henry Li. We have hit the ground running in 2024 with lots of exciting projects underway!

As always, we are looking for ways to improve our transit system to best serve our region. We are proposing 2024 service modifications for bus and light rail. These are now available for public review and comment until Friday, March 1, 2024. Read about the proposed modifications and learn how to comment by visiting

The Light Rail Modernization Project is well underway, with station platform modification work continuing into the spring. Please note that the next station platform work includes closures to Tiber Station between Monday, February 5 and Sunday, February 11, 2024. Be sure to visit prior to riding to see how this may impact your trip.

While the station platform construction is going on, our operations team is continuing to test our new trains during late night and overnight. This effort will get the new low-floor trains ready for service this summer!

Work is also underway for the passing track at the Glenn/Robert G. Holderness Station to provide 15-minute frequency to all Folsom area stations. Please remember that there is temporarily no light rail service between Iron Point and Historic Folsom stations. Shuttle buses will instead take passengers to and from Historic Folsom and Iron Point stations with stops at Glenn/Robert G. Holderness Station. We apologize for the current inconvenience, but look forward to being able to serve Folsom with 15-minute frequency and new low-floor light rail tarins this summer. Visit for details.

We are celebrating Transit Equity Day commemorating the legacy and birthday of civil rights icon Rosa Parks with systemwide FREE rides all day on Sunday, February 4, 2024. Additionally, we are also adding a “reserved for Rosa Parks” sign to one seat at the front of every bus. Free rides are offered on SacRT fixed-route bus and light rail. No free ride flyer is needed - simply board and enjoy a ride. Visit for more information.

With the Presidents’ Day holiday coming up this month, I wanted to share our schedule. Presidents’ Day is observed on Monday, February 19, 2024. Our fixed-route buses, light rail, SmaRT Ride and SacRT GO paratransit services, Rancho CordoVan and Folsom Stage Line will operate on a normal schedule. The following services will not operate on the holiday: Causeway Connection, Elk Grove Commuter, Elk Grove Local and SacRT e-van.

Changes are coming to SacRT’s Board of Directors meetings. Starting with the Monday, February 26, 2024 meeting, public comment will not be accepted virtually. If you would like to provide public comment, please attend the meeting in person (the meeting starts at 4 p.m. in the SacRT Auditorium) or submit written public comment in advance. The meetings will continue to be streamed on YouTube both live and available for replay after the meeting. To learn how to attend a SacRT Board meeting and submit comments, visit

Now let’s get to your questions!

Sacramento, CA:  There are still many Connect Card readers throughout the system that are broken. What is RT doing to prioritize these repairs? Has anyone thought about implementing a design that is more difficult to vandalize? For example in Portland (Oregon), the Hop (smart fare card) reader screens are tiny and you can use the contactless part to tap on even if the screen is scratched, etc.

Reply:  SacRT is researching options to minimize vandalism at our light rail stations including different devices and potentially expanding the opportunities for customers to pay on board the vehicles where vandalism rates are far lower. As for existing equipment we ask that customers please submit information through the Alert SacRT App in regards to vandalized equipment. Frequently the device screen may be broken, but internally the device is functioning which makes it difficult for remote monitoring equipment to detect.

Folsom, CA:  Hi Henry, with a new state building holding approximately 6,000 people off Richard and 7th. Will there be a change in times offered for both the green and gold lines? I start at 6 am and the connection to the green line from the gold line will make me late. And getting off at 2:30 or 3:30 would not work with the schedule. I would need to drive in. Thank you for your time.

Reply:  SacRT recently published our proposed service changes for 2024. We are continuing to look at ways to best serve the new state office building across from Township 9 Station. Learn more at

Orangevale, CA:  I had a question about the potential 2024 service modifications being circulated for public review and comment. I noticed that there are potential modifications to Route F-10 in Folsom, along with added trips to Route 1 to better connect to the Blue Line. I was hoping that Regional Transit would’ve considered closing what we call in Orangevale the “Greenback Gap” such that Route 1 would serve Greenback between Arcadia Drive in Citrus Heights to Historic Folsom Station via Greenback on a 30-minute frequency, and therefore completely eliminate “North-of-River” Loop in its entirety on Route F-10. The proposal continues to leave out any service west of Main Avenue and east of Arcadia Drive. I have seen on YouTube that Regional Transit has had speakers at board meetings address the same topic. When will the “Greenback Gap” be included in the service plan?

Reply:  Thanks for your comment. SacRT's Short Range Transit Plan does include a plan to extend Route 1 to (or through) Orangevale. This could be to Main & Madison or all the way to light rail at Historic Folsom. The estimated cost is over $1.2 million per year, however, so at this time, that improvement is not funded.

Sacramento, CA:  You might want to update your message boards at some of the light rail stations. They still read that the buses have been routed to the Power Inn station from 65th.

Reply:  Thank you, this should have been addressed this week, but I will double check with our IT Department.

Anteope, CA:  So, how are the trains doing that are being tested and when will the downtown stations 13th street, archives plaza, and 7th and capital be modified?

Reply:  SacRT has received 19 new low-floor light rail vehicles to date and are awaiting on the delivery of the 20th train. We are making progress and all vehicles are in different stages of the inspection and testing process. All vehicles are expected to be ready for service in summer 2024. The tentative schedule for station platform modifications for 13th Street is April, Archives Plaza is May, and 7th & Capitol is June pending weather. Learn more about the project at

Sacramento, CA:  How much longer is the late night bus bridge on the north Blue Line anticipated to last? On (the link that is sent out periodically on the Alert SacRT app), it says it will go until December 2023.

Reply:  That north Blue Line bus bridge will continue as SacRT continues to see the arrival of the new low-floor trains. This process may continue over the next couple of years as we continue to test new trains. We will take a look at updating that webpage, thank you.

Folsom, CA:  What's up with all the trains with 1 car?

Reply:  It is SacRT’s goal to operate two-car trains, one car trains are an often an exception. With our older fleet, the trains sometimes require more repairs or repairs that can take longer. We are experiencing part shortage issues and global shipping delays that are also impacting transportation, which recently caused the use of one car trains, but we expect that issue to be resolved next week.

Rancho Cordova, ca:  The tracks are pretty bad for light rail. Trains have been slowing down because problems are being addressed. When do we think about addressing track problems?

Reply:  Our Light Rail Wayside Department perform track inspections on all light rail tracks twice weekly after service hours. Track ties are being replaced as part of our State of Good Repair program.

Rancho Cordova, CA:  I was told months ago on an online chat that even though the Parkshore Dr grade crossing will remain single track, it will still recieve modifications. Are the modifications altering the crossing signals setup or are the modifications being software to function with the new nearby turnout to 2 tracks switch north of the crossing? I seen that Glenn Dr is being altered to fit the 2 track and realighnment.

Reply:  The modifications at Parkshore are related to the train pre-emption timing in order to minimize traffic impacts associated with the crossing gates in the 'down' position.

Rosemont, CA:  Will the new low-floor light rail vehicles include both tap-to-pay devices, like they do now, as well as “Connect Card” devices like the buses do? A great many of the “Connect Card” devices at the stations have been vandalized or turned off, making my ability to tap something I am unable to do prior to the train arriving in the station. I hope that this is being considered as I think, in large part, that this would reduce and/or eliminate vandalism of such devices in the future. Thank you.

Reply:  Our plan is to include tap to pay devices on board the new low-floor light rail vehicles over time. The existing equipment on Light Rail is part of a demonstration program with the California Integrated Travel Project (Cal-ITP). SacRT is in the process of expanding this system to our bus fleet and new light rail vehicles. SacRT has found that the hardware installed on-board the rail vehicles is vandalized less often and is researching ways to expand onboard payment options for light rail passengers.

Sacramento/Marisol Village, CA:  When can blue line riders anticipate service disruptions to normal service as a result of the soon-to-be constructed Dos Rios Light Rail Station? Will a small handful of bus routes in North Sacramento temporarily resort to 15-minute frequency that currently travel to and from Downtown Sacramento so as to lessen the effect a bit during the construction of the new station? We much need the station and appreciate the action that was taken back on January 8th, while also hoping that a temporary plan for robust bus service on Routes 15, 86, and 88 during construction would help ease the service disruptions caused by temporarily having to interrupt normal blue line service operations for the safety of the construction workers.

Reply:  SacRTwill be receiving construction bids in March and we are targeting breaking ground on the Dos Rios Station later this summer.

Sacramento, CA:  Is there any consideration to open the customer service center one or perhaps two weekend days per month, even on a pilot program, to serve passengers that otherwise are not available to make it over on a weekday? If I am not mistaken, some larger transit agencies within California have considered and/or implemented this already.

Reply:  Currently, there are no plans to have the Customer Service Sales Center open on weekends. We have done this before in the past (typically during our ticket exchange periods) and we have not seen a large enough amount of customers to justify the cost of opening for an additional day. However, we can certainly discuss trying out a pilot program in the future to gauge public interest in having weekend hours in the future.

Folsom, CA:  How much will the 30-minute to 15-minute service change impact be on Folsom Blvd traffic? Currently, the 30-minute Gold Line train appears to impact traffic on Folsom Blvd at each intersection due to the long duration it takes to cycle through the crossing gates. The traffic lights do not react until a significant amount of time has passed after the crossing gates have been down. In addition, the crossing gates do not lift as soon as the train has passed the intersection. Is this lapsed time a requirement?

Reply:  Part of the scope of the Folsom 15-Minute Light Rail Project is to adjust the train pre-emption timing in order to minimize traffic impacts associated with the crossing gates in the 'down' position.

Sacramento, CA:  Hello Mr. Li, I heard there's going to be a new bus route schedule coming soon. Do you have any updates on when to expect this? As you may have heard, Governor and Mayor are requiring State and City employees to return to downtown offices, which will be reliant upon the public transit system. How is the hiring for bus operators going, as there still seems to be a lot of bus cancelations? Thanks

Reply:  SacRT's next service changes will be in April 2024 and will have some small modifications to bus routes. SacRT is currently proposing some service modifications for 2024. They are available for public review and comment between now and March 1, 2024. You can find them at SacRT is continuing to hire and train new bus operators. We accept applications all the time, and also hold quarterly hiring events.

South Sacramento, CA:  I applaud the Regional Transit District for taking into consideration within the draft 2024 service plan, the willingness to have some short-line trips on Route 81 to operate the entire route length, especially when it factors in heavy student ridership. Has any thought been considered to expand Route 81 in its entirety to every fifteen minutes for the entire route on all trips, and not just provide the fifteen minute frequency exclusively on Florin Road? While there is definitely a financial cost to do this, it may actually make understanding of the route much less confusing and complicated, and actually simplify things for both the riders and staff.

Reply:  Thanks for your comment. Initially, we looked at going to 15-minute frequency on the entire line, at least on weekdays. This is a recommendation in SacRT's Short Range Transit Plan. The reason we didn't do that all day was the increase in operating cost was more than we can sustain over the next couple years. Instead, we looked at when ridership was the heaviest, and reduced the proposal to a schedule we could sustain financially and justify in terms of strong ridership, cost-effectiveness, and equity. We are hopeful this will help alleviate crowding we're experiencing on the route and attract new riders.

Sacramento, CA:  Would SacRT be interested in looking into bus only lanes on the J/L couplet on the grid?? The 30 and 38 are consistently late because of having to sit in traffic.

Reply:  SacRT's design guidelines recommend exclusive bus lanes when there is heavy congestion but only if there are at least 15 buses per hour, per direction. Otherwise, there can be public opposition to the lane closure and there is likely to be a lot of violation and enforcement difficulties. SacRT does not operate 15 buses per hour on any corridors right now, but on brief sections of J Street, when combined with Yolobus, Yuba-Sutter Transit, and some of the other regional providers, we do have the bus volumes to justify a bus lane, at least during peak hours. However, it is not an active project right now, simply due to other projects taking priority.

Sacramento, CA:  Has SacRT ever considered service along 15/16th St?? It seems like such a no-brainer but there's only commuter service and it doesn't go far up the couplet

Reply:  We considered downtown service on 15th and 16th Streets when we did systemwide restructurings in 2012 and 2019, however, we opted at those times to stick with our existing north/south corridors on 7th and 8th Street and on 19th and 21st Street. We are gearing up for a new post-pandemic restructuring, so this may be something we consider, given how much more activity there is on 16th Street. But it would take a lot of sidewalk improvements and changes to parking to get bus stops added.

Rancho Cordova, CA:  With the 29th/30th & R Street pedestrian crosswalk and traffic signalization project planned by the city at the end of this year, I heard that the city adding traffic signals to both intersection will result in the grade crossings cantilevers being replaced and the new crossing signals will be interconnected with the new traffic signals function. Will work on signaling interconnection cause a few days service disruption just like signaling work at Iron Point in January did?

Reply:  We've consulted with the City on design, but the construction plan and any traffic control plans are not yet known. We'll coordinate with our City partners and provide notice accordingly. Thank you!

Sacramento, CA:  Is there any word about a potential funding measure in 2026 for RT?

Reply:  There will not be a transportation funding measure on the 2024 ballot and it is too early to tell if one will be on the 2026 ballot. What is clear is that SacRT receives approximately five times less local funding than many of our west coast peer transit agencies. SacRT needs more local funding to improve bus frequency, expand coverage and to serve as matching funds for state and federal grant programs.

Sacramento, CA:  With so much new development springing up along Stockton Blvd and Broadway, is SacRT going to pursue converting the 51 to BRT faster? From what I understand we're still like 8 or 9 years away from even starting construction and it would be a huge boon for the neighborhood to get the ball rolling faster.

Reply:  SacRT in partnership with the city and county of Sacramento received a $5 million grant for Stockton Boulevard. The parties will be conducting an Alternatives Analysis of potential Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service and investments along the Corridor. The Project will also include Project Approval & Environmental Document work The goal will be to improve transit performance, including speed, reliability, ridership, and cost-effectiveness, improve safety and accessibility across all modes of transportation, adhere to community preferences, and support economic development in the Project Corridor. More to come soon.

Folsom, CA:  I have a clarification question to ask regarding the new low floor light rail vehicles. Based on the 2024 potential service modifications, did I read correctly that the first day of service is going to occur on Sunday, August 25th, or is that merely an assumption based solely on service change implementation only? Is it remotely possible that the new low-floor vehicles could roll out in July, but then under service schedules and timetables as it published for this month? Would you be able to provide some clarification on the first day of service for the new low-floor light rail vehicles at this point, or would the April or May monthly chat be a more prudent time to do this clarification? Thank you.

Reply:  We are planning launch the new Folsom-15 service this summer, but it depends on completion of work on track, stations, signaling, etc. At this point, we are simply authorizing initiation of the new service, with the final date to be determined.

Sacramento, CA:  Will bus service ever return to Folsom blvd in East Sacramento?

Reply:  There are no plans for bus service on Folsom Blvd in East Sacramento, due basically to redundancy with the Gold Line light rail.

Rancho Cordova, CA:  Greetings, I am a Kings partial season plan holder, and attend approximately ten or so games during the regular season. I would like to thank you for considering later evening light rail service that would seem to take effect in late August, shortly after the NBA released the 2024-2025 season schedule. We have always been asking for this ever since the opening of the Golden 1 Center, and perhaps will see the fruits of our advocacy efforts pay off, especially on Sundays, for next season, so thank you. On behalf of my household, I hope the plan gets a favorable outlook from those that have to decide on whether to implement it or not, and from my viewpoint, hopefully it does get implemented. You have my vote and thank you for proposing it in your 2024 service modification plan.

Reply:  Thank you for the comment! Go Kings!

Rancho Cordova, CA:  I love the outcome of the construction that took place last month to modify the Sunrise Station. Please send my congratulatory remarks to those that performed the work on the platform modifications. While I have taken notice that the Tiber Station is next up, I am curious to know within Rancho Cordova when the three remaining stations within city limits will have their turn on the calendar for platform modifications and if there is any consideration to funding and construction of a future Horn Road Station that would be located roughly across the street from the Rancho Cordova Library?

Reply:  SacRT completed Horn Road Light Rail Station environmental document in summer 2023. In 2024, SacRT intends to apply for competitive funding for the design phase and will seek construction funding the following year. As the project develops, the community will be provided updates on timeline and engaged to offer feedback on design components.

Sacramento, CA:  Yesterday the Florin Towne Center-bound bus #51 left its origin bus stop at 7th and F St 7 minutes early (departure time per timetable 12:22/actual departure time 12:15) and also didn't wait at the Broadway and Riverside timepoint until 12:34 (passed the stop at 12:27). It used to be that SacRT bus drivers always stopped at timepoints but increasingly I have noticed that especially if there aren't many people on the bus, they don't. With the limited frequencies on many routes, not passing by timepoints early is really important. What are you doing to ensure drivers are aware of timepoints and actually following them?

Reply:  We take punctuality and adherence to timepoints seriously. Our Radio Controllers monitor real-time tracking for buses to ensure they are not leaving timepoints early. Additionally, our Road Supervisors perform time checks in the field to ensure drivers are following the schedule. We are committed to addressing this issue and ensuring that our drivers are aware of and adhere to timepoints to maintain reliable service. If you have an issue in the future please contact our Customer Satisfaction Department to report it, so it can be shared with Bus Operations.

Sacramento, CA:  Why is there no bus service for Alhambra blvd? Surely the 38, 67, or 68 could fill this gap, no?

Reply:  Routes 67 and 68 run on 29th and 30th Street, one and two blocks away. The light rail station at 29th Street is a key transfer point, so 29th and 30th Street work well for a safe and speedy route through midtown. Keep in mind, that routes 67 and 68 are very long routes going from Arden Fair Mall to Cosumnes River College, so we want to keep end-to-end times reasonable for riders making longer-distance trips.

Sacramento, CA:  What is the latest update on trip cancellations and, related to that, hiring of vehicle operators as a result of January hiring events? Does Regional Transit feel comfortable at this stage that there have been enough operators hired and trained to completely eliminate trip cancellations and go forward with potential service modifications for late Summer 2024?

Reply:  SacRT’s percent of trips completed for January 2024 is 98.4% and the trip cancellation rate was 1.6%. Bus Operations Management and Supervisors/Dispatchers continue to work tirelessly to respond quickly to cover shifts to avoid and/or reduce trip cancellations. Also, we are continuously recruiting and training Bus Operators to improve our service reliability. We recently graduated five Bus Operators and have another class scheduled to graduate at the end of February, which will further reduce cancellations. The January hiring events were a success as we received a high number of applications and will work quickly to process and onboard. It is SacRT’s goal to have enough operators hired and trained by Summer 2024 to fully support our upcoming service modifications.

Northeast sac, CA:  So, when will the 2800 series of buses be replaced as well as 2601 through 2605?

Reply:  The 2800 buses were retanked in 2023 and will continue in service for four years. The 2600 series buses were retanked in 2022, so they will continue in service as well.

Closing Remarks:
Thank you for your questions. The next session of Transit Talk with the General Manager/CEO will take place on Friday, March 1, 2024.