Transit Talk with the General Manager

April 05, 2024
Henry Li, General Manager/CEO
General Transit Questions
Opening Remarks:
Welcome to the April Transit Talk Online Chat!

This month marks the end of our year-long celebration of our 50th anniversary! We enjoyed celebrating this milestone with riders throughout the year. As we start our 51st year of service, we are excited to showcase our brand-new logo! Riders will notice the new logo being rolled out on our electronic and digital platforms. SacRT will update items such as signage, vehicle paint designs, employee uniforms and other supplies as needed to reduce costs associated with the transition.

We are continuing to prepare for the start of new low-floor train service this summer. An additional nine new low-floor trains were recently ordered from Siemens Mobility. This order builds on the previous order of 36, bringing the total number of trains ordered to 45. SacRT’s contract with Siemens is for the purchase of up to 76 new low-floor trains. As new low-floor trains are delivered to SacRT’s light rail facility, they go through rigorous testing to prepare them for passenger service. This testing is done outside of SacRT’s light rail service hours. Learn more about this process at

To prepare for these new low-floor trains, SacRT is charging ahead with construction on the station platforms. The existing platforms must be raised to get ready for the new train service. Work continues on the Gold Line stations, then will move to the Blue Line this summer. Currently, work is underway on the Mather Field/Mills Station through Sunday, April 7. Today, Friday, April 5, the inbound side of the station platform is closed. This Saturday and Sunday, a bus bridge will be in place between Butterfield and Sunrise stations. The next stations to be modified are 7th & Capitol and 13th Street, with work expected to take place later this month into next. Visit for the latest construction information.

On Saturday, April 27 and Sunday, April 28, there will be a planned service disruption on the Blue Line due to SMUD construction. A bus bridge will be in place between Cosumnes River College and Meadowview stations between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. both days.

Earth Day is Monday, April 22! SacRT will be celebrating by offering systemwide free rides all day! Enjoy free rides on light rail, fixed-route bus and SmaRT Ride. SacRT GO paratransit services are also available for free for qualifying individuals with an advance reservation. No flyer is needed, just board and enjoy the ride! You can also enjoy free rides from SacRT to get you to Earth Day events during the weekend. Visit for more information.

Rider Reminder! This Sunday, April 7, service modifications will go into effect on bus routes 19, 86, 88 and 137. These minor adjustments will make slight adjustments to trip times to improve travel for riders. Additionally, two additional afternoon trips will be added on Route 137 for commuters traveling between the UC Davis Medical Center and Elk Grove. To learn more about these changes, visit

Are you affiliated with a business who is interested in working with SacRT? To learn more about government contracting, the Sacramento Public Agency Consortium (SacPac) is hosting a free webinar on government contracting and SacRT will be participating. The event will be held on Thursday, April 11 from 9 a.m. 10:30 a.m. Registration is available at

On a final note, get ready to dust off that bike and pump up the tires—May is Bike Month is right around the corner. Biking and public transit make a perfect pair. We hope you will consider some ways to integrate biking into your commute with SacRT.

Now let’s get to your questions!

Sacramento , CA:  What’s going to happen to the ex vta cars?

Reply:  The District has chosen to retire the UTDC light rail vehicles (formerly VTA light rail cars). We are laser focused on modernizing our light rail system, which includes new low floor light rail vehicles. To date, the district has purchased 45 new low floor vehicles.

Sacramento, CA:  With the breaking news from Thursday that Major League Baseball is coming to West Sacramento, will the Sacramento Regional Transit District, Yolo Transportation District, and the parties involved in Thursday’s press conference to make that happen for at least the 2025, 2026, and 2027 MLB seasons, be holding a meeting in the coming weeks about transportation circulation, frequency of service on game days, and costs associated with providing and marketing such services. I know it’s still roughly eleven months away, but hopefully the sooner, the better the transportation product will be. Thank you for considering this.

Reply:  Thank you for the question and it is exciting that the A's will be playing their home games at Sutter Health Park next year. We will coordinate with the cities and our partners on how the games can best be served by public transit.

Sacramento , CA:  Thanks for the work you have done, when will the old streetcar be taken for events again? Also will you preserve at least one U2A like San Diego trolly does ?

Reply:  The Old Street car is no longer compatible with our overhead catenary system in the downtown areas. We're not certain if we're going to preserve any legacy fleet cars like the U2A.

West Sacramento, CA:  When will we see more of the SacRT brand refresh? As a fellow graphic designer, I would love to see the brand guidelines!

Reply:  Thank you for the positive feedback on the new design. To keep cost down, we are planning a phased roll out of the new branding. As part of the roll out, we will providing a public brand guide that will be available on our website. We are also planning to roll out a new and improved website within the next month or so that will reflect the full logo and branding designs - keep an eye out for it!

Sacramento , CA:  Hello Mr Li, I am a 16 year old who really wants to become a light rail operator, could you please tel me what steps to take going forward to become one? There isn’t much information on that job in general. Also thank you so much for the ryde for free.

Reply:  It is great to hear that you are interested in becoming a light rail operator! We do not have a specific job category for light rail operators. All operators for bus and light rail have the opportunity to bid on shifts based on seniority. It is likely that operators will start out as bus operators, then when a light rail shift becomes available they can put in for that spot. Here is the job description with details on what it takes to become a SacRT operator: We are glad you enjoy the RydeFreeRT program, thanks for riding!

Sacramento , CA:  Why do some trains end at 8&k???

Reply:  In-service trains don't end at 8th & K, but trains that are pulling into the yard to go out of service will stop at 9th & K.

Sacramento , CA:  Can all the apps be merged into 1? Why does there need to be 3???

Reply:  SacRT is in the process of consolidating our apps into one mobile application for better customer experience. The new app will include trip planning, fare integration and a safety and security reporting option similar to Alert SacRT. We are in the Procurement process now and hope to launch it by fall of this year.

Sacramento, CA:  If you are going to go through the trouble of changing the logo why not display the big one on your website? The one with Sacramento and the established date?

Reply:  For aesthetic purposes, we opted to use a more simple logo on the website.

Folsom, CA:  Could you provide a construction update on the construction of the passing track? The project started back in January and is now three months of work. How much work is estimated left to do, and do you foresee, including weather delays, a reopening of the Glenn Station and Sutter Station on or prior to Sunday, August 25th? I specifically use the August 25th date since that is the date the 2024 bus service improvements take effect.

Reply:  We are very excited about the passing track that will allow for 15 minute service frequency on the last seven miles of the Gold Line, The construction for the Folsom 15 minute service passing track is scheduled for six months, and are expected to be completed this summer. Details about construction and closures can be found at

Sacramento, CA:  What is the timeline to getting the ramp redone at Sacramento Valley Station for arriving trains?

Reply:  We are hoping for this work to be completed in the next 3 months.

Sacramento, CA:  Will there be RT bus & train services to West Sacramento - Sutter Health Park when the Athletics baseball team arrives next year?

Reply:  As I shared in an earlier response, it is a bit premature to know what transit service will be provided. We are excited about the potential opportunity to serve the games. Related, we will soon be taking a Board item that will allow for SacRT's Downtown SmaRT Ride Zone to drop off at certain locations in the Bridge District of West Sacramento.

Sacramento , CA:  Can the 51 go to CRC, even if it doesn’t make any stops past it’s current terminus ?

Reply:  Route 51 has a terminus at the Florin Towne Transit Center. A connection to Route 68 will take you to CRC.

Sacramento , CA:  On most of the South Sacramento part of the blue line, CRC trains share both platforms, so why does the operator not open both doors when applicable? Also can there be more seats at stations?

Reply:  With the possibility of an opposing train entering the station it is not a safe practice. Stations are designed through engineering and planning with aesthetics and other elements taken into consideration.

Antelope, CA:  Hey Henry Li. When will 8th &H and 7th and I be modified for the s700s?

Reply:  8th and H does not need modifications since the platform is already built to accommodate the S700 trains. 7th and I were modified last year.

Sacramento , CA:  Why are there no 3+ car trains on peak hours? Also will the new ones be run in sets of 1,2, or 3?

Reply:  SacRT operations adjust train consists depending on demand, to allow for reliability and maintenance of our system. The new low-floor trains will have operate in a 3 car consist at maximum.

North Antelope, CA:  When will the five 2006 buses be retired and replaced with Gillig buses?

Reply:  Those vehicles have had tank replacements. There is a minimum of four years after retanking, before they can be retired. That would be 2026.

Sacramento, CA:  In addition to the schedule changes going into effect later this year on the Gold Line, on both weekdays and weekends, will the Blue Line also have schedule changes on weekdays and weekends, or will any Blue Line schedule changes have to wait until at least 2025 at the soonest?

Reply:  At this time, there are no changes planned for the Blue Line. SacRT will be embarking on a comprehensive operational analysis later this year, that will help guide future service changes.

Sacramento, CA:  The Oakland A's announced yesterday that they will play baseball at Sutter Health Park in West Sac for three season starting next year. Does SacRT have any plans to move forward with the streetcar line running from Sutter Health Park to downtown Sac? Seems like it would be a great benefit to all those baseballs fans.

Reply:  SacRT assumed ownership of the streetcar project just over a year ago. We are will be finalizing the the environmental and design documents for the project thus year and will be seeking FTA grant approval in the near future.

Sacramento, CA:  I am an occasional user of transit, but I had two negative experiences the last two times I rode SacRT. The most recent time (Sun, March 24) I was trying to catch the train from Folsom back to Sacramento around 4:30/5pm. I used Google Maps on my phone to plan my route. It said to take the Gold train, and that two trains were to be leaving in 15 or 45 mins. I took my time in Folsom, planning for the 45-min departure. When I was getting to Folsom train station, I noticed a bus pull away. Turned out that the bus was a shuttle bus operating the scheduled train service since there was construction on the tracks. The signage at the train station was inadequate to indicate that there was no service. I ended up waiting about 45 minutes to get the next bus. There was no temporary stop ID indicated so that I could look up when the next bus would be. Customer service was closed when I called. The other time a similar issue happened was Sun Feb 3, catching the Gold from Hazel to downtown Sac around 11:30am. Both the overhead marquee sign and Google said it was coming in 20 then 10 then 5 then zero minutes, and then back to 30 mins, and the train never showed up at the predicted time. I waited with another passenger who didn’t usually take the train for over 45 minutes. Obviously, there was a cancellation, but this information did not make it into Google Maps nor onto the platform digital sign. This is a major failure of the system. 1) Your information should be available on Google Maps. 2) It should be accurate and real-time. 3) Your service delivery KPIs should capture customer experience, and a key piece of customer experience prediction accuracy. 4) Temporary stops should clearly indicate the arrival times, provide a stop ID. 5) Service alerts—including cancellations, detours and service disruptions—should be in Google Maps. I had to dig through your website to find the disruption, and the information was not helpful enough for passengers to plan their trip. So this experience leaves me with several questions: First, do you share your real-time GTFS data with Google (i.e.: )? And if not, why not? If so, what checks do you have in place to ensure its accuracy and functionality? What is your expectation of riders who use multiple modes of transportation to plan a trip and receive updates and service alerts? What are your plans to improve GTFS-RT integration with third-party apps? Second, what kinds of efforts are you doing to ensure and improve prediction accuracy? What system do you currently use? Have you looked into vendors like Swiftly, who integrate detours into their prediction times? Third, what are your KPIs for customer satisfaction? How do you account for prediction accuracy in measuring customer satisfaction? The issue has been brought up a few times in the GM Chats, but I don’t think it’s been tackled comprehensively.

Reply:  We apologize for the negative experience. As you figured out, a bus bridge is currently in place between the Iron Point and Historic Folsom stations due to construction for the Folsom 15 project through summer 2024. SacRT is building a passing track along the line to allow for 15-minute service frequency to Folsom (currently only 30-minute service at stations past Sunrise). The construction began January 2, 2024 and the bus bridge has been in place since that time. There is signage located throughout the impacted stations to alert riders about no light rail service. Large a-frame signs and decals have been placed at the station to let riders know about the service disruption, and the electronic message signs at the station also reflect this info. This information has also been included in a variety of our communication channels including the website, social media, email blasts, passenger newsletters, app notifications, flyer handouts at the station to riders and park-and-ride vehicles, etc. However, with that said, it’s not always easy to predict where a person will stand or if they will see the signs. The bus bridge is in place to provide service during the light rail disruption. We try to match train times as closely as possible, but this is not always possible due to road conditions. Google and other third-party apps do not provide real-time info about light rail at this time. We highly recommend that riders download the Alert SacRTapp to stay up to date on light rail service while we work on adding the Real-Time Train Tracker option in the coming months.

Sacramento, CA:  With regards to blue line station platform modifications, it was brought to my attention that current funding levels are not adequate to modify every station at this time. My question then is, does the district have a top list of approximately a half-dozen stations in priority order that they want to do over and above other stations, and which are the stations that will get priority starting later this year and/or into early next year?

Reply:  In order to operate the new low-floor cars on the Blue Line, we will need to make station platform modifications are complete on the entirety of the line. We are actively pursuing grant funding to move forward. We will begin modifying stations on the North East corridor of the Blue Line later this year.

Closing Remarks:
Thank you for your questions. The next GM Chat will be Friday, May 3, 2024.