Transit Talk with the General Manager

November 04, 2011
RoseMary Covington, Assistant GM of Planning
TransitRenewal and General Transit Questions
Opening Remarks:
RoseMary Covington, Assistant General Manager of Planning and Transit System Development for RT, will guest host Transit Talk with the General Manager today from noon to 1 p.m. The system is accepting questions now through the end of the chat.

Comments from RoseMary Covington: 

Good afternoon and thank you for joining me for the November session of Transit Talk. My name is RoseMary Covington and I serve as the Assistant General Manager of Planning and System Development here at RT and will be your guest host today.

My responsibilities at RT include managing short and long-range planning, major project planning, transit-oriented development, real estate, accessible services and customer advocacy.

As you may be aware, RT is currently conducting a comprehensive operational analysis that we refer to as Transit Renewal, which will help prioritize transit service and improvements over the next five years.

Thousands of people have provided valuable information for this study by taking the TransitRenewal survey, attending stakeholder meetings and providing additional input directly to RT staff. I would like to thank everyone for their engagement in this process and would be happy to address any questions on this topic today.

I'm also happy to announce that on Tuesday, November 7 at 2 p.m., RT and Cosumnes River College (CRC) will hold a ceremonial groundbreaking to celebrate the start of construction on the parking structure located at the future terminus of the Blue Line to CRC light rail extension.

The event will feature a brief ceremony and remarks by elected officials and local leaders, followed by light refreshments.

The construction, operation and maintenance of the 2,000 space parking garage is funded through a partnership between RT and the Los Rios Community College District.

I hope you will have the opportunity to attend the event to help us celebrate this major milestone.

Let's start today's chat.

Sacramento, CA:  I am 75 yrs old and have been riding RT buses for 27 years, but when the bus is packed with kids I usually have to stand until they get off the bus.Could RT require bus drivers not to move the bus when seniors or disabled are standing due to the refusal of passengers to surrender the designated seats?

Reply:  Our policy is to request passengers to move from seating designated for disabled passengers. We do not move the vehicle if a passenger in a wheelchair is not properly secured. Unfortunately, federal law does not allow us to insist that passengers move, we can only make the request.

North Natomas, CA:  Will North Natomas be recieving extended service at least before 2013 I know that service can't be enhanced at the time being, but a timeline at a possible service increase would help

Reply:  As you may know, we at RT are presently engaged in a process to reorganize the route network to better provide service. All service is being considered through this process. The recommendations are currently being developed. Look for draft recommendations from our TransitRenewal project at the December 12, 2011 Board meeting. We plan a broad outreach during January to review the recommendations with the public

Sacramento, CA:  Why Does the busiest station (16th street) not have more police presence?

Reply:  The station has a guard posted week days during the peak service hours. Police Officers roam the system and are dispatched as events require. The station also equipped with cameras used to observe the station from our video control center. The control center staff dispatches officers when they observe a problem or upon request by the guard.

Sacramento, CA:  When will the blue line extension to CRC have the funding needed to begin construction?

Reply:  At present, we are awaiting approval from the Federal government to complete engineering on the project. We expect to receive that approval within the next several months and will begin construction shortly after. However, we have received authorization to begin construction on the parking garage to serve the Blue Line. The groundbreaking will occur on November 7, 2011 at 2 p.m. at the Cosumnes River College East Entrance.

South Sacramento, CA:  Since there would be major service changes coming, can you give us a early look at what the changes RT is considering, especially in South Sacramento?

Reply:  Without jumping to conclusions, one of the things we're really hoping to do is increase the frequency of buses on some of our busiest routes in South Sacramento.

Sacramento, CA:  When are the Neighborhood Ride Buses coming back? Those we're so much appreciated by alot of people... Elderly, school kids, college students, etc.. Plus, it was cost effective! Now, its longer to get to school & work!! Plz Bring Them Back.

Reply:  Not all of the Neighborhood Ride buses are gone. Route 16 (Del Paso Heights), Route 33 (Dos Rios), and Route 47 (Phoenix Park) are still operating everyday. However, it is true that we did eliminate a number of other Neighborhood Ride routes. When we lost most of our state funding in 2010, we unfortunately had to cut a lot of service, and we tried to focus on maintaining our core routes. While some of the Neighborhood Ride routes were quite popular, the ridership just wasn't there to justify continued operation, even with the reduced cost of the smaller vehicles.

CA:  Will RT trains ever go up into Roseville and Lincoln

Reply:  RT has approached Roseville a number of times about extending light rail to Roseville and Placer County. Roseville has not expressed any interest in assisting with an extension to Roseville. When this changes, RT staff will work with the city to plan an extension. This extension is in RT's long range plan, but will not be possible until there is support in Roseville and Placer County for the project.

Sacramento, CA:  Has RT looked into ways to possibly fund the TransitAction Plan that was released last year?

Reply:  RT is looking into ways to fund the Transit Action Plan, which will include a much needed additional funding source to enable us to fund the Capital Projects and also operate the Capital projects in the TransitAction Plan. RT is currently looking into future potential revenue sources, to determine which ones are best to reach our TransitAction goals.

Sacramento, CA:  With the busses running at low frequency, is there a plan to reschedule them to provide a timed transfer system like we had before the rest/meal break requirement. There are many busses that pulse out of the light rail station a minute before the train arrives.

Reply:  This is something we are constantly working on through our TransitRenewal work. If you have any specific connections that seem poorly timed, please forward them to Customer Advocacy at 557-4545 or Our Scheduling Department will investigate the suggestion and see if the schedule can be adjusted in an upcoming revision without worsening schedule reliability or connections anywhere else.

sacramento, CA:  Hi- I don't know if any comment is possible but I was wondering-certain assumptions are built into say 5 yr. future plans: in your mandate how flexible can planning be if mid-stream those assumptions are determined to be unrealistic in a very changed economic environment? thanks..

Reply:  Our plans are continually reviewed and revised to reflect changes in economic conditions, population and employment changes.

Sacramento, CA:  When will the TransitRenewal Survey be closed and how many people who filled it out will be chosen to win a free monthly pass?

Reply:  We are continuing to request responses to the TransitRenewal Survey and will do so until we are completed with recommendations for the new transit network. We have over 3000 responses to date. Please continue to encourage your family and friends to take the survey. We will not conduct the drawings until after the survey is closed, possibly in late December or January.

Sacramento, CA:  Is RT hiring?

Reply:  We are now recruiting for bus operators. Please look at the RT website for more information:

Sacramento, CA:  What are some of the most enlightening facts you have learned about RT service through the TransitRenewal study?

Reply:  One thing I was pleased to hear was that ridership on our light rail system is outstanding for a city and system of this size. Another interesting fact is that light rail and our top seven bus routes account for 70 percent of our riders, which means that any improvements we can make to these routes will have a substantial impact on our riding population. Please check RT's website for more information and interesting facts on TransitRenewal:

Sacramento, CA:  I understand that construction for a parking structure will begin soon at Cosumnes River College, which will serve as a park-and-ride for the planned Blue Line extension. Is funding for the parking structure separate from the actual light rail extension project?

Reply:  The funding for this project is a result of a partnership between Los Rios Community District and RT funding sources.

CA:  Is RT still planning to provide some kind of limited stop service on the Gold Line or is it on hold to due budget constraints?

Reply:  We are working on the design changes for implementing limited stop. The project is funded from funds provided by the state. When the design is complete, we will publish a schedule for construction and operation.

Sacramento, CA:  What is the status of the upcoming Green Line?

Reply:  The Green Line to the River District is scheduled to begin operation early in 2012. The Green Line to the Airport is still being planned and engineered.

Sacramento, CA:  I find it confusing that RT uses the terms Gold and Blue Line but that the train cars are not painted distinctively, e.g., in Gold or Blue. I understand you may want to have flexibility in which lines the train cars are used on, but if you're not going to paint the vehicles distinctively, why not at least use the term Gold Line and Blue Line on the electronic signs on the train and in the audible announcements? I think a lot of passengers are confused by the mix of terminology between colors (Gold/Blue) and destinations (Folsom, Sunrise, Meadowview, etc.).

Reply:  This is a suggestion we will consider for the future.

Sacramento, CA:  If someone sees graffiti on or near a light rail station, who should they report it to?

Reply:  Riders can report graffiti to 321-2877 (321-buss).

Citrus Heights, CA:  I would like to know why Route 1 bus operators (and other routes also) do not drop passengers off at the last designated bus stop #1184 (Arcadia Dr. and Greenback Ln.) going outbound? The bus operators drop passengers off at a non-desigated bus stop as soon as they make the turn onto Arcadia, so they can take a break. If that is the case, change your bus schedule to make passengers aware. This happens on the Route 1 bus that arrives their at 10:41AM and early morning routes, which makes me miss my connection to the 21 because I’m walking to bus stop #1184 and the 21 passes me up. Please update your shedule or make the bus operators follow the correct route published by RT.

Reply:  You are correct that operators should be driving all the way to the end point before taking their break, so that passengers can make their transfers. If this is not being done, it is technically an issue which should be reported to RT management. I will forward your comment to our Transportation Department so they can check up on the operators driving Route 1 at these times. If you experience any additional cases of this, please forward all pertinent details (route, destination, time, location, vehicle number) to Customer Advocacy at 557-4545 or

CA:  Where is Mike Wiley today?

Reply:  Mike Wiley represents Regional Transit on the California Transit Association's executive committee and he is attending a meeting outside Sacramento. He will return to host the chat in December.

Sacramento, CA:  How much time will be saved on the limited stop services for the Gold line and Blue line?

Reply:  We are still determining the exact time savings. We expect a minimum four minute savings.

Sacramento, CA:  I do not understand why route 84 going outbound does not stop at bus stop #3125 (Watt Ave. and Elverta Rd.), the bus has to drive right pass this stop. The stop is listed on the inbound schedule, but not on the outbound schedule. Some drivers stop to pick us up going outbound, but others will drive right pass us. Can something be done to fix this problem?

Reply:  I'm not 100 percent familiar with the end-of-route procedures on this route at this location, but we will take a look at it.

CA:  Because there's so much fear of retaliation, is there a number we can text problems on buses or trains? Sometimes I want to report something but am afraid the "violator" will follow me off the bus/train.

Reply:  We hope to soon be able to provide texting capability. For the time being, you will have to make a phone call or send an email. Our Customer Advocacy Department can be contacted at 557-4545 or Any emergencies should be reported via 911 or the appropriate jurisdiction's 7 digit emergency number. Those numbers are available on our website.

Comments from RoseMary Covington: 

Thank you for participating in today's chat. It was a pleasant experience to interact with you through this medium. Be sure to check back next month on Friday, December 4, from noon to 1 p.m. when Mike Wiley, General Manager/CEO, returns as host.