Transit Talk with the General Manager

November 02, 2012
Mike Wiley, General Manager/CEO
General Transit Questions
Opening Remarks:
Transit Talk with the General Manager will be held on Friday, November 2. The chat will be live from noon to 1 p.m. and the system will accept questions from 10 a.m. through the end of the chat. Thank you for your interest.

Comments from Mike Wiley: 

Good afternoon and welcome to today's chat.

I would like to thank Mark Lonergan, Chief Operating Officer, for the fine job he did as guest host of Transit Talk with the General Manager for the past two months. I'm sure readers gained valuable insight from Mark's contributions and I know he was happy to answer your questions.

This month, I'm pleased to announce that RT, in partnership with the City of Citrus Heights, began operation of a new shuttle service for travel in Citrus Heights called "City Ride." City Ride offers curb-to-curb, "dial-a-ride" service for the general public to and from any destination within the city of Citrus Heights and Mercy San Juan Medical Center on Coyle Avenue in Carmichael. In the near future, RT also plans to offer service to Kaiser Medical Offices on Riverside Avenue in Roseville.

City Ride operates on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 916-556-0258 (during service hours) no earlier than one business day in advance. Reservations are taken on a first-come, first-served basis. Regular RT Basic and Discount fares apply.

City Ride shuttle buses, which can seat 12 to 14 passengers with space for two wheelchairs, are identifiable by the special vehicle exterior featuring photos of Citrus Heights amenities and destinations.

For more information about the new service, visit or call 321-BUSS (2877). To make a reservation, call 556-0258.

The beginning of November also marks the close of RT's Ride Transit October campaign. RT reported positive feedback from riders who participated in the "Fun Fridays" at the Customer Service and Sales Center, Customer Appreciation Days and celebration of the 25th Anniversary of light rail events held at select light rail stations and transit centers.

I personally conducted the Ride with the GM portion of the program, riding the system on a published itinerary and interacting with passengers. I was pleased by the number of customers that complimented RT operators and expressed appreciation for RT service. Customers also took the opportunity to offer solutions to improve service. The suggestions were well-received and RT is taking them into consideration.

Let's start today's chat.

Sacramento, CA:  While riding the 34 line i've heard some complaints about the changes that were implemented in September, i didn't quite hear the specifics due to the engine noise, have you heard any complaints about the route and if so what actions will RT take if any?

Reply:  There have been complaints about the schedule on Route 34. We will be making some adjustments in January so that outbound trips in the afternoon continue from CSUS to River Park without having to wait at the CSUS bus terminal.

Sacramento, CA:  Do you know what the service changes in January will be?

Reply:  There will be changes to Route 34 as discussed in a previous question. There will also be some earlier morning and later evening trips added to Route 24 - Madison/Greenback.

Carmichael, CA:  Why was the route 82 not voted for a frequency increase? it can be very crowded on this line.

Reply:  We are aware that Route 82 gets very crowded and busy, especially at the beginning of the semester at CSUS and ARC; however, in our evaluation, we did not find that the ridership levels were sufficient to justify improved frequency all day long. We will continue to monitor ridership on the system and as resources continue to increase we will be looking make additional improvements.

Citrus Heights, CA:  I understand at some point the 24 will become the 27 and run to Historic Folsom Station. I wanted to recommend if funding allows extending the 24 or 27 westbound making limited stops on Greenback Ln and then taking I-80 to the lower level of Watt-I-80 station. I think this would take some pressure off the 1 line and provide a fast ride from Watt I-80 to Citrus Heights.

Reply:  This would actually be similar to Routes 106 and 107 that we used to run at peak hours only. These routes were eliminated in 2010 due to State of California cuts to transit funding. The patronage on these lines was not sufficient to prompt us to reinstate similar service, but we have been evaluating other options such such as you have suggested . Thank you for your suggestion.

Sacramento, CA:  Does anyone else remember the 5K fun run from The new Butterfield L.R. Sta.? I still have that T-shirt.

Reply:  Yes, however it was a 10K run and it was a fun event to celebrate the opening of the starter light rail line to Butterfield. that event was one of several during our second opening in September of 1987.

Sacramento, CA:  Why are all the light rail stations always overflowing with trash?Does anybody ever pick up trash or pressure wash stations?Is there a schedule that RT adheres to about cleaning because I never see anybody cleaning day or night??

Reply:  Stations are pressure washed two or more times a week each night between 8 PM and 3 AM. The stations with higher utilization are pressure washed three or more times a week. In addition, Light Rail Stations are cleaned daily by three crews of 4 to 5 people who pick up trash and sweep each station. The daily cleaning is accomplished between 9 AM and 3 PM.

Sacramento, CA:  I see that you rode the light Rail system during the month of October to touch base with passengers.Have you noticed the excessive trash at all Light rail stations?Does anyone ever clean these station or pick up trash?Pressure wash?I never see anybody doing either at night or in day time,whos in charge of the system cleaning/maintenance?

Reply:  Thanks for your interest in our Ride with the GM. Of course we are aware of the condition of our stations. Our stations are cleaned regularly. In some cases, twice a day. It is difficult to keep up with the demand for cleaning services at all 49 stations on the RT light rail system, but we do our best with the limited resources allocated for this purpose. The individual in charge of the system cleaning/maintenance is Mr. Mike Mattos, Chief of Facilities and Business Support Services.

Sacramento, CA:  Can CSUS students ride RT free with a student ID?

Reply:  CSUS students and employees can ride for free but they have to pick up a special sleeve each semester from University Transportation and Parking Services. (The sleeve is basically like a sticker that validates the pass each semester.) CSUS students and employees don't ride for free. RT receives payment from the University to cover the cost of their fares. All students pay an increased registration fee each semester to cover their fares.

Sacramento, CA:  Any chance that the Light Rail nighttime service be changed to mimick Weekend service? Currently there is a 25+ minute tranfer connections on weeknights vs 15m or less on weekends.

Reply:  This problem has been brought up before. Changing the schedule will impact bus connections throughout the system. For that reason, we will probably consider this adjustment at a future date when we are doing other major changes. We will need to evaluate the impact of all connections, including connections between light rail and bus routes.

Elk Grove, CA:  In looking at the survey results for the 2035 Master Transit Plan, I see that 61% favored Scenario C. Will this be the Scenario that RT implements?

Reply:  The adopted TransitAction Plan is very similar to Scenario C and depends on a significant increase in revenues. As an example, local sales tax would need to be increased by 1.5% over 30 years to full implement TransitAction. At this point RT is considering placing a measure on the local ballot in 2014.

Sacramento, CA:  Will there ever be complete no smoking policy at public stations,I see the no smoking signs at LR Stations but I also see most ppl ignoring this.Given the current climate on smoking i am surprised this still allowed at these public places

Reply:  The RT board will be considering expanding the no smoking rules at light rail stations to include entire stations system wide. If they approve the change, we will begin installing no smoking signs at all of the light rail stations. Currently, the area under shelters at stations are designated as no smoking areas.

Roseville, CA:  Many people commute from Roseville to Sac and vice versa. Any chance that will be recognized as a top priority for light rail? I'd visit DT more if I could take light rail...thanks for your time!

Reply:  Extension of the Blue Line to Roseville and points beyond is included in RT's visioning document, TransitAction, however it is dependent upon other jurisdictions, including Roseville. It will take the active interest and financial participation of Roseville and Placerville to develop such a project. In the meantime, drive down to the Watt and I-80 light rail station to access the system and visit downtown Sacramento right now.

Elk Grove, CA:  Will there be an Express Train on the blue line? If so, will it be implemented before or after the CRC extension begins fare service? Which stops will see express service?

Reply:  Yes, there will be express service on the Blue Line. On the line from Watt/I-80 to downtown those stops include, Watt I-80, Roseville, Marconi, Arden-Del Paso and all of the stops in downtown. We are waiting on funding from the State of California to complete necessary track, station and signal work in order to implement this service. The Blue Line to Cosumnes River College extension will include limited stop service as well.

Citrus Heights, CA:  Will ceaning of the stations ever improve or a increased budget for this?Specifically Watt/80 is disgusting,it really needs much more attention

Reply:  Currently Watt I-80 is cleaned at least twice a day and pressure washed at least 3 times a week. We have a restroom at the bottom of the stairs, but we continue to find people using the stairway as a restroom. Our staff agrees that this is disgusting. Cameras were installed in the hope that this would help identify the persons fouling the stairwells and elevators. We are considering installing gates at the top level and locking the station access at night to reduce our exposure. This year we added a few people on our cleaning crew and we plan to add a few more next year. If patrons see misbehavior please report it to the station guards.

Sacramento, CA:  Is there any chance for an RT Bus Route on Folsom Boulevard between Julliard Drive and Watt Avenue? I recently had to obtain a Social Security Card, and the office is not transit accessible, or walkable from two Gold Line Light Rail Stations. Having a bus Route there will make a world of difference. Please keep in mind that Officers at other Sacramento County Social Security locations send folks that are applying for SS Cards or replacement SS Cards to the Folsom Boulevard location as no other SS Office processes SS Cards.

Reply:  Although the walk distance is longer than we'd prefer, we do not currently have any plans to change any of the nearby routes. One issue we have with running bus service there is the lack of sidewalks, crosswalks, and safe pick-up and drop-off locations on the south side of Folsom Blvd. We will take your suggestion into consideration however.

Rancho Cordova, CA:  Someone told me that it is quite possible that the Gold Line will extend 15-Minite Frequency from Sunrise to Hazel. While I have not seen that in the schedule yet, I would love to see when that will happen. What information are you able to provide through TransitTalk on this matter?

Reply:  We are working on implementing limited stop service from Folsom and as part of that work, we are planning to make changes that allow 15 minute service to Hazel Light Rail Station. Currently, we have insufficient funding to complete this work. The project includes installing additional tracks between Becks Furniture and Hazel station, upgrading the entire signal system between Folsom and downtown Sacramento and adding the second boarding platform at the Hazel station.

Elk Grove, CA:  Is there a link to a report or map of the adopted TransitAction plan?

Reply:  Thanks for your interest in the TransitAction plan. You will find a link on the RT website. You can find links to the TransitAction information at The final plan can be found at

Elk Grove, CA:  How will the planned Phase II extension to CRC cross the existing Union Pacific RR Track? What about Franklin?

Reply:  RT is currently building a light rail bridge south of Meadowview Road to "fly over" the Union Pacific tracks and Union House Creek located there. One of four new stations included in the Blue Line to Cosumnes River College plans will be located at Franklin Boulevard with the street being crossed at grade level.

Sacramento, CA:  How is the pay and ride going?Is there plans to increase the number of stations to participate?Is this revunue making a difference at all?

Reply:  The Park-Pay-and-Ride program is running smoothly and the revenue is helping to supplement the upkeep of the stations. We plan to charge for parking at our new park-n-ride lots on our Blue Line to CRC.

Sacramento, CA:  When do you expect the LR extension to be open from CRC to downtown?Will this be open in 2014?2015?

Reply:  We are targeting September 2015 for the beginning of revenue service. I'm also happy to announce that the Federal Transit Administration recently forwarded the project's full funding grant agreement to the Secretary of Transportation and the Office of Management and Budget, keeping us on track for execution of this agreement by the end of the year.

Sacramento, CA:  In light of the labor union problems they are having in the grocery industry(Safeway,Raleys)how is your labor situation?

Reply:  We have a very positive working relationship with all of our labor groups. We recently expressed our appreciating through a series of events celebrating the 25 year anniversary of light rail.

Natomas, CA:  Today, I boarded a Route 170 on Truxel Road at Gateway Park Boulevard, in front of Ross Dress For Less. I showed my RT Discounted Monthly Pass, and was told to pay $1.50 to go downtown. Can you help me undetstand why Routes like Route 170on want fare in addition to what riders are already paying RT on a monthly basis? This time, by the way, a generous rider gave me a shuttle ticket for the one-way ride downtown. In the future, it would seem to me that all routes would have the fare structure incorporated into their runs.

Reply:  The Route 170 is a North Natomas Flyer Route funded by the North Natomas Transportation Management Association, which also sets its fare structure. RT has contracted with the NNTMA to operate their service, but does not control what fares they are willing to accept.

Rio Linda, CA:  Is there any chance that Watt Avenue will have 15-Minute service, while in the meantime, Rio Linda folks on Route 19 will be able to access Watt Avenue from our community? I was informed thatthe the Rio Linda Community might lose our only direct route to Watt Avenue. It would seem to me, for purposes of making a suggestion here, that in the near future that Route 19 start from Big Sky Drive (like Route 84) and then travel to the Arden/Del Paso Light Rail Station along its existing alignment. I do agree, though to be fair that Route 19 travel along Watt Avenue itself ought to be eliminated and replaced with Routes 80 & 84. Access however to Watt Avenue from Rio Linda though needs to be maintained. How can this be done without roundabout service?

Reply:  Thanks for your comments. We are planning on doubling the number of Route 80 and 84 buses in September 2014. This will provide 15 minute frequency on most of Watt Avenue. Our plans call for Route 19 to be scaled back at that time, to no longer serve Watt Avenue or Elverta Road. We have, however, received several requests such as yours, to maintain direct service from Rio Linda Blvd. to Watt Avenue, which we are taking into consideration.

Comments from Mike Wiley: 

Thank you for participating in today's chat and I hope to hear from all of you during the last session of 2012, scheduled for Friday, December 7.