Transit Talk with the General Manager

December 06, 2013
Mike Wiley, General Manager/CEO
General Transit Questions
Opening Remarks:
Transit Talk with the General Manager will be live Friday, December 6, 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: 

The RT Holiday Bus is once again making the rounds in the community to thank passengers who ride the RT system and to give back to the community as a whole. Free to passengers, the Holiday Bus operates on different routes in the Sacramento region from December 1, 2013 through January 3, 2014.

In lieu of fare, monetary donations and non-perishable food items are being collected on the bus to benefit River City Food Bank, a non-profit organization that provides emergency food and housing assistance in Sacramento County.

The Holiday Bus schedule can be found here.

RT is also celebrating its 6th annual "Season of Civil Rights … It All Started on a Bus" campaign with a series of events during the months of December, January and February to build awareness of the significant role that transit has played in the American Civil Rights Movement.

The campaign started on December 1, when RT reserved a seat on every RT bus in honor of Rosa Parks. On the same day in 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks refused to obey a bus driver's order that she give up her seat to make room for a white passenger. Her simple act of defiance played a critical role in the American Civil Rights Movement, as it ignited the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

The Season of Civil Rights campaign will also feature a commemorative bus with exterior images of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. that will travel on different routes through February; sponsorship of the 15th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Dinner; and participation in the annual Capitol March for the Dream and Diversity Expo at the Sacramento Convention Center. Winning art and poems from RT's "I Am the Dream and the Dream Is Now" art and poetry contest and RT's 1957 "Old Blue" historic bus will be on display at the expo.

Sacramento, CA:  I was wondering when the electronic card system will be in beta. I am a disabled person who has used similar systems in the bay area and would like to be a tester. I thought it was to be by November this year.

Reply:  We are spending a great deal of time devoted to testing and validation of data before our planned implementation of our test period. Initial internal testing began in October. Full system testing takes place in January. Beta use is planned for March. If all of the testing goes well, we hope to be ready to go live by June. If you are interested in participating in the Beta test please contact Mike Mattos of RT's staff at

Elk Grove, CA:  When will the light rail stations have the credit/debit card functionality available?

Reply:  We have a few configuration issues being resolved and then we plan to kick off the credit/debit card use with a marketing campaign.

Fair Oaks, CA:  Hello Mr. Wiley. I was wondering who I need to talk to get the street lights lit at the Sunrise Terminal. It's extremely dark at that terminal mostly lit by the bus shelter there and, maybe, two very low wattage street lights? There are other street lights on the street but they are not lit when it's dark (5:30 pm). Thanks!

Reply:  Thank you for your comment. We began a system wide relamping project last week. I'll forward your comment about sunrise to our staff to make sure that it is addressed.

Elk Grove, CA:  Can you please fix the 56 to say Methodist Hospital rather then a shorter version of the word which is inappropriate showing up on the screen.

Reply:  Thank you for the suggestion. I am asking my staff to review this now. We should have an updated destination sign soon.

Sacramento, CA:  When will the message boards at the train stations start displaying real time train info? ETA? Also, what is status of “limited stop express” light rail service?

Reply:  We've received the grant funding for the work necessary for the trains to provide the needed information. The modifications to the trains will take place early in 2014. As the equipment is installed, we will switch from scheduled times being displayed to realtime data being displayed. The south line construction underway includes the infrastructure for limited stop service. The Gold Line limited stop will require a good deal of signal and control modification that are only partially funded at this point. We are continuing to cobble together the necessary funds to implement this project. In addition, there will be additional operating costs to operate the added service. This additional operating cost must be considered as part of RT's budget priorities.

Sacramento, CA:  When will the no smoking be finally prohibited? I see people smoking at 16th all the time and Wackenhut doesn't do anything about it. It's disgusting to non smokers.

Reply:  The RT Board adopted a policy to prohibit smoking at light rail station. No smoking signs are on order and will be installed, when they are delivered, hopefully within the next 30 to 60 days. At that point, guards and staff will begin enforcing the new no smoking policy.

Sacramento (Hagginwood), CA:  My question is about Route 87. I see in the Bus & Light Rail TimeTable Book that Saturday service going towards the Marconi/Arcade Station operates later than Monday-Friday service does. Is there any reason behind this? My thought had always been that a route on a weeknight would always operate later than on a weekend night, but that does not seem to be the case with Route 87. I would like to suggest, for your careful consideration, that a 9pm weeknight trip be added to Route 87 for travel from the University/65th Street Station to the Marconi/Arcade Station. Thank you for exploring this topic.

Reply:  We do have some routes where Saturday service runs later than weekday service. Route 11 is another example of that. On weekdays, most of the demand on this route is based around work and school trips, so we don't see a lot of demand later in the evening. On weekends, people use the route more for shopping and recreational purposes, so we start the service later in the morning, but run it a little later in the evening. In the case of Route 87, it may make sense to run it later on weekdays for students taking evening classes. We'll take a look at it, thanks!

Rancho Cordova, CA:  I see that come early January, you are extending Route 28 to the Mather Field/Mills Station. While riders like myself appreciate that, many riders I talk to feel that this route would have better served riders if it was extended to connect with Etran at the Butterfield Station. Back in 2010, our community was severely hit with your service cuts due to lack of state funding as well as the economy as a whole. As a rider, and other riders will likely feel the same way, extending Route 28 to Butterfield Station will allow riders to once again visit the Rancho Cordova Library on Paseo Drive at Folsom Boulevard. Do you agree? Would you be able to help riders and Rancho Cordova see that this be possible in Calendar Year 2014? Thank you for listening and understanding this matter.

Reply:  Yes I agree that RT needs to provide access too the Library on Folsom Blvd. at Paseo Rio Way. In fact, we expect to be approved for funding to begin the environmental and design work to construct a new light rail station at that location, Horn Rd. Station. We have worked closely with the City of Rancho Cordova to develop this new station.

North Natomas, CA:  What is the ridership performance regarding Route 13? Is it now meeting your productivity standards? If it is not, how much in danger is the existing ridership facing in potentially having the route modified and/or eliminated? What tips and/or pointers can you give to help the existing ridership help you grow the route ridership, if the route is still below company/agency standards?

Reply:  Route 13 averages about 18 boardings per revenue hour. Our standard is 20 boardings per revenue hour, so it is a little below standard. For entirely new routes, we have a "sunset" process where we eliminate or reduce service on routes that don't meet productivity standards. This doesn't currently apply to routes that already exist, including Route 13. That doesn't mean that we aren't scrutinizing this route, however. All the routes, new or old, that are repeatedly below our productivity standards we monitor more closely. Corrective action may mean cutting back under-utilized early morning or late night service, adjusting connections with other routes, or--if the route is new--promotional activities to make sure potential riders are aware of it.

Folsom, CA:  What is the latest news in developing a comprehensive service plan come July 2016 in anticipation of the brand new Downtown Sports and Entertainment Complex?

Reply:  The City and the arena developers will be releasing a Draft Environmental Impact Report in mid-December that will provide a great deal of information on the changes and impacts from the proposed ESC. They are also preparing a Transportation Management Plan, which will deal more specifically with how the facility can best be served. RT has been working closely with the ESC project team and we are hopeful that the ESC will be a great opportunity for new riders to become familiar with RT.

South Sacramento, CA:  Just moved to a new location that would closer to taking Route 56. You've indicated that the section from Meadowview LRT to Cosumnes River College that service frequencies would be 15 mins on Weekdays. Any future plans for it to happen?

Reply:  Because of the significant cost of this improvement, we are planning on waiting until the Blue Line to CRC extension opens and then observing what ridership is on this segment of Route 56, before we move forward with this change. We anticipate that the heavy passenger loads currently on this route may go down once the light rail extension opens.

Sacramento, CA:  Will the frequency of the 56 ever be increased? Sometimes in the afternoon it gets really crowded to the point where there isnt even standing room.

Reply:  Please see my response to an earlier question on this matter.

Sacramento, CA:  How is Route 54 doing in terms of ridership?

Reply:  Ridership is up about 12 percent on a year-over-year basis. It's gone from about 490 per day to about 550 per day.

Comments from Mike Wiley: 

Thank you for your questions today. The next session of Transit Talk with the General Manager is scheduled for January 3, 2014.