Transit Talk with the General Manager

December 05, 2014
Michael A. Mattos, Chief of Facilities
General Transit Questions
Opening Remarks:
Transit Talk will be live on Friday, December 5, from noon to 1 p.m. and the system will accept questions from 10 a.m. through the end of the chat.

Comments from Michael A. Mattos: 

On Monday, December 8, RT staff will make recommendations to the Board of Directors on strategies to improve the safety and security of the entire bus and light rail system.

The recommendations have been developed from a Security Peer Review process that RT conducted in July 2014 when a panel of experts evaluated existing RT security services, policies and procedures. The reviewers produced a report that included recommendations to improve safety and security across RT.

In addition, RT held three community meetings in November to discuss the Peer Review report, and gather feedback from customers and the general public on how safety and security could be improved.

As Chief of Facilities and Business Support Services, I was very interested in the feedback from experts and the public concerning our bus stops and light rail stations. A number of recommendations were made that will help RT evaluate the priority of station maintenance.

Other facility-related recommendations include adding a public address system to light rail stations, posting "passenger code of conduct" signs at station entrances, and funding an increased level of station maintenance.

I encourage everyone interested in safety and security issues to attend Monday night's RT Board of Directors meeting and participate in the conversation. The meeting will be held in the RT Auditorium at 1400 29th Street beginning at 6 p.m.

For a complete list of RT recommendations stemming from the Security Peer Review process, visit:,%202014%20-%20Agenda%20Item%2022.pdf

Let's begin the chat.

Sacramento, CA:  Since RT adopted a policy of no smoking at all stops and stations, there have been no alerts or highly visible notices anywhere stating this policy save for the initial few stations launched 10 months ago. Going we're going into its first year, is RT going to increase the visibility and enforcement?

Reply:  Yes. You've captured bits and pieces of the transition to our Board adopted No Smoking Policy. The policy requires a number of changes before full implementation of the policy. The first step is to install the appropriate signage. RT did not have sufficient funding to acquire and install the needed signage until recently. We plan to complete the signage installation in early 2015. RT Police Services is currently doing a soft enforcement and will begin the full enforcement when all the signs have been installed.

North Sacramento , CA:  Back in October, SacRT suspended light rail service to install fiber optic wire and cable as well as to complete work on the "Contagious Color" project in the 12th Street Underpass. When will we eventually see "Scheduled Time Information" Signs go up at our three Woodlake Neighborhood Light Rail Stations: Globe, Royal Oaks, and Arden/Del Paso?

Reply:  Installation of the electronic message signs is underway. Fiber splicing and activation is the next part of the work before installation can be complete. Weather permitting, the signs are expected to go live in March/April 2015.

Sacramento, CA:  Will the Blue Line extension at Consumnes and Franklin (Franklin Station) interfere with traffic?

Reply:  Light rail bridges were included in the Blue Line to Cosumnes River College light rail extension project to help keep traffic flowing once the light rail line opens in September 2015. Most of the new light rail line will operate along a dedicated right-of-way.

Rancho Cordova, CA:  I have noticed at light rail stations these lightly colored blue poles that reach about stomach high. What are the function of these, and how will these light blue poles be utilized at RT Light Rail Stations. When will they become functionable?

Reply:  The blue poles are the mounting pedestals for the future Connect Card (smart card) tap devices. The vendor is currently testing the functionality of the system, and we will announce a "go live" date once testing is complete and successful.

Sacramento , CA:  I work at a facility training individuals with disabilities to obtain job skills and earn a paycheck in this competitive workplace and economy. Many of our folks depend upon Regional Transit to get to and from our program on a daily basis. Our facility has done some basic training on how the up and coming "Connect Card" is going to work and replace stickers that the consumers receive in the mail through a specific vendor. We always get asked by the consumers as to when the transition between stickers and this new card will take place, as well as how "Auto-Load" of monthly passes will occur in lieu of receiving stickers in the mail. Will you or other SacRT Staff be visiting facilities that employ folks with disabilities soon to meet with their site transportation coordinators to go over all of this with all the kinks worked out as well?

Reply:  First, we would like to thank you for the work you do. When the Connect Card system is fully implemented, RT will move away from stickers. Currently, we have nine transit agencies involved in the project. Assuming that all of the agencies go live at the same time, the plan is to issue a disabled photo ID card, to those individuals that meet the disabled requirements, without a sticker. However, since many of these individuals currently have a disabled photo ID, RT would like to mail out new Connect Card photo ID cards in advance of the go live of the Connect Card. During the transition period, there will still need to be a brief time whereby RT would continue to sell stickers. This would end upon the full implementation of the Connect Card. The "Auto Load" feature will allow customers to assign a credit card to their account. On a specific day, in advance of the following month, the card would be charged for the discounted pass. A pass would then be assigned to the card and therefore a sticker would no longer be needed. RT will assist individuals with disabilities to work through the Connect Card issues. In addition, RT will have a dedicated bus that will travel to specific locations to assist people with the transition.

Sacrameto, CA:  What is the policy regarding bicycles on light rail trains. I know they're allowed at the front and rear but what about when they take up the area near the first rows of seats?

Reply:  RT's policy allows four bicycles per car, two in the front and two in the back, on multi-car trains. However, in the first train car, no bikes are permitted at the front of the car, which is reserved for individuals with disabilities. The two bicycle limit is waived for the last trip of the night, which states that there is no limit on the number of bicycles.

South Sacramento , CA:  I've read the reports regarding possible realignment to Route 65, especially with combing it to replace Route 8. If approved, what would be the service frequency? Also, are you planning any other realignment of Routes?

Reply:  At this point, the changes you're referring to are still just a proposal. RT has been working for a while on this service improvement and made a presentation to the Board of Directors in October. The proposed service improvement still needs a full public review, which will happen in January 2015. If approved, the implementation date would be September 2015, which is also when the Blue Line to Cosumnes River College light rail extension will open. As presented to the Board, the service frequency would be every 60 minutes for Route 65, both for the existing part as well as for the part serving the discontinued Route 8. That is consistent with the existing frequency for Route 65. Route 61 would also be affected. Route 61 would no longer operate directly to the Power Inn light rail station. Instead, it would operate along Folsom Boulevard from the University/65th Street Station (where it would connect with other RT buses) to Florin-Perkins Road. RT will be posting more information at in early January 2015. You can also see the presentation that was presented to the Board on October 27 at the link below. Board Presentation on Routes 8, 61, and 65 (10/27/14):

Sacramento, CA:  When will electronic message signs be updated to reflect "real time" rather than scheduled train arrivals? Also, are there plans to expand the use of credit and debit cards to additional stations?

Reply:  RT has just started testing the prototype system for real-time train tracking. Our goal is to implement a real-time train schedule by the end of 2016. With the rollout of the Connect Card, RT will have 26 more stations that can accept credit cards and debit cards (that are credit card enabled). In addition, as a result of the Southline project, RT has purchased approximately 11 new FVMs with credit and debit functionality. These machines are currently being built and are expected to be delivered next year with installation occurring by September of 2015. In addition, staff is currently looking for funding to upgrade approximately 44 of the existing FVMs with credit and debit functionality.

Elk Grove , CA:  The delays in the connect card makes no sense, why doesn't RT use current technology other transit agencies (for example San Jose Clipper Card) are using for their smart card? When can we expect the connect card to go live?

Reply:  Every smart card system requires configuration and installation with the fare products of the agencies participating. There are nine systems in the region that will be using the Connect Card. When the Clipper Card was implemented they had numerous failures and problems. The vendor is testing the system to a very strict level to avoid going live with a faulty system. The system is very close to being complete, but picking a date to go live, before we complete acceptance testing, isn't the course to a successful roll out.

Sacramento, CA:  The 51 that is supposed to leave at 7:42am has been constantly late usually up to ten minutes. What is going on with that?

Reply:  I will have our Transportation and Scheduling staff take a look at this issue. We can provide an answer during the next GM Chat on January 9, 2015. Thank you for reporting the issue.

Laguna, CA:  "The blue poles are the mounting pedestals for the future Connect Card (smart card) tap devices." I'm confused. I thought that the tap devices would be on the trains and buses. Is that not the case?

Reply:  The big blue poles are for the add fare machines and the smaller blue poles are for the tap devices. The add fare machines will allow customers to purchase media, add value to a Connect Card, or tap their card to ride. As for the tap devices, they have less functionality than the add fare machines. These devices will be installed at the stations and on the buses. Once a customer has media or stored value on a card, the customer will tap their card on the tap device to activate the media.

Comments from Michael A. Mattos: 

Thank you for your questions today. Mike Wiley will return for the first session of Transit Talk with the General Manager in 2015 on Friday, January 9, due to the New Year's Day holiday.