Transit Talk with the General Manager

January 09, 2015
Mike Wiley, General Manager/CEO
General Transit Questions
Opening Remarks:
Transit Talk will be live on Friday, January 9 from noon to 1 p.m. and the system will accept questions now through the end of the chat.

Comments from Mike Wiley: 

Construction activities related to RT's Blue Line to Cosumnes River College (CRC) light rail extension will require a complete closure of Meadowview Road between Detroit Boulevard and Brookfield Drive (at the Union Pacific Railroad - UPRR tracks) beginning at 8 p.m. on Friday, January 16 and continuing until 5 a.m. on Monday, January 26.

RT's contractor will be installing light rail tracks across Meadowview Road as part of the Blue Line to CRC project. The main detour will be 24th Street to Florin Road to Franklin Boulevard, and vice versa. Motorists can also use Freeport Boulevard or Center Parkway to travel to Florin Road during the closure.

RT will provide regular updates on Facebook, Twitter and the project website ( interested can sign up for construction alerts to stay informed of Blue Line to CRC construction activities and traffic impacts.

In addition, RT is celebrating its 7th annual Season of Civil Rights with a series of events to build awareness of the significant role that transit has played in the American Civil Rights Movement.

The 34th Annual Capitol March for the Dream and Diversity Expo, taking place on Monday, January 19, is the largest event RT supports through this endeavor.

I, along with RT employees, their families and friends, will join thousands of other marchers as they depart Sacramento City College at approximately 9:30 a.m. and walk to the Sacramento Convention Center where winning entries from RT's "I Am the Dream and the Dream Is Now" art and poetry contest and RT's "Old Blue" historic bus will be on display.

For more information about the march, visit For more information about RT's Season of Civil Rights campaign, visit

Rancho Cordova, CA:  Many, if not all of our light rail stations in Rancho Cordova are now equipped to allow passengers to tap a "Connect Card" onto them. What is the status of folks being able to transition from paying by way of paper fare to going to this new electronic fare type?

Reply:  We are close to having a working system. There is one major component of the system not yet working correctly (Corporate Accounts). The vendor has promised resolution toward the end of January. When we have confirmed that it is working correctly, we will start issuing "Connect Cards" and begin using them. It is important that the system work properly. We are testing every aspect of the system to insure we minimize potential customer related glitches. Although it is taking far longer than expected, we are nearly ready.

South Sacramento, CA:  Your website and "Next Stop News" are making us well aware of the upcoming closure around Meadowview Road so that contractors can lay light rail tracks. Can you pleas go into detail as to how bus service will be impacted, canceled, and detoured during the Road closure? This information was lacking on the reading materials. Thank you.

Reply:  The Meadowview Road closure between Detroit Boulevard and Brookfield Drive (at the Union Pacific Railroad - UPRR tracks) beginning at 8 p.m. on Friday, January 16 and continuing until 5 a.m. on Monday, January 26 will affect Routes 5, 47 and 56. The main detour will be from the Meadowview Road Light Rail Station to 24th Street to Florin Road to Franklin Boulevard, and vice versa. Motorists can also use Freeport Boulevard or Center Parkway to travel to Florin Road.

Sacramento , CA:  Mr. Wiley, Do you still offer a sit down forum with employees to discuss issues?

Reply:  Yes. They are offered every quarter. The next one is schedule at noon on February 18th.

Sacramento, CA:  When will RT start hiring for bus operators? Will it be before the September service change?

Reply:  We currently have a class of new operators in training. My understanding is that we will have classes every few months for the next 8 months. If you are interested in a operator position, apply at our Human Resource (HR) department. If you have already applied, the HR team should be able to explain the process for selection and timing of our hiring and training processes. All of our employment opportunities are also posted on our website.

Sacramento, CA:  Any plans for a T Street station on the blue line? That block-long seems to have room for island platform. (T St between 19 & 20th in midtown) Thanks, Mikey the Mailman who delivers this area

Reply:  At the present time we are conducting environmental studies on two new stations. The first is on the Blue Line in the Dos Rios neighborhood (at north 12th street and Richards Blvd), and the second is on the Gold Line in West Rancho Cordova (at Folsom Blvd. and Horn Rd.) The future T street station is still in our long range plan. However, we have not developed a schedule at this point.

Arden-Arcade, CA:  I live not far from the Watt/Marconi intersection. Just this week, Wal-Mart opened a neighborhood market on the route 25 at Sunrise/Greenback. This is the third Neighborhood Market on this route. The other two are at Marconi/Fulton and Manzanita/Madison. In April, Wal-Mart will be opening a SuperCenter on Watt, about one block North of Interstate 80. This will be the third Wal-Mart along the Watt Avenue Corridor. The other two are at Watt/El Camino and Watt/Elverta. Are there any plans to either extend the service hours of Routes 25 and/or 84 this year including but not limited to adding Sunday/Holiday service to these two routes?

Reply:  We do not have any plans this year to extend the hours of Route 25 or Route 84. We do have plans to improve Route 25 to every 30 minutes on Fair Oaks Blvd. in Carmichael on weekdays. This has more to do with us finding a way to do this at no cost than with any particular stores, but coincidentally, it will double the number of trips to the Safeway and Bell grocvery stores at Manzanita and Fair Oaks Blvd.

Carmichael, CA:  First,will the new Watt/La Riviera bus stops proposed as part of the 80/84 realignment be positioned between the half-cloverleaf ramps or will they be just before the 50 ones?Second, with the Femoyer extension now completed near Mather airport, is a route 75 realignment(to serve Kaiser Rancho while de-emphasizing lower-performing street segments, as explained in Transit Renewal)under consideration in the future if not this year?Third, is realignment still a possibility for route 24(which is still plagued by underperforming segments though productivity is up in general)?

Reply:  In answer to your first question, the new bus stops on Watt at La Riviera will be positioned between the half-cloverleaf ramp, like you said. Unfortunately, the Femoyer intersection was not able to be built in a way that would allow buses to make the turn in both directions, so we will not be able to link Route 75 in with Kaiser hospital. We are currently not a change to Route 24 at this time. Productivity has improved. Improvements under consideration for the future include possible connections to the light rail station in Folsom at Sutter street.

Folsom, CA:  Will 2015 finally be the year us in Folsom get rail service past 7pm, or will that have to wait until late 2016 when the Downtown Sacramento ESC is open and scheduling events?

Reply:  RT is currently discussing with the City of Folsom the possibility of providing light rail service past the current 7pm time frame. The exact time frame of when this might happen is yet to be determined, but it could happen 2015. We hope to have more information regarding the feasibility and timing of this in the months ahead.

South Sacramento , CA:  On the realignment for Route 65, it indicates that the part from Franklin Light to Laguna Town Hall. I've checked E-Tran's website and there are currently show no changes. Is there any information from that agency on when they will notify members?

Reply:  The segment of Route 65 south of Cosumnes River Boulevard is proposed for elimination in September 2015. This would coincide with the Blue Line to CRC extension opening. Some of the riders on this segment may be able to catch an e-Tran bus depending on where they are headed. It is up to e-Tran whether or not they want to change their service. The City of Elk Grove is also in the process of making plans for how they want the e-Tran bus service to work with the new light rail extension, although it may still be premature for them to be posting major announcements on their web site.

Sacramento, CA:  It's almost a year and there still seems to be no enforcement of the no smoking policies. This is especially apparent at stations that don't have any signs or board alerts. Will there be more enforcement in the new year?

Reply:  Yes. You have captured the situation as we transition to the new policy. As the signs are installed the enforcement begins. The policy requires the signs before enforcement can begin. All of our stations now have signs except on the K street mall and the O street mall areas. These areas are special cases that we are working on jurisdiction issues with the Sacramento City staff. Our plan in these areas is to clearly delineate the station areas and enforce within those areas, as we do elsewhere within the RT system.

Natomas, CA:  I am disappointed in the number of bus routes that are better than once an hour on Sunday/Holidays. It seems that only Routes 1 and 51 fall into this category. Will you be looking to improve Sunday/Holiday service on current routes such that 60-minute service becomes 30-minute service? Specifically, would Routes 30, 81, 56, and 23 be strong candidate routes for this consideration? Could routes 84, 25, and even Route 11 here in Natomas be added on Sunday/Holidays as well?

Reply:  We took a comprehensive look at our system in our TransitRenewal study, which was adopted in 2012; however improvements to Sunday/Holiday service were somewhat lacking in the findings. This is one of the areas we have been looking at in more detail since the study was adopted, especially getting more of the bus routes from 60 minutes to every 30 minutes. We have been under very tight budgetary environment for several years, which has made it difficult to add the improvements we'd like, but we have been focusing on ways to bring about improvements without increasing expenditures. On January 26, 2015, we'll be presenting several improvements to our Board of Directors that were developed on these lines, and we hope to be making more such improvements in the future.

North Sacramento, CA:  Your website brings to the attention of people of a public hearing to consider service changes to five routes that would take effect on September 6th. Due to the extension of the Blue line traveling essentially from Watt/I-80 to C.R.C., will all bus routes that connect with the Blue Line undergo major schedule changes, even if they do not have other service changes? Could you elaborate on this and if a list of all bus routes undergoing changes of any kind will be made available on your website soon?

Reply:  We do not anticipate any significant schedule change to the Blue Line with the extension. Consequently, I do not expect to see major bus route schedule changes.

Citrus Heights, CA:  I am a Sacramento Republic FC fan and have wanted to always go to games at the new Bonney Field at Cal Expo. Unfortunately, since the team moved from City College to Cal Expo, going to games has been quite difficult. What is being done to address late night service so that folks can attend their matches? Is forming a public/private service partnership with them just one of the many options that is on the table for discussion?

Reply:  You may want to see the response to a similar question back in November. Unfortunately, the Bonney Field location is not as good for RT either. We are hopeful that in the long run, they may move to a better location, such as the potential downtown site that has been in the news, which would be much closer to light rail. We are also considering additional trips on bus routes 67 and 68 to connect to light rail at the 29th street station.

Sacramento, CA:  is there a reason as to why RT is constantly running 3 trains, and in some cases two trains, during the afternoon commute? I work downtown and the train is nearly full before I get on and it goes further down the line.

Reply:  We are sorry to hear of your dissatisfaction with our Light Rail service recently. Please accept our sincere apologies. We would like you to know that the situation you describe in your feedback is a result of unexpected circumstances not within our control such as mechanical failures, or non-RT accidents on the tracks. These situations are unplanned by RT and often result in shortened car trains or service disruptions. We make every attempt to maintain trains four cars in length during the peak travel times.

South Sacramento , CA:  Will there be an option for an e-tran route to pick up the section from Franklin LRT to Laguna Town Hall?

Reply:  E-Tran service decisions are made by the City of Elk Grove. We have shared our proposed service change for route 65 with them. Yes, there is always an option for E-Tran to operate service on Franklin Rd. to Laguna Town Hall.

Sacramento, CA:  Once the Sacramento ESC is completed in October 2016, do you think RT would have the funds to at least have longer trains during night service?

Reply:  We are spending quite a lot of effort working with the city and the Entertainment Sports Center (ESC) representatives to plan for the new center. Our goal is to be the preferred mode of travel for people attending events at the ESC. I fully expect to operate supplemental (or extra) trains at the conclusion of events in addition to operating longer (four car) trains. Watch for the changes we will be proposing to support events at the ESC. We are very excited about this opportunity to involved in the huge changes the ESC will make to Sacramento Downtown.

Antelope, CA:  What is going to be done, if anything, about overhauling service on Route 19? The route is not on time very often, and even the bus operators that talk to me mention that they can never keep their run on time either. If it was me, my suggestion would be to eliminate Watt Avenue service on Route 19, and turn the route around via Elverta Road, Watt Avenue, Black Saddle Drive and Big Sky Drive back to Elverta Road. I think this would be a great start. My only concern to my own suggestion would be regarding Watt Avenue on Sunday/Holiday. Could this be resolved by adding hourly service to Route 84, or would this be too much of a cost burden?

Reply:  Thank you for your suggestion. You are correct that the schedule of route #19 can be a challenge to keep on time. I will ask my Scheduling and Planning Department's to evaluate this and developed a recommended action.

Sacramento , CA:  What's the progress on DNA funding? Does the streetcar have first priority?

Reply:  The Green Line light rail extension to the Airport project is moving along, environmental work is currently being completed. However, the funding for the construction of this light rail extension is currently planned to include Federal New Starts funding, contributions from the airport and also the local match funding for this project will require a new tax measure (Measure B), which would include approximately 50% of the Capital funding for this project and also would cover the operating costs for this project once completed. This sales tax measure is currently proposed to go to the voters in November 2016. This sales tax Measure would also includes funding for other RT Light Rail improvements projects, Hi-Bus rapid transit projects and others, if approved by the voters. The Street Car project is the Sacramento Regions current highest priority project, that is proposed to be completed in the 2017- 2018 time frame, and the funding sources for this project are different than the Green Line to the Airport project.

Elk Grove, CA:  I am excited for your light rail extension to CRC this September. I will use this route often to attend events at the Downtown Sacramento ESC when it opens in October of next year. Isn't that unbelievable? We are actually now actually saying October of next year for the ESC. Imagine that. It will be here before you know it. My question about light rail is pertaining to Sunday/Holiday schedules in the evening hours. Will you be adding at least two additional evening hours this calendar year so that Sunday/Holidays will be at least equal to the span of service hours you are currently providing now on Saturday's?

Reply:  We do not have plans to add hours to light rail on Sundays and Holidays. I agree this is a deserving improvement, but unfortunately there are a lot of other areas we think are more urgent and at this point we do not have the available funding.

Sacramento, CA:  When will the no-smoking policy be implemented? I still see a lot of people smoking at LR stations, sometimes right next to the no smoking signs.

Reply:  Our security team has begun enforcement at the stations where no smoking signs are installed. This includes all stations with exception to the K street mall and O street mall. Initially, as we adopt the new policy we will start with warnings to patrons in violation and transition to issuing citations over the next few months.

Laguna, CA:  To the individual asking about an E-Tran route to the upcoming Franklin Light Rail: If you go to E-Trans website, there is a survey you can take asking about your current commuting and whether you'd use a feeder/shuttle service to the Franklin or CRC stations.

Reply:  Good information. Thank you for the update.

Sacramento, CA:  Have you been handed a draft Governors Budget yet? I heard on Capitol Public Radio that it was just made available today. If you have any inside information on this budget, what does it initially mean for RT in terms of service improvements, service changes, or the awfully dreaded service cuts? Please spare us from any more service cuts. Can't stand when they have to happen.

Reply:  I have not received a copy of his proposed budget at this point. We will be looking at it closely during the weeks ahead and working closely with our representatives in the Legislature.

sac, CA:  Has rt considered sales tax measure to improve bus servive more rapidly

Reply:  RT has been working with the Sacramento Transportation Authority, and local jurisdictions to propose a new sales tax measure (Measure B) which would propose a 1/2 cent sales tax for improvements to streets and roads as well as transit in the Sacramento Region. The current goal is to take this to the voters in November 2016, for their approval. This sales tax measure would provide funding to RT for the Green Line to the Airport light rail extension capital costs, as well as operating costs once the project is completed. This would also provide funding for more Hi-Bus Rapid Transit Bus service as well.

Sacramento, CA:  When will the signs at rail stations begin showing actual times instead of scheduled times?

Reply:  RT recently began testing the prototype system for real-time train tracking. Our goal is to implement a real-time train schedule by the end of 2015.

Laguna, CA:  How is the schedule for the Blue Line extension? I remember reading on the blueline2crc website that closure of Franklin to extend the tracks across the road was supposed to be last month. When will that be now?

Reply:  Actually, it's Meadowview Road that will be closed, from Detroit Boulevard to Brookfield Drive. This will begin the evening of Friday, January 16th and last for ten days. See the following press release for details: Temporary Closure of Meadowview Road for Blue Line Light Rail Construction The closure of Franklin is currently scheduled for the month of February. The entire project is on schedule for opening in September and is significantly under budget.

Laguna, CA:  Why are the connect card kiosks at the station and not on the trains themselves like Muni's light rail trains and subways?

Reply:  With our system, we installed the station devices to make the system real-time and keep our maintenance costs lower. The devices at the light rail stations are hardwired into our system. This allows you to add value or fare to your card in real-time. Which will add passes or money to cards via the phone or web without a delay. The second issue has to do with the number of devices needed to operate the system. By installing them at stations, we need less equipment and they are readily available to use between trains by customers. Most systems have the equipment in the stations, rather than on the trains.

Sacramento, CA:  Will the LR station electronic signs ever show what is going on when there is a disruption? All we see now is how long the train will be late but does not tell why. As a rider, it is good to know and will understand better if we know why there is a disruption.

Reply:  Yes, the message signs are currently showing basic information about the situations in the system. We are continuing to improve the messaging to provide better information as we gain experience in providing useful information. We appreciate any suggestions.

Comments from Mike Wiley: 

Thank you for your questions today. The next session of Transit Talk will be held on Friday, February 6, and the first Friday of each month moving forward. Happy New Year!