Transit Talk with the General Manager

November 06, 2015
Mike Wiley, General Manager/CEO
General Transit Questions
Opening Remarks:
Transit Talk with the General Manager will be live from noon to 1 p.m. We are accepting questions now through the end of the chat.

Comments from Mike Wiley: 

Thank you for joining today's session of Transit Talk. To begin, I would like to encourage everyone interested in the changes being considered for the St. Rose of Lima Park (7th & K) light rail station to provide feedback.

The significant changes and new developments that are underway in downtown Sacramento provide a great opportunity for RT and our region, but the increase in foot traffic poses some challenges for the St. Rose of Lima Park (7th & K) Station in its current configuration. The curve of the track caused by the corner location, small sidewalks, overall lack of space and sightlines, and other issues call for decisions to be made.

Proposed alternatives being discussed include renovating the current St. Rose of Lima Park (7th & K) Station and making operational changes during events to mitigate crowds. The second alternative suggests moving the station boarding area north of K Street, which would provide ample space, but may conflict with development plans. The third option is to close the station permanently and direct passengers to the nearby 7th & Capitol Station. The fourth alternative is to close the station for major events only and direct passengers to the 7th & Capital Station.

RT staff is conducting outreach in order to ensure ample public input and dialogue surrounding the issue.

Information Fair Tuesday, November 10 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. St. Rose of Lima Park (7th & K) Station 7th Street at K Street

Open House Tuesday, November 17 Noon to 6 p.m. Tsakopoulos Library Galleria 828 I Street, Sacramento

An online survey and more information about the proposed changes can be found at

In addition to working on downtown light rail station improvements, RT is actively working to improve the overall riding experience for passengers. On October 26, the RT Board of Directors approved updating the RT Administrative Code pertaining to the Rules for Use of RT Light Rail and Bus Vehicles and Facilities.

This "code of conduct" sets forth rules, which customers must abide by in order to use the system. They are not laws, but are designed to address nuisance behaviors that interfere with passengers' privacy and/or the safe, pleasant, convenient and efficient provision of transit services.

The goal of the updates is to address common courtesy in an effort to make riding RT a more enjoyable and attractive experience for our customers. Based on input from the public, law enforcement and RT staff, updates were made adding the following prohibitions:
  • Boarding a vehicle unless clothed above and below the waist, and wearing footwear that has a sole (clarification of an existing rule)
  • Sleeping on a train that has reached the end of a light rail line
  • Playing sound equipment that is audible to other passengers
These updates were incorporated with rules already in place that address other nuisance behaviors, including:
  • Placing one's feet on the seat of a vehicle or placing any article on the seat that would leave grease, oil, paint or any other substances on the seat
  • Soliciting money from other persons
  • Exhibiting, offering or displaying any object or merchandise for sale
A complete list can be found here.

The code of conduct is usually enforced by asking a person to comply. If an individual refuses, they are asked to leave the vehicle or premises. If they refuse to leave, they may be removed by authorized personnel using the least amount of force necessary.

Feel free to ask about the St. Rose of Lima changes, the "code of conduct" updates or any general transit questions.

Sacramento, CA:  What is the status of the Sacramento area going from today's way of paying fares to more of a "smart card" type of a way of paying fares? I have the Bay Area Clipper Card as well as a Los Angeles Tap Card. I never have to have the exact change to ride, thanks to this. They are both "awesome" to put it mildly for you.

Reply:  We are working on completing our Connect Card program. This is the regional smart card for all of the transit systems in the Sacramento area. The vendor is working toward completing the system. They have had a number of challenges, but the current target is to begin final testing by the end of the year and pilot test in January with a full go live in March. We are also moving forward with a mobile ticketing application, which should begin this December. With this application (available in the Apple store or from Google for androids later this month), customers will be able to buy day passes and single ride tickets with their smart phones. We plan to begin marketing the application within the next 30 days. Watch for the marketing campaign and our press releases about the new phone app.

Citrus Heights, CA:  When will Route 21 provide early morning weekend service north of the Sunrise Mall? What service change date should this be anticipated for in our city?

Reply:  It's a high priority, but there's a cost associated with it, and we have been having to use reserves just to cover our expenses, so there is no timetable right now for this or any other service expansion. Our organizational focus right now is on developing new revenue streams and finding opportunities for savings so we can go back to an annual growth model.

South Sacramento, CA:  Do you anticipate a "transfer agreement" to be implemented anytime soon with South County Transit, now that they are reachable via the Blue Line, and have been, since August 24th? I would like to see a "friendly agreement" with them in place real soon. Thank you.

Reply:  The RT Board approved a transfer agreement with South County Transit some time ago. However, the management staff of South County Transit has decline to enter into such an agreement. RT ready and willing to execute such an agreement, but without the support of South County our hands are tied.

Sacramento, CA:  When are RT going to stop all the people listening to cellphone music on external speakers or without earphones? So many rude people on the Watt I-80- train both ways. No security on the trains early in the morning or the evening, not that they do anything anyway....

Reply:  The RT Board just passed a new ordinance requiring riders to discontinue using external speakers on their music devices. RT's Police Services team is currently doing an education campaign and soft enforcement until the end of the year. On January 1st, they plan to begin regular enforcement. We will be implementing a reporting application that will allow you to quietly report misbehavior on your smart phone. We expect to have this available for Android and Apple phones by January. The application will allow reporting problems including cleanliness and behavior issues.

Sacramento, CA:  4:50am train to Consumes College from Roseville Road, NEVER on time, always at least 2-3 minutes late.....

Reply:  RT does not have a published schedule with a train in service at Roseville Road headed to Cosumnes River College at 4:50 a.m. The first trip is scheduled to pick up passengers at Roseville Road at approximately 5:05 a.m.

Sacramento, CA:  Howdy Mike, bummed to hear about your retirement! But alas, one cannot work forever. Recent letters to The Bee have pointed out how dirty the interiors of LRT cars are. In my daily observation, the LRT car interiors need much more cleaning attention than the stations. When I first started riding the system, I do not recall being so 'bummed' about the interior LRT conditions. I'd guess that interior cleaning had to be decreased as a result of Great Recession. Can we expect LRT interiors to be cleaner soon, as budget improves? In particular, what needs much attention is 1) the gunk build-up in the grooves of the linoleum floors, 2) the cracks between the seats and car walls, and 3) the crevice between seatback and seat bottom. Thx, David VA

Reply:  Thank you for your positive feedback. My observations are consistent with yours. We are in the process of changing all of the seats from cloth to vinyl This will allow us to keep the seats cleaner, as well as to address some of the issues you have raised. The RT Board has established quality service as a top priority. As additional resources become available we will be continuing to enhance our cleaning.

Sacramento, CA:  I ride the Goldline to get to work and back. I have witnessed many times your security guards playing on their phones, smoking at the lightrail stations 16 th st and Watt/Manlove, and trying to pick up girls at Watt/Manlove. The regular light rail cops are few and far between. They spend most of their time after the homeless and girls with service animals to the point I have to explain the law to them. No one is enforcing the smoking ban. No one is keeping six bikes off the end of one car so people can board. What does RT plan to do to address these issues?

Reply:  It would be great if you could report these incidences when you see them. We have a tip line you can text at 916 556-0275. We are also going to have a smart phone reporting application, which will be live by the end of the year. Using the new app, riders will be able to take pictures and send text comments when they see a problem. Our hope is have customers use the new application to report the types of issues you listed and cleanliness issues with pictures. The reports will help us with discipline in the event staff is doing what you saw. The application will be available from the Apple and Google stores for Android and IOS devices. Look for this by the end of December.

Sacramento, CA:  Looking backin your tenure at RT, the last few years saw deep reductionsin bus ridership and transit connectivity in the city's most transit dependent neighborhoods. Whats the best way to make sure your successor does not have to make the same draconian cuts to service?

Reply:  The recession hit RT very hard. our operating budget dropped from $147,000,000 in 2007 to $107,000,000 in 2010. That's a 40% loss in three short years. This loss required sever cuts across the board. We have recovered some and have added some new service, however we are not back to the level we once were. We are working hard to maintain fiscal sustainability so that we avoid future cuts. The most important issue for transit in Sacramento is to be very focused on increasing our local financial commitment to transit. Sacramento Regional Transit is significantly underfunded compared to every major metropolitan system in California. Voters in every major community have approved a dedicated sales tax of between 1/2 cent and 1 and 1/2 cent dedicated to public transit. In Sacramento we receive about 1/6 cent. At this level of support RT will continue to be underfunded and Sacramento will be underserved.

Sacramento, CA:  Wondering why there is no notification when RT just "pulls" a train out of the mix. Yesterday the 4:40pm to Watt/I-80 never showed at 13th street and then 2 train loads of people were crammed onto the next train...You want to increase ridership but all the same problems exist and are getting worse..

Reply:  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 our best attempt at communicating this throughout several different channels; however, there are times that we fail in doing this. We will look to communicate this information in the future. To assist with this we are currently recruiting to fill a new position of a person to be in charge of social media. This will allow us to be more fully focused on getting out fast, reliable information regarding our service disruptions. We are also currently testing a real time application for all of our trains. We expect to complete this test and begin installation of real time reporting on all of our trains in January. We should all have access to real time train reporting by June.

Sacramento , CA:  I am a California Peace Officer with the Department of Corrections. Someone told me that Peace Officers are allowed to ride RT without charge, as long as you have a badge in order to show this. I was hoping you could either confirm or deny.

Reply:  Peace officers need to have valid fare to ride RT. However, the State of California does offer their employees a subsidy to ride RT, reducing the cost to the employee significantly. You may want to see if your worksite has a transportation coordinator who can help you in receiving the transit subsidy. Thank you for the question and interest in riding RT.

Sacramento, CA:  Why is 7th & K curve used to justify closure when only blue line uses it and will be replaced in 2-3 yrs when rerouted to H St?

Reply:  The narrow pinch point at the southeast corner of 7th & K Streets (and the heavier volumes of foot traffic that we will see there once the Golden 1 Center opens) is one reason why we are considering closing the 7th & K Street station; however, it's not the only reason. Another concern we have had is that when trains are stopped there after G1 events, the train will be in a bad spot, right in the middle of a heavy flow of pedestrians leaving the G1 center. Because there will be a lot of people actually taking the trains, these will be full 4-car trains (not the usual 2-car trains we run at night) and the train will probably also be standing there 2-3 minutes while people board. We have been concerned that this might be a recipe for problems such as coupler jumping, especially if G1 attendees have been drinking. Keep in mind, Kings games are also at night during the Fall/Winter when the days are short. Keep in mind also that even compared to other cities like Phoenix and San Francisco with street railways, ours are a little unique downtown in that they operate right on a city street, in mixed flow, with boarding not from an elevated platform, but directly from a city sidewalk. This really makes it more challenging in general for us to keep people away from the tracks, especially since the street will be closed to regular vehicular traffic, making it even more like one large pedestrian mall. These and a couple other issues may not be complete deal breakers as we certainly could address them with more security personnel, more stanchions and barriers, etc., but it just so happens that we also have some alternatives that might not work too badly. Ever since the 7th & K Street station was moved from K Street to 7th Street, we have had a bit of an issue with it being too close to the 7th & Capitol station. It's really not normal for a light rail system to have stops just one block apart from one another. We have debated for several years closing one or the other station, but to date, there has never been an overwhelming reason to pull the trigger. But now, it turns out that this may be an opportunity for us, because the 7th & Capitol station gives us a pretty decent alternative if we decided to close 7th & K. In Indianapolis and other cities, where they have had huge crowds from the Super Bowl at a facility with transit directly adjacent, they made decisions that for the event, they would relocate the service another block or two away, just to provide a little more space and as sort of a buffer for all the dense crowds do decompress. What they found was that this really helped make the entire operation run a lot more smoothly for passengers and the bus operators. In RT's case, the 7th & Capitol station is only a little farther away that 7th & K, but by getting a little farther away, it helps get the trains and all the activity associated with loading the trains just far enough away from the "epicenter" at 7th & K that we see this being potentially a very simple and effective solution. Keep in mind also that 7th Street and L Street will be closed after major G1 events, so there will be a lot of space for people to move about, and this will not be directly in the path of a lot of non-transit pedestrian flows, such as at K Street, where there is expected to be a great deal of people walking east to other entertainment destinations. None of this is a foregone conclusion. That's why we're going out for public input. The other option which I won't even get into is relocating the station north slightly, so that it's between J and K Streets. The bottom line is that the City and the G1 Center have raised this with us as a concern of theirs, just as it is a concern for us, and we are respecting their wishes and taking their concerns seriously. I hope that you'll give it some thought and help us arrive at the best decision.

Sacramento, CA:  Why is 7th/K grade an access problem now but ADA ramp is not on grade and ppl currently board there without incident?

Reply:  The issue with the grade at the 7th & K Street station is part of a number of issues with the station which combine to make us consider closing the station. Please see my response to the other question on 7th & K for some detail on those other issues. With respect to the grade, it's true that the station and the ramp are both open for business and used every day. We are just pointing out that that particular location for a station, which is on a fairly steeply graded street, is always going to be less than ideal, as grade changes necessarily make for some differences in boarding height, and there is pretty much nothing that can be done about it short of completely rebuilding significant parts of the entire roadway, sidewalk, and possibly even the adjacent buildings.

Sacramento, CA:  can the signaling be looked at on the green line at 7th street and north B? When a northbound train goes through the intersection, the flashing “train coming” light comes on, as it should. After the train has passed, it stops flashing, but then about 30 seconds later it flashes again, even though there’s no train; then stops, and then several seconds later, starts flashing a third time. During the evening commute, this causes traffic to needlessly back up all the way to F street, because there has been a red light for northbound traffic during this whole process.

Reply:  I've forwarded your observation to our wayside team. They maintain and repair our signaling system.

Sacramento, CA:  I think you should put out s survey about the way people feel about the new buses, I have not heard one good comment on them yet

Reply:  RT's customer advocacy team is collecting comments. Before we purchased the buses, they were reviewed for ADA compliance and the MAC (Mobility Access Committee spent a great deal of time working with staff to ensure that the design was compatible with our use. I have personally ridden many of these buses in service and received nothing but positive comments from our customers. Clearly there are different opinions.

Sacramento, CA:  what assurances can you give we will not be harrassed to kicked off the train when we report your employee misconduct? Sheep complaining to the wolf too much?

Reply:  The app is set up so that you can remain anonymous. We can reply to you via text messages, but the software is setup so the that officers managing the video control and dispatch area are not able to see your personal contact info or your phone number unless you choose to share it.

Folsom, CA:  Last month I participated and asked about later service hours on the Gold Line to be consistent, and not just on nights when the Golden 1 Center is holding events. I appreciate the answer you gave to me, and yet was a bit intrigued to read your answer at the same time. As a result, I wanted to ask you a follow-up question on this topic. Will you "publicly" be bringing either an information or action item on Folsom Service Contract to the SacRT Board of Directors, as well as the Folsom City Council within the next sixty to ninety days or so? I would like to follow this really closely, and hope for a great outcome for the riders and the stakeholders as well. Thank you.

Reply:  I can not provide you with a date as to when we might bring this issue ot our Board or the Foslom City Council. There is still a great deal of work that needs to be done. At the end of the day both RT and Folsom will need to agree to make changes.

sacramento , CA:  Can rt post speed limits on for trains on every block of rail i see the trains speed varries upon driver of the light rail. The speeds shouldnt ever differ please post speed limit signs for the train operator to see i also think at the grade crossings in between college greens and powerinn where the trains sound the horn when they go by should have a slower speed limit at that crossing because it is so dangerous at that crossing compared to most crossings

Reply:  All of our train operators are fully aware of the speeds that they are allowed to operate. Where appropriate, speed limit signs have been posted. At this point, the most significant issue we face is pedestrians bicyclists and motorists being distracted by their cell phones and other electronic devices. Sacramentan's need to unplug and become aware of their surroundings. They might actually enjoy their community more fully.

Sacramento, CA:  bus # 84 keeps getting more and more crowded in AM route from Antelope to LR station, is there any plans to add more frequency instead of every hour?

Reply:  We actually have plans in January to make some adjustments to Route 80 and 84. As you probably know, we changed Route 84 in September to use Watt Avenue direct to the Watt/Manlove station. We have some changes lined up for January that are primarily to make the operations and the schedule a little more smooth, but they may also end up yielding a few extra trips, which may help with the loading. Keep an eye out toward the end of the year, as we'll be posting information on a change in the pick-up location for Routes 80 and 84 at the Watt/Manlove station, and both schedules may be changing effective January 3, 2016.

rancho cordova , CA:  Bus 72 does not match up with the goldline can you please ajust the schedule so we can connect to the 72 at mather and manlove i always miss my trains and the busses because they dont match up

Reply:  This issue was raised a couple months ago, and we have looked into it, but right now, we don't see a way to fix your issue without making other connections worse.

Sacramento, CA:  Sorry 5:50am train to Consumes College from Roseville Road, NEVER on time, always at least 2-3 minutes late.....

Reply:  RT holds operators to the time points posted on the main website and the pocket timetables. They are not allowed to leave those points early and should arrive as listed in our schedules. However, the mobile app does list approximate arrival times for trains at all the stations. The time point for Roseville Road listed on the mobile app is an approximate time point allowing for some leeway in the arrival and departure of the train.

Sacramento, CA:  The new ordinances about noise are great but never anyone there to enforce them, the security guards do nothing apart from hit on women etc as stated in a previous example

Reply:  The new ordinance was approved by the RT Board just a bit over a week ago. This change was made to give our team the ability to enforce some noise control. We plan to try to enforce this to make the rider experience better.

rosemont, CA:  Can you add more services on the 72 on the weekends i think 6 and 7 is to early to stop on weekends and sundays oppose to the 21 providing service atleast alittle later than the 72

Reply:  We do not specifically have later service on Route 72 on Saturdays and Sundays on our list, but in general, later evening service is a big goal for us, along with better headways on our core routes on the weekends (especially Sundays). As mentioned in an earlier post, there is a cost associated with any service expansion, and we have been having to use reserves just to cover our expenses, so there is no timetable right now for service expansion. But this is something we will add to our list for when we are able to get our budget back into an expansion mode, which is what we are really focusing on right now.

sacramento , CA:  I cant text to report anything on my metro phone

Reply:  Please paste this link into your browser ( for instruction on how to text in a tip. If you need further instruction or don't have text capability at all, please call 916-321-2877 for assistance or you can also call in a tip at 916-556-0275.

Comments from Mike Wiley: 

Thank you for you questions and I hope to hear from you at 2015's final session of Transit Talk with the General Manager on Friday, December 4.