Comments from Alane Masui:
Hello everyone, my name is Alane Masui, Assistant General Manager of Marketing and Communications, and I'll be filling in today for Mike Wiley, General Manager/CEO, who is feeling under the weather.
I would like to start the chat with some exciting news. RT will begin Phase 1 of a systemwide station improvement project on Monday, May 9, when construction begins to revitalize three light rail stations in downtown Sacramento.
The stations slated for improvements are the 7th & Capitol, 8th & K, and St. Rose of Lima Park (9th & K) stations. The construction is scheduled to be complete in September 2016.
The 7th & Capitol Station will be closed for approximately four months before a grand re-opening in September. We are encouraging passengers to use the St. Rose of Lima Park (7th & K) or 8th & O light rail stations as alternatives.
The 7th & Capitol Station is planned as the flagship station for Golden 1 Center light rail service, where RT projects thousands of people will board and alight for Sacramento Kings games, marquee concerts and other events. A complete station renovation is planned, with the addition of two new shelters, new station furniture, improved lighting and additional signage highlighting the work.
New shelters, lighting and signage are planned for the 8th & K Station. The St. Rose of Lima Park (9th & K) Station will feature new lighting and signage. These two stations will remain open during construction, with periodic closures and much of the key work occurring at night or on weekends.
RT is also finalizing plans to improve five key park-and-ride stations throughout the system: Florin, Franklin, Roseville Road, Sunrise and Watt/Manlove. The emphasis will be placed on upgrading lighting, installing additional security cameras, improving wayfinding, and improving the overall appearance of the stations.
I would also like to inform riders that RT is currently developing a plan for potential service changes effective January 1, 2017, that are consistent with goals and assumptions in RT's Preliminary Fiscal Year 2017 Operating and Capital Budget. RT staff is also looking for efficiency opportunities to streamline bus and light rail service to improve productivity standards.
The service changes may include, but are not limited to, the reduction, realignment or discontinuation of the following routes: Green Line, 2, 5, 6, 19, 21, 24, 25, 26, 28, 34, 38, 47, 51, 54, 62, 65, 74, 75, 85, 95 and the Citrus Heights City Ride.
The draft plan will be released online at sacrt.com on or before Friday, May 13 and will be available for a 30-day public review period until Monday, June 13.
RT staff will present the draft plan to the RT Board of Directors on Monday, May 23 and will present a revised plan for approval on Monday, June 27. The RT Board of Directors meetings will be held in the RT Auditorium at 1400 29th Street (at N Street) at 5:30 p.m.
RT will hold five open houses to discuss proposed service changes and receive public comments. The public can also provide comments via email, mail or phone.
For a complete list of open houses and how to provide comments, visit sacrt.com.
Will the transit talk end once you retire?
Reply: Transit Talk is a great way for the GM/CEO to interact with RT customers. I expect that the new GM/CEO will want to continue.
On October 4th, Rock and Roll Legend/Icon Paul McCartney will be performing live at the new Golden 1 Center in Downtown Sacramento at 8pm. Tickets for that show have been so well received that a second 8pm show was added the next night on October 5th. Did Regional Transit anticipate this was going to happen, and how will Regional Transit be prepared to hold around 19,000 or so concert goers on both early October Nights?
Reply: RT departments across the agency have been planning for the Golden 1 Center opening for quite some time. Before Paul McCartney arrives in town, RT will be ready. Light rail will be a popular option for many attendees and RT trains can accommodate the expected crowds. RT will add supplemental service during egress and staff will be on the system to assist customers. It will be an exciting time!
Sacramento , CA:
How soon are you going to implement Connect Card for fare payment?
Reply: The implementation date has not yet been determined. The system vendor, INIT, is currently resolving system bugs and has projected a system delivery date of late summer. The Sacramento Area Council of Government's plan is to have the ConnectCard system ready for soft launch by RT shortly thereafter.
Sacramento , CA:
Why can't the elevators at Watt I80 be replaced? Doesn't it cost RT more money to run bus shuttles every time it breaks down and to have someone come out to fix them?
Reply: The Watt/I-80 elevators are part of the original system and are showing their age. Operating shuttles in place of the elevators adds cost and takes away resources from other needs. The Facilities department is working on a long-term solution to repair the elevators and make sure that they are reliable.
Citrus Heights, CA:
Two to three years ago, I was one of 200 riders who tested out the idea of a smart card for Regional Transit and connecting transit agencies throughout the regional planning area. It has been awhile, and there is still no smart card for the Sacramento Region. Is the idea a dead one, with as much lag time as there has been. Will the concept be resurrected at all? I think RT and others would benefit from having a smart card, simply, if for no other reason, to eliminate paper and waste in area landfills. Computerizing everything and going digital on a region wide basis makes environmental sense, and everyone benefits. Do you agree? Where are we now?
Reply: The Connect Card proejct is still alive and kicking. The implementation date has not yet been determined. The system vendor, INIT, is currently resolving system bugs and has projected a system delivery date of late summer. The Sacramento Area Council of Government's plan is to have the Connect Card system ready for soft launch by RT shortly thereafter.
What is the timeline for the park and ride station improvements?
Reply: RT is finalizing plans to improve five key park-and-ride stations throughout the system: Florin, Franklin, Roseville Road, Sunrise and Watt/Manlove. The emphasis will be placed on upgrading lighting, installing additional security cameras, improving wayfinding, and improving the overall appearance of the stations. We expect to complete the work by October 2016.
Why does RT have one the highest disabled fare rates in the nation?
Reply: The federal government requires that transit operators provide a 50 percent discount for Senior and Disabled single rides. RT's fare policy provides an even greater opportunity by providing a 50 percent discount for all Senior and Disabled passenger fares.
As you are aware, the RT Board of Directors approved a fare increase effective July 1, 2016, which raises the base fare with corresponding increases to Senior and Disabled fares. This increase was based on many factors. RT has not raised fares in over seven years, while the cost of providing service has increased over this time due to inflationary costs in goods and services. Even with raising these fares, RT expects to only recover approximately 23 percent of the costs through fares. The remaining costs need to be covered from other state, local and federal funds. RT, as compared to other transit agencies in the nation, receives the lowest amount of local support to cover the operating cost. Therefore, RT is in a tough postion, which is that we need to find a balance between raising the rates to meet costs while meeting the needs of our riders.
Initially, RT was not going to conduct a fair exchange for RT tickets expiring 6/30/16, which dismayed many who purchased more tickets than could be used by the expiration date. However, I have since heard that RT may do the ticket exchange after all. Can you confirm that? Thanks.
Reply: RT previously announced that pre-paid tickets and passes with a June 30, 2016 expiration date would not be exchanged for new fare media. The current pre-paid tickets and passes were set to expire with the expected implementation of the Sacramento region's Connect Card electronic fare payment system. Regional partners continue to prepare for the implementation of the Sacramento region’s Connect Card; however, RT will now need to conduct a pre-paid ticket and pass exchange.
From June 1 through August 31, 2016, customers may exchange current, unvalidated Basic and Discount single fare tickets or daily passes (June 30, 2016 expiration date) for new fare media (June 30, 2017 expiration date) at the RT Customer Service and Sales Center.
Additional payment for new fare media may be required due to the RT fare increase effective July 1, 2016. For more information, please visit our website at sacrt.com.
Hi! I'm a regular rider on the blue line. I'd like to inquire on what RTs future plans are regarding the continued breakdown of the elevators at Watt and I-80 station. I am disabled and can't use the stairs. There is sometimes a shuttle bus but I can't always tell what bus is a shuttle because they aren't labeled and there is no schedule for them. What is the management at RT doing to address the dilapidated elevators?
Reply: The Watt/I-80 elevators are currently an issue that we are working to resolve. In an earlier response, I explained that the elevators are part of the original system and are showing their age. The Facilities department is working on a long-term solution to repair the elevators and make sure that they are reliable.
Sacramento , CA:
Will the proposed sales tax measure , with matching State & Fed funds, get the Greenline to the airport? Or will another "ask" be required to complete the line?
Reply: The proposed sales tax measure would significantly help RT with its plan to provide service from downtown Sacramento to the Sacramento International Airport. The cost to construct this light rail extension would not be solely funded by a sales tax measure. There would be a need for matching funds. Historically, RT has requested federal funds and would continue to pursue this as an option. Depending on what funds are made available, there may be a need for another local match.
Sacramento , CA:
At the Roseville station the shorter lights seemed to be on. The taller lights are out (or the switch is off) when will these lights be replaced?
Reply: As of last week, we have replaced light bulbs throughout the parking lot and platform. However, there are a few tall light poles in the lot that have had the power turned off so that we can make further repairs. I'm happy to share with you that the Roseville Road Station has been chosen to receive LED lighting platforms. This will occur later this year and is part of our systemwide improvements. Should you observe lights out at any time at our stations, you may report these to the Customer Advocacy department at 916-557-4545.
I live off of the hourly eastern segment of the 25,and it has come to my attention that another possible alignment change could be in the works(though productivity is within standards).The 25,while somewhat improved in recent years,has long been deemed inadequate even before underperforming service was rationalized over the years,and not surprisingly even more mostly-weekday underperforming routes face likely discontinuation.Will the 25's 30-minute segment change or remain the same?
Reply: RT staff regularly monitors service productivity and considers potential changes to improve productivity and access. RT is currently considering major changes for implementation in January 2017 that will result in operational savings. RT's draft FY17 budget includes $1 million in savings from service reductions. The list of candidate service changes, including possible changes to Route 25, has not yet been finalized. A full list of potential service changes will be posted online by Friday, May 13. RT staff is considering elimination and reduction of routes, as well as other changes that may result in operational savings.
Please check RT's website over the course of the next few weeks for updates. You can find the schedule for approval of service changes for implementation in January 2017 at http://iportal.sacrt.com/WebApps/SRTDBM/MeetingDocs/Archives/RT%20Board%20of%20Directors%20-%20April%2025,%202016%20-%20Agenda%20Item%2016.pdf.
What funding, if any, will SacRT be receiving from the recently signed FAST (Fixing America's Surface Transportation) Act?
Reply: RT generally receives three types of federal revenues that can be used for operating purposes. RT receives Urbanized Area formula funds, State of Good Repair funds, and Job Access Reverse Commute funds.
The FAST Act will provide RT with an additional $1.3 million of State of Good Repair funds, but at the same time RT will be losing approximately $640,000 of Urbanized Area formula funds.
This is a net increase in FY 2016 operating revenues of approximately $700,000.
While I am aware that you are closing 7th and K Light Rail and renovating 7th and Capitol in anticipation of the Golden 1 Center's Opening, will bus service resume on L Street or will they continue to go down Capitol?
Reply: RT works with local municipalities for approval of bus stop placement. RT is not currently able to -- and is not planning to -- return service to L Street in the western portion of downtown Sacramento.
Rancho Cordova, CA:
As a daily rider, it really does not sit well with me to read about possible service cuts to my route, while you talk about serving concerts at the Golden One Center. Does it bother RT management at all?s
Reply: RT has been presented with an opportunity for growth of the entire system in providing service to the Golden 1 Center in downtown Sacramento. The service will bring riders to the light rail and bus system that may have never considered using RT before. The additional riders will increase overall revenue that will benefit the entire system.
The RT Board and RT management are very focused on providing transit service that meets the needs of the region. However, we must meet standards for productivity and passenger fare recovery. Therefore, service is evaluated on a routine basis for productivity. As this time, the Board is considering a service reduction for service that does not meet standards and other efficieny improvements. At the same time, gas prices have decreased significantly causing more people to use their cars instead of transit, resulting in decreased ridership overall and a decrease in state funding based on a diesel sales tax.
I don't know if this has been brought up to the board or planning department,but Sunday evening bus trips departing during the 8 PM hour should be reviewed,especially certain inbound trips that miss the last Sunday trains and and other connections(this is definitely an issue with the last Sunday inbound trips on 1,23,82,and possibly other routes.Outbound night trips don't usually have this issue.
Reply: RT considers, but is not always able to provide connections to all services. Your comment will be shared with RT's Planning and Scheduling departments.
Hi, I have been thinking of this idea for a while. would it be possible to combine the RT Tracker with the Apple built-in maps on the iOS and Mac OSX?
Reply: RT Tracker is actually a commercial product manufactured by Clever Devices, Inc. Unfortunately, RT staff does not have the ability to make changes to the application.
Sacramento , CA:
How about free wifi at stations, buses & trains. Government free smartphones have very limited data plans, but the devices can be a very handy RT tool .
Reply: Based on experiences from other transit agencies, RT staff has recommended against providing free Wi-Fi at light rail stations.
Wi-Fi on transit vehicles would be a very nice amenity, but unfortunately it is very expensive to provide and implementing this would take RT further away from its goal of providing financial resources to enhance safety and security on buses and trains.
When will maintenance be done on the Roseville Road Station parking lot? The parking space striping has needed to be redone for years. The lines are nearly invisible. In addition, the lot lights have not worked for several weeks.
Reply: As mentioned in an earlier answer, as of last week, we have replaced light bulbs throughout the parking lot and platform. However, there are a few tall light poles in the lot that have had the power turned off so that we can make further repairs. I'm happy to share with you that the Roseville Road Station has been chosen to receive LED lighting platforms. This will occur later this year and is part of our systemwide improvements. Should you observe lights out at any time at our stations, you may report these to the Customer Advocacy department at 916-557-4545.
Comments from Alane Masui:
That's all the time we have for today's chat. Thank you for participating and the next session of Transit Talk with the General Manager will be held on Friday, June 3, from noon to 1 p.m.