Interested in improving mobility in Sacramento? You might want to join SacRT’s free Transit Academy

August 21, 2023 SacRT Blog

Are you a business or political leader interested in improving mobility in Sacramento? A transit rider curious about how the Sacramento Regional Transit District (SacRT) makes service decisions? Or simply a bus and train buff who wants an inside look at our operations?

Here’s your chance. SacRT is hosting a free Transit Academy in September and October, offering a handful of participants a behind-the-scenes education on what goes into operating the largest public transit company in the region.

“You get to peek behind the curtains,” said Fayzah Mughal of Rancho Cordova, a SacRT rider and community activist who participated in a recent Transit Academy. “I learned things I had no idea about as a rider.”

The five-session course will take place on Wednesday evenings, between September 27 to October 25, 2023 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

SacRT is a complex and dynamic organization. We have over 1,300 employees, and operate more than 500 vehicles serving 82 bus routes and 53 light rail stations all within a 440-square mile service area throughout Sacramento County, which includes service in the cities of Sacramento, Citrus Heights, Elk Grove, Folsom and Rancho Cordova. Pre-pandemic, we carried approximately 22 million riders a year.

Participants will learn how we organize all that activity, as well as how we plan, fund, and govern our operations, and get the latest updates on some of our big plans, such as our Light Rail Modernization Project, transit-oriented development partnerships, and a possible new “Bus Rapid Transit” system. You’ll have the opportunity to engage in important conversations each week with SacRT staff from different departments and take field trips to key transit sites.

SacRT General Manager/CEO Henry Li calls the academy a two-way education with long-term benefits.

“Our graduates are influential voices in the community who can help improve the quality of life for our region’s residents by reducing congestion, improving air quality, creating jobs, and making Sacramento a more inclusive and equitable community,” Li said.

For instance, academy members will learn about our key equity initiatives, including our groundbreaking RydeFreeRT program offering fare-free transit to 265,000 youth daily on all of our services.

Recent academy graduate Mughal, a community activist, said she came away impressed with SacRT officials’ willingness to engage when she probed ways to expand and improve service.

“They were really game,” Mughal said. “They really rolled with me.” Mughal is using her Transit Academy education to expand her ability to be an advocate on mobility, equity and governance issues in her city of Rancho Cordova.

To be eligible for the academy, you must be 18 or older that live within SacRT’s service area. Past academy graduates include business owners, students, community leaders, institutional representatives, and local elected office holders.

Marissa Barber, who works in the UC Davis Health Green Commuter Program, attended a recent SacRT Transit Academy and said it’s helped her in her work advising UC Davis employees and students about their work transportation options.

“I’ve always wanted to benefit my community in some role, in some job,” she said. “That led me to this role with UC Davis Health – I especially enjoy the sustainability focus – and it’s what led me to the Transit Academy.”

But she also just got a kick out of field trips, including going to the maintenance facility and watching SacRT crews work in the maintenance bays under the buses and trains. “It’s really cool to see what happens behind the scenes,” she said.

During the upcoming Transit Academy, participants will take a train ride and walking tour of the region’s most successful “transit-oriented” community at 65th Street and be part of the discussion of how and where similar communities might be built in Sacramento.

You’ll also become knowledgeable about how a transit agency prepares for California’s “zero-carbon” fleet of the future. And you’ll meet our transit security chiefs and see how they and their staff use the latest technology, combined with face-to-face interactions, to keep our system safe and secure.

Academy graduate Barber of UC Davis Health says she now understands the complexity of running a transit district, but also the potential for SacRT to play a bigger part of a better future in Sacramento. “I think the ideal future is where transit can be the default option,” she said.

Applications for SacRT’s upcoming Transit Academy are being accepted until Monday, Sept. 4.  

Applications may be submitted through the online application or dropped off/mailed to:

Sacramento Regional Transit District
Attention: Marketing Department – Transit
1400 29th Street
Sacramento, CA 95816

Learn more at sacrt.com/transitacademy.

Hear from Transit Academy Graduates