Redefining “Modern” Transit
Despite the significant impact of COVID-19, SacRT kept buses and trains running to serve “essential workers” and others who needed transit to get to services, such as medical appointments and grocery stores.
The cities of Folsom, Citrus Heights and Elk Grove became full-fledged district members, SacRT’s paratransit services was transitioned back in-house and SacRT assumed ownership of the future Downtown Riverfront Streetcar project. The agency added innovative new services based on new technology. That included expanding its app-driven SmaRT Ride service, offering free high-speed Wi-Fi on buses in disadvantaged communities; launching the electric Causeway Connection bus service to Davis and the Airport Express bus using 100 percent zero emission vehicles; and offering contactless fare payment onboard light rail trains, the first in the state to do so.
In recognition of SacRT’s modernization efforts, the American Public Transportation Association named it the Outstanding Public Transportation System of the Year in 2021, the transit industry’s equivalent to the Oscar award.
SacRT in 2023 took steps on its most ambitious modernization effort yet, purchasing the first of a new fleet of low-floor light rail vehicles that will allow riders to step directly aboard the train cars from the station platform without climbing steps. That project began in January with station modifications on the Gold Line and the delivery of the first low-floor light rail vehicle in February.
The agency as well began moving forward on plans for streetcar service into West Sacramento, plans for upgrades to bus stops systemwide, and bus rapid transit to address the region’s most congested corridors.