SacRT Builds Back

February 17, 2023 General


SacRT struggled financially during the first half of the 2010 decade amid continued economic headwinds from the lingering Great Recession. In 2016; however, with the arrival of a new General Manager/CEO, Henry Li, SacRT launched major reforms, with a strong focus on fiscal optimization and customers first, to stabilize its budget and to improve vehicle cleanliness, passenger security and safety, and increased reliability. 

Those measures allowed SacRT to increase bus and light rail service seven days a week, including special late-night trains for patrons of the new Golden 1 Center arena, and more service to underserved communities. The addition of “transit ambassadors” onboard trains and more security at stations, including the installation of a public address system at all light rail stations and over 1,000 live-feed cameras lowered fare evasion and crime rates to minimal levels and provided a more comfortable ride. 

SacRT also launched on-demand microtransit service called SmaRT Ride, which quickly became the largest microtransit service in the country with nine service zones.  

The agency also began offering year-round fare-free rides to all students in Transitional Kindergarten through 12th grade, including foster and homeless youth, with its RydeFreeRT program, the first unrestricted fare-free for youth program in the nation. Ridership reached a historic high of approximately 22 million a year. 

In 2019, the American Public Transportation Association honored SacRT General Manager Henry Li as outstanding transit manager of the year nationally, the highest honor given to only one CEO in North America each year and he received the Good Governance Award from the Sacramento Taxpayers Association for outstanding leadership in defending taxpayer funds.