SacRT Celebrates 50 Years

May 10, 2023 General, SacRT in Community

Our Golden Anniversary  

April 1, 2023 marked SacRT’s 50th anniversary of operation, and we’re celebrating this important milestone by looking back at our history and celebrating what is still to come.  

SacRT has played an integral role in generations of Sacramentans and has been woven into the fabric of daily life across the Sacramento region.  


To kick-off the celebration, SacRT offered Free Transit Tuesdays on fixed-route bus and light rail every Tuesday during the month of April 2023, on April 4, April 11, April 18 and April 25.   

We hosted public pop-up events at different light rail stations and transit centers across the region during April and May.  In April, SacRT launched a special 50th anniversary edition bus and light rail train. Make sure to step on board for an immersive experience, as both the bus and train feature decals dotted with QR codes that will virtually connect riders to stories and videos about our history and achievements.   

50 Years Ago: 

In 1973, a loaf of bread cost 27 cents, a gallon of gas cost 38 cents and a single trip on the bus cost 25 cents.  

In April of the same year, the Sacramento Regional Transit District (SacRT) began operation, taking over for the City owned Sacramento Transit Authority.   

On The Page:  

  • SacRT Milestones Timeline
  • SacRT by the Decades 
  • 50th Anniversary Events
  • Share Your SacRT Story
  • Play SacRT's Transit Trivia
  • Blog Post: A great agency is made up of great employees. Meet SacRT veterans Anita, Joyce, and Bonifacio
  • Blog Post: Sacramento Regional Transit turns 50 this year. We’re sharing the experience from those who were there.
  • 50 Year Edition Bus and Train Schedule

  • SacRT Milestones Timeline 

    1970s - 1972: City of Sacramento recommends expanding city transit authority into a ‘regional’ system, state authorizing legislation passed. 1973: April 1 – Sacramento Regional Transit District begins operation, taking over for the City owned Sacramento Transit Authority.   25 cents Love-a-Fare Promotional Campaign   1974: Ridership more than doubles to 45,000 daily. Service expanded to connect to the cities of Roseville and Folsom.   1975: Fares reduced for youth, seniors and disabled.   1977: SacRT opens new office building at 29th & N Streets (1400 29th Street).  1979: SacRT opens first transit center with timed bus transfer at Florin Mall.
    1980s 1980: SacRT gets an all air-conditioned bus fleet.   1981: Sacramento Transit Development Agency is created to build Light Rail system.   1982: Buses with wheelchair lifts introduced. 1983: Construction begins on light rail.  1985: New Light Rail Division opens.  1987: Light Rail service begin on the 18.3-mile starter line. 1988: Voters pass Measure A Sales Tax for roads and transit (1/6 cent for transit).  1989: Major service expansion results in significant ridership increases. 
    1990s 1991: SacRT procures 10 new light rail cars (36 total).   1992: Construction of Compressed Natural Gas fueling facility begins.  1993: SacRT establishes a Police Services department and receives APTA’s “Best Mid-Sized System of the Year” award. 1998: SacRT celebrates its 25th Anniversary and Light Rail extension to Mather Field/Mills Station in completed.   1999: Groundbreaking for South Corridor Project (first phase of Blue Line). 
    2000s 2000: Crews lay first section of South Corridor Project track and Neighborhood Ride shuttle begins service.   2002: SacRT receives the first 24 (of 40) new light rail vehicles for Blue Line opening. 2003: The 6.3-mile South Sacramento Blue Line Corridor Project is completed.  2004: SacRT completes conversion to all CNG buses.   2005: Light rail extension to the city of Folsom opens and representatives from the Cities of Elk Grove, Citrus Heights and Folsom join the SacRT Board. Also, the Mobility Advisory Council (MAC) was formed as a voluntary advisory body. 2006: The Sacramento Valley Station opens and the new SacRT Customer Service and Sales Center opens.   2007: SacRT celebrates the 20th Anniversary of Light Rail.  2008: SacRT marks its 35th Anniversary and experiences record ridership.   2009: SacRT breaks ground on the construction of the Green Line to the River District and Rancho Cordovan service began.
    2010s 2011: Electronic Message Signs at key light rail stations go live.   2012: The Green Line to the River District opens and SacRT partners with the City of Citrus Heights to offer “City Ride” dial-a-ride shuttle service.   2013: A second CNG fueling facility opens at McClellan Business Park and construction begins on the Blue Line to Cosumnes River College.   2015: The Blue Line to Consumnes River College light rail extension opens. 2016: SacRT implemented the “Paid Fare Zone” program at light rail stations, and introduces the region’s transit smartcard called Connect Card.  SacRT redoubles efforts focused on cleanliness, safety and convenience. 2017: SacRT reduces student fare, launches “rolling art” wrapped light rail trains and introduced the ZipPass mobile fare app.   2018: Folsom transit services annexes into SacRT, SmaRT Ride on-demand microtransit begins, and SacRT lowers fare for the first time in agency’s 47-year history.   2019: Citrus Heights transit services annexes into SacRT, SacRT redesigns bus network with SacRT Forward, launches a fare-free transit program for youth, RydeFreeRT.  
    2020s 2020: SacRT launches express bus service to the airport, begins Causeway Connection service to the City of Davis, SacRT brought back paratransit services in-house, and SacRT offers Wi-Fi buses for riders to access free high-speed internet at the start of the pandemic.   2021: SacRT receives APTA’s “Outsanding Public Transportation System of the Year” award, Elk Grove transit services annexed into SacRT, and SacRT launches contactless fare payment on light rail trains, the first in the state.  2022: SacRT celebrates first student housing Transit Oriented Development and launches Bus Stop Improvement project.   2023: SacRT celebrates 50 years of service and the delivery of the first of up to 70 new modern low-floor light rail vehicles.

    SacRT by the Decades  

    50th Anniversary Events 

    To honor our history and, most importantly, to say "thank you" to all of you who we serve, SacRT held pop-up events at light rail stations and transit center throughout the month of April and May 2023.  

    We plan to continue celebrating our 50th Anniversary throughout the year and plan to hold larger community events in the coming months to showcase our new low-floor light rail trains.  

    Share Your SacRT Story 

    We would love to hear your story about your first-time riding SacRT or a special memory you have. Click the button to complete an online form.

    Play SacRT's Transit Trivia!

    How well do you know the Sacramento Regional Transit District? Try our 50th Anniversary Transit Trivia quiz
    If you score 100% on this quiz, you will be entered for a chance to win a prize. Scores will be provided after you submit your answers.

    Transit Trivia Button

     Blog Post: A great agency is made up of great employees. Meet SacRT veterans Anita, Joyce, and Bonifacio

    photo collage of SacRT employees

    The Sacramento Regional Transit District (SacRT) is a seasoned and experienced agency with a 50-year record of public service. If you look under the hood, you’ll see why: it’s because of our employees. 

    Our SacRT employee ranks are over 1,300 strong, some of whom have worked here for two, three, and even four decades. No celebration of our 50th anniversary in business would be possible without them. 

    Here is a visit with three of the SacRT team’s longest-tenured employees, each of whom brings a distinct personality and energy to the job. And, a combined 111 years of service. Read more.

    Blog Post: Sacramento Regional Transit turns 50 this year. We’re sharing the experience from those who were there.

     Photo of SacRT Bus from 1973

    For 50 years, SacRT has knitted the capital region together, taking millions of riders where they need to go, from downtown Sacramento to old town Folsom, from Elk Grove to Citrus Heights, and to hundreds of points in between. 

    It’s a rich history of service, innovation and perseverance, all of it amid growth booms, major recessions and even a health pandemic. In short, a heck of a ride, and one we’re proud of.  

    But how and why did SacRT get its start? And why is it still going strong at the half-century mark when other Sacramento transit services before it came and went?  

    50 Year Edition Bus and Train Schedule

    Train Schedule

    50 year anniversary train

    SacRT operates the 50 Year Anniversary train on certain lines to help community members locate the train and get on board. The 50 Year Anniversary train operates on the Blue Line on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays and on the Gold Line on Thursday, Friday and Saturdays. See the schedule for each line below. A special thank you to Siemens for sponsoring our train wrap.

    Blue Line - Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays

    (check for complete Blue Line schedule)

    Trip Leaving Watt/I-80 towards Cosumnes River College at:
    4:42 a.m. (departs Swanston)
    6:48 a.m.
    9:03 a.m.
    11:18 a.m.
    1:33 p.m.
    3:48 p.m.
    Trip Leaving Cosumnes River College for Watt/I-80 at:
    5:41 a.m.
    7:56 a.m.
    10:11 a.m.
    12:26 p.m.
    2:41 p.m.
    4:56 p.m.

    Gold Line - Thursdays and Fridays

    (check for complete Gold Line schedule)

    Trip Leaving Sacramento Valley Station to Sunrise or Historic Folsom Stations at:
    5:04 a.m.
    6:49 a.m.
    9:04 a.m.
    10:49 a.m.
    1:04 p.m.
    2:49 p.m.
    5:04 p.m.
    Trip Leaving Historic Folsom or Sunrise Stations to Sacramento Valley Stations at:
    5:58 a.m. (Sunrise)
    8:00 a.m. (Historic Folsom)
    9:58 a.m. (Sunrise)
    12:00 p.m. (Historic Folsom)
    1:58 p.m. (Sunrise)
    4:00 p.m. (Historic Folsom)
    5:58 p.m. (Sunrise)

    Gold Line - Saturdays

    (check for complete schedule)

    Trip Leaving Sacramento Valley Station to Sunrise or Historic Folsom Stations at:
    5:49 a.m.
    7:49 a.m.
    10:04 a.m.
    11:49 a.m.
    2:04 p.m.
    3:49 p.m.
    6:04 p.m.
    Trip Leaving Historic Folsom or Sunrise Stations to Sacramento Valley Stations at:
    6:43 a.m. (Sunrise)
    9:00 a.m. (Historic Folsom)
    10:58 a.m. (Sunrise)
    1:00 p.m. (Historic Folsom)
    2:58 p.m. (Sunrise)
    5:00 p.m. (Historic Folsom)
    6:58 p.m. (Sunrise)

    50th Anniversary Bus

    SacRT operated the 50 Year Anniversary bus on different routes every day in April to allow community members across the region enjoy the bus. A special thank you to Gillig for sponsoring our bus wrap.

    Sharing our Story on Social Media  

    Follow us on social media to share your SacRT story and for a chance to win a free monthly transit pass.