Another list of ideas for improving SacRT. This was developed as part of my work with 350Sac Transportation Committee, but again, the ideas are mine and not the committee’s.

SacRT issues

  • funding
    • SacRT is the most poorly funded transit system of its size in California; the limited amount provided by Sacramento Measure A (through the Sacramento Transportation Authority) is insufficient to operate a transit system
    • dependence on federal funds from most system enhancements and extensions means that the system has not kept up with either population growth or increased demand
  • leadership
    • the board, composed of only elected officials, provides poor oversight and leadership
    • management is weak, unwilling to explore innovative solutions and accepting of current limitations as permanent
  • light rail
    • has a poor reputation among many commuters
    • no evening service to Folsom
    • no service to American River College
    • high-floor rail cars are inaccessible to many people
  • bus network
    • buses are too infrequent to provide effective service, with no routes meeting the definition of high frequency and only four routes meeting the definition of medium frequency
    • routes deviate into neighborhoods in an attempt to maximize coverage, but the result is a loss of functionality and timeliness
  • land use
    • SacRT is ineffective in large part becuase land use decisions have resulted in an urban/suburban/exurban pattern that cannot effectively be served by a transit system
    • SacRT has little to no input into land use decisions
  • fare card system (ConnectCard)
    • the fare card system has been delayed for more than a year
    • there is no evidence that the fare card system will address equity issues such as low-income users without bank accounts and credit cards being able to purchase cards and passes
  • bike parking
    • the lack of secure bike parking at light rail stations and major bus stops reduces transit use and usability
    • SacRT has refused to provide on-demand bike lockers at stations, though Folsom has provided them at stations within the city

SacRT solutions

  • funding
    • SacRT must be provided at least 0.5% sales tax revenue for operations
    • SacRT must be provided significant property levies throughout the county, to fund extensions, equipment, and upgrades
    • funds must be a mix of sales tax, property tax, and grants so that the reduction of any one source does not decimate the system as has happened over the last six years
  • leadership
    • the advocacy community in the Sacramento region should develop a nonprofit, similar to the San Francisco Transit Riders Union (http://sftru.org), to insist on leadership and innovation from SacRT and other agencies in the region
    • the board of SacRT must be revised so that it has at least 1/4 representation from transit users
    • challenge SacRT board to ride transit on a regular basis
  • light rail
    • the existing and potential light rail system must be analyzed as a whole to determine priorities for extension
    • all rail cars must be replaced with low floor or hybrid cars within five years, and all stations converted to level boarding
  • bus network
    • the bus network must be redesigned to focus on arterial and collector streets, offering high frequency service on select routes that effectively cover all high commute and low-income areas; bus routes must be kept out of neighborhoods
  • land use
    • SacRT must be included in all land use decisions at the county and city level, and legislation must be developed to require that they be included
  • fare card
    • a solution for low-income users must be implemented immediately for the fare card system
  • bike parking
    • SacRT must provide on-demand secure bike lockers at stations, implemented system-wide for light rail within five years, and expanded to the bus systems and to meet additional light rail demand as it increases

About Dan Allison

Dan Allison is a Safe Routes to School Coordinator in the Sacramento area. Dan dances and backpacks, as much as possible.

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SacRT

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