Transportation

Transit leaders propose light-rail safety improvements

On Monday, Sacramento Regional Transit’s General Manager Mike Wiley will present the agency’s board of directors with recommendations for 22 steps to improve its light-rail service before the new downtown arena opens in 20 months.
On Monday, Sacramento Regional Transit’s General Manager Mike Wiley will present the agency’s board of directors with recommendations for 22 steps to improve its light-rail service before the new downtown arena opens in 20 months. Sacramento Bee file

Two weeks ago, a group of downtown businessmen challenged Sacramento Regional Transit to improve its light-rail service before the sports and entertainment arena opens in 20 months, or risk losing out on what might be thousands of potential new downtown riders.

The business group complained about unclean stations, inadequate train security, and poor customer service and marketing.

In response, RT General Manager Mike Wiley on Monday night will present the agency’s board of directors with 22 recommended steps the agency can take in the next six months, many of them focused on safety and cleanliness, as well as a series of longer-term changes for the transit system.

“This is a start,” Wiley said of the initial list. “It is not complete. There will be additional activities that will be added. I don’t want to set any limits at this point.”

Wiley said the agency will try to shift existing resources to focus on safety and cleanup issues, but will be limited in what it can do with its existing funding.

“There is going to be a limit to how much we can do given our resources,” he said. Finding new revenues “will be part of the conversation.”

The RT board also is expected to create a committee to act as liaison with the business community.

The initial list of basic short-term improvements includes:

▪ Crack down on smoking at light-rail stations, and prohibit people from bringing large bags of recyclables onto trains;

▪ Work with the district attorney to create “paid fare zones” at stations, where only people with tickets can stand;

▪ Install public-address systems at stations;

▪ Implement a phone app that allows riders to report problems to RT on 24-hour basis;

▪ Set up protocols for allowing contract security guards to join RT in issuing citations to fare evaders.

Proposed long-term improvements include:

▪ Create a permanent position for an RT director of security;

▪ Add police officers next year when the Cosumnes River College extension line opens;

▪ Work with the Sacramento Kings to create an arena transit operations plan;

▪ Conduct annual passenger and public satisfaction surveys.

A full list of the proposed changes can be found on the RT board agenda on the agency’s website.

Call The Bee’s Tony Bizjak, (916) 321-1059.

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