Forward Motion for SacRT
Sacramento Regional Transit unveils new bus system and student free-ride program


August 27, 2019: SacRT is moving forward with improved bus service that is designed to increase ridership, reduce congestion, and lead to economic growth. The new bus network launches on Sunday, September 8, and residents are encouraged to try the new system for free from September 8 to September 11.  

After about two years of planning and over 70 community outreach efforts, the SacRT Forward service changes will include adjustments to almost all bus routes to improve frequency, scheduling, and weekend service. 

The new system aims to make the transit experience more convenient with routes that are more direct, offer more connections, and also improve safety with more than 1,000 live-feed cameras. For additional safety, there will be an increased number of transit ambassador and security guards, and a new state-of-the-art public address system at all 52 light rail stations.  

Along with improved routes and services, SacRT is also offering RydeFreeRT, a groundbreaking student free-ride program, launching on October 1. This means students living in Sacramento, or who attend schools in Sacramento, will be able to ride SacRT buses and light rail for free, saving families up to $240 a year per student. “I think it going to make a significant difference in the lives of a lot of our families in our community,” said SacRT and SACOG board member Jay Schenirer, a city councilman and former city school board member who championed the program. 

The Sacramento Unified School District anticipates an attendance boost, thanks to the free and improved transportation options, since many absentee issues stem from transportation challenges. Along with curbing absenteeism, coupling the RydeFreeRT program with an improved system, it is hoped that these students will become lifelong transit riders, which is a critical step to the region’s overall goals of reducing congestion and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Sutter Health will be conducting a study on the effects of the program. RydeFreeRT is currently only available to students in Sacramento County, but SacRT hopes to extend the program to the agency’s entire service area.  

The system-wide improvements are a result of a route optimization study that assessed current travel patterns, the use of planning software REMIX, which is a software that helps agencies design routes while identifying cost and demographic impacts, and listening to the needs of current riders. The new system balances high ridership with increased frequency on key corridors and is expected to result between 400,000 and 1,000,000 more rides a year. 

See how your trips may be impacted and find a trip planner, new schedules, and route maps at

If you would like news like this sent to you monthly, sign up for SACOG’s newsletter the Current