By Hazel Ford–
Beginning Monday, Citrus Heights public transit riders will have the option to hail a bus to their door through the Sacramento Regional Transit District’s new “microtransit” pilot project. A ribbon cutting to celebrate the new service will be held at 10 a.m. on Feb. 12 at city hall.
SmaRT Ride, the first of its kind in the Sacramento Valley, is an on-demand transit service similar to Lyft or Uber that will enable riders to be picked up from their location and taken wherever they want to go in the city during weekdays, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.. Using a new smartphone app, customers will order a ride and then be given an estimated time of arrival and another notification when the bus is about to reach them.
“We are confident that SmaRT Ride will be met with much enthusiasm from our residents by bringing public transit to their front door,” said Citrus Heights Mayor Steve Miller in a news release. “Our hope is to see this service succeed and expand, so that our citizens, and ultimately everyone in the Sacramento region, will be able to reach local destinations and neighboring communities more easily.”
The pilot program will utilize existing “City Ride” buses, which are smaller, neighborhood-friendly transit buses that are also wheelchair friendly.
SmaRT Ride fares will cost the same as SacRT’s current fixed-route price of $2.75 per trip, and those eligible can qualify for a discounted fare will only pay $1.35. A similar trip around town using Uber would typically run between $6-10, making RT’s pricing more affordable than traditional ride-hailing services.
Transit agencies have long-struggled with offering efficient services in suburban areas, but SacRT is hopeful its partnership with TransLoc to provide on-demand service will help improve service and efficiency where fixed-routes have struggled. Regional Transit’s General Manager and CEO Henry Li said his agency “is excited to be among a select few transit agencies across the nation leading the way in this new on-demand, microtransit frontier for the transit industry.”
According to CBS Sacramento, SacRT faced a 10 percent drop in ridership in 2017, resulting in a $800,000 deficit in fare revenue. Officials attributed some of the drop to the increasing popularity of private ride-hailing services, but whether or not the new SmaRT Ride system will boost ridership remains to be seen.
The on-demand transit service is scheduled to be piloted for six months in Citrus Heights. If the pilot program is deemed successful, SacRT hopes to expand the service to Orangevale and possibly the City of Folsom in the following months.
To download the app and view additional information, visit: www.sacrt.com/apps/smartride/
SmaRT Ride ribbon cutting
Monday, Feb. 12, at 10 a.m.
Citrus Heights City Hall
6360 Fountain Square Dr.