SACRT Offers Free Transfers for Connect Card Users

Sacramento, CA (MPG)  |  Source: Regional Transit Media
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With a unanimous vote, the Sacramento Regional Transit District (SACRT) Board of Directors approved a pilot program to provide a free 90-minute transfer option to passengers who use a Connect Card, the region’s new smart card fare payment system. The transfer option will be available to customers beginning on Thursday, June 15, 2017, marking the official launch date of the new Connect Card system.

RideSacRT, the agency’s mobile fare app, has included 90-minute transfers since its roll-out in January 2016. The new Connect Card is expected to be more widely used since the initial cards will be free, whereas the mobile app requires a smart phone. Transfers on the Connect Card will be good for unlimited boarding within a 90-minute period on both bus and light rail, just like the mobile fare app. The free transfers are expected to help generate additional ridership.

Connect Cards can be loaded with transit passes and stored value online, SACRT’s Customer Service and Sales Center located at 1225 R Street, and at participating retail outlets. Customers who prefer to pay with cash will also be able to receive the benefits of the 90-minute transfer by simply loading cash onto their Connect Card at SACRT’s Customer Service and Sales Center, and at select retail outlets, including Raley’s/Bel Air markets in mid-June when the Connect Card officially launches.

The Board action comes on the heels of news that fare revenue has increased by 18% over the past nine months, despite a decline in ridership. The revenue increase is being attributed to SACRT’s fare enforcement efforts, which has successfully reduced SACRT’s fare evasion rate from more than 15% a year ago, to just 5% now. “SACRT staff has taken every measure to ensure that our trains and buses are cleaner and safer than ever before,” said Henry Li, General Manager/CEO. “Fare enforcement efforts have reduced the number of non-fare paying passengers and increased the security presence throughout our system. It’s a win for everyone.”

Bus agencies throughout the Sacramento region are also adopting the Connect Card in order to provide seamless travel for passengers transferring from one bus line to another. The free 90-minute transfer will be available for six months, while the agency conducts an equity analysis.

The Connect Card and the RideSacRT mobile fare app will make it more convenient to ride by providing online sales, speeding up boarding times and removing the worry of having exact cash to pay fare.

Other ridership initiatives that SACRT is working on include improving service reliability; optimizing bus routes to make them reflect 21st century commuting patterns.