Over the course of the last year, RT implemented multiple fare changes including the introduction of the Connect Card, the RideSacRT mobile fare app, a group fare and a round trip fare for special Golden 1 Center events. In addition, RT has recently implemented free 90 minute transfers exclusively for Connect Card/RideSacRT electronic fares.
While staff analysis found there would be no disparate impacts from these programs, it did note that many transit riders are ineligible to participate in these changes because they do not:
Own a smart phone,
Cannot access the app in languages other than English, or
Own a credit card necessary to purchase and use the benefits.
We urged the RT board to make sure that benefits and free transfers are available to all riders and all fares.
The new Connect Card and RideSacRT mobile app both provide RT riders with new options to pay for fares, offering the opportunity to electronically validate fares and avoid carrying cash. However, both of these new systems have additional challenges. While RT currently has no intention of eliminating cash fares, at the most recent board meeting, they have made the worrisome decision to treat these new forms of payment as a different type of fare media.
Recently, the RT board voted to give these new electronic media fares free 90 minute transfers. In effect, this means that when paying for a single ride fare (currently $2.75 or $1.35 for seniors/disabled/students) with either the Connect Card or RideSacRT app, the user is allowed to make additional bus or light rail trips within the 90 minute window.
In 2009, Regional Transit eliminated physical "transfer" tickets that offered the same benefit now being offered to the users of a new electronic fare system. The majority of the bus fleet that RT has upgraded to now have the capability to print tickets on demand, easing the ability to reinstate the physical transfer ticket for cash paying customers.
Potential challenges and problems with the new electronic fare media aside, the fact that cash paying customers are being penalized is creating a "digital divide" between those who meet the criteria to use the new fare (possession of a debit/credit card and "smartphone" or the ability to access the limited number of locations to "pre-load" electronic media) and those who do not.
We encourage RT to be fair to cash fare paying customers. Everyone should be able to enjoy the newly reinstated transfers, and furthermore, all discounts and fare categories should be available to everyone, not only select customers who meet complicated, costly and unrealistic technological criteria.
Let's tell RT: Treat fares fairly. Stop the "Digital Divide"!
RT's Title VI Program Update
Join Sac TRU members on MONDAY, MAY 8 as we comment on RT's Title VI program update
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires that “No person in the United States shall, on the grounds of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”
RT is currently in the process of updating its Title VI program. The final report will be presented to the RT Board of Directors for approval on Monday, May 8, 2017 at 5:30 p.m. in the RT Auditorium at 1400 29th Street (accessible by light rail to the 29th Street Station, and bus routes 38, 67 and 68). Public comments can still be made orally before the RT Board of Directors at their meeting.
For questions, contact James Drake, RT Principal Planner, at email@example.com or (916) 556-0505.
More info here. Draft of the RT Program Update here.
Sac TRU Weekly Meetings
Join us at our weekly meetings!
There are so many ways to get involved: -Talk to fellow transit riders -Attend an RT Board Meeting -Write an email and/or make phone calls -Attend Community meetings and spread the word
Saturday, May 6, 1 – 3 pm @ Organize Sacramento 1714 Broadway, Sacramento, CA 95818 Broadway and 17th Street (Accessible by RT Bus 51 and Broadway Light Rail Station [Blue Line]!)
The Sacramento Transit Riders Union is an independent, democratic, member-run union of transit riders organizing for better public transit in Sacramento County and beyond. Through our organizing efforts we will fight for lower fares and better service. We invite you to join us and fight for the future of public transit!
Have an idea? Attend a meeting and let us know!
What is a Transit Riders Union? It's simple, really! Sac TRU is an independent, democratic, member-run union of transit riders organizing for a better public transit system in Sacramento.