SacRT spends majority of $30 million grant on light rail upgrades

SacRT’s light rail vehicles are aging and most cars aren’t very accessible, but that will change by 2023

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – New low-floor light rail vehicles will be a game-changer for public transit in the Sacramento area.

SacRT Spokeswoman Jessica Gonzalez said the aging light rail fleet was 30 years old and the trains needed to be upgraded and replaced.

Currently, when you arrive at a light rail station, you must climb stairs to board the light rail trains if you are in a mobility device.

Then you would have to go to the first car and go up a ramp to get to where the operator has to open the door and let you in, so it’s a bit of a process.

With the new low-floor light rail vehicles, you will be able to ride or walk on any door, making getting on and off the train much faster. It will also be much easier for people with mobility devices, or even those with bicycles.

SacRT received $30 million in state grants. A majority of the money will buy the new trains, bringing the number of trains to 36.

“These will be available on our system and tested later this summer, so people can see them. We won’t be able to ride them yet because they have to put a number of miles under their belt before they are released to the public,” Gonzalez said.

Other projects include $5 million to support the construction of a new north-south aligned light rail station to connect the Sacramento Valley station to the future Railyards plaza, as well as extending contactless fare payment to buses and new light rail trains.

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Jose P. Rogers