Is Sacramento RT in a death spiral?

Sacramento Regional Transit is not what it used to be. RT has lost 9 million annual riders since 2009 — owing to steep fare hikes and deep service cuts. At nearly 26 million riders a year, the system has fewer passengers than at any point in the last decade.

And the troubled transit agency may soon lose more riders. Last month, RT staff recommended a 20 percent base fare increase, hikes to discounted fares and elimination of the monthly Paratransit pass for seniors and riders with disabilities. RT is also considering elimination of several more “underperforming” bus routes.

Critics say RT is trying to fix its budget at the expense of those who need transit the most: seniors, the disabled, youth and low-income riders. And fare increases and service cuts may only worsen the problem.

“To me, it’s like a death spiral,” says Jeff Harris, a Sacramento Regional Transit board member and city councilman. “You cut service, people can’t use the system, ridership drops, revenue drops.”

(Full story.)

Originally published at

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