After 12 year breakup Elk Grove, Sacramento Regional Transit to start reunification negotiations

Elk Grove Vice Mayor Pat Hume discusses the history between Elk Grove and Sacramento Regional Transit. | 

December 14, 2018 | 

After a 12 year separation, the Elk Grove City Council gave the green light for city transit staff to start negotiations with Sacramento Regional Transit (Sac RT) to provide bus service for residents. Although the city council did not formally vote on the matter, they had a consensus to accept the staff recommendation at their Wednesday, December 12 meeting.

The move came after a report presented by the city's transit manager Mike Costa recommended that Elk Grove explore having Sacramento Regional Transit provide bus services that are now offered under the branded eTran service which is provided by MV Transporation, a private sector contractor.

Starting in 2006, the Elk Grove  Council, which at the time had a lone-wolf approach to governance, broke from Sacramento Regional Transit and launched its bus service. That service, which has been exclusively provided by MV, has been marred by numerous service failures.

During their deliberations, Vice Mayor Pat Hume who was first elected in 2006 but before the decision to contract with MV, acknowledged the problems.

"Back in those days, I would say it was part ambition, part hubris, and part folly," Hume said. "It was part hubris because, you know, a lot of the early decision of that original executive team and the original city council were to break ties from all the regional agencies, that we could do it better in Elk Grove as an island."

Hume, who is the council's longtime representative with Sac RT, noted he could see why at the time city leaders wanted the separation. Until the recent hire of Henry Li as their general manager, Hume stated that Sac RT had a well-earned reputation for poor transit service. 

"There was not an emphasis on cleanliness, there was not an emphasis on safety, " he noted.

After hearing public comment that mostly favored the change with some stipulations, Costa was instructed to start negotiations with Sac RT with the understanding that the popular express commuter routes running between Elk Grove and downtown Sacramento would continue should a new agreement be executed. Additionally, the negotiations should include discussions about some operational considerations and the possible annexation of Elk Grove into Sac RT's service area.

If an agreement is reached, service could start as soon as July 1, 2019.   

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