RT’s New Red Line a Welcome Change for Light Rail Regulars

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In the last two years, Anthony Ramos said he has been through a few odd experiences at the 16th Street Regional Transit Light Rail station.

"A guy came up to me and asked if I had poisoned his candy bar," Ramos said.

Ramos said that man was loitering at the station in Downtown Sacramento. It's these kinds of encounters RT is hoping to avoid for their customers. They said a simple red line is the solution.

"People will feel better if they knew everyone was paying their fair share for the system and by doing so, that generates more revenue, which will feed back into the system to improve the cleanliness, and the feeling of safety," Captain Norm Leong, of the Sacramento Police Regional Transit system said.

A few months ago, the City of Sacramento helped RT paint the red lines at six test locations, which designate the paid fare zone.

They include 9th and K, 12th street, 16th street, Mather Field in Rancho Cordova, Arden/Del Paso and Broadway.

Only customers who buy a ticket can stand in the zone. If not, RT staff will ask the rider to leave or pay for a ticket immediately.

RT says about 10 percent of riders do not pay. They are hoping this will help with enforcement.

Some riders embrace the change.

"It keeps the people who paid separated from the people who paid, and I think it's a good idea. They can enforce it," Ramos said.

Others say it's an unnecessary step.

"It will cause a lot of animosity. I think the idea that RT is trying to do, generate more revenue, at the same time, they are raising prices in July," RT rider Tariq Barbossa-DeLeon said.

In fact, RT has been facing a financial crisis for years.

With the new Golden 1 Center set to open in a few months, they are anticipating more users. They are hoping a little paint now will help improve the overall rider experience in the long run.

"The RT being in a financial situation right now, anything we can do to add to those paying into the system, I think will improve the system overall," Captain Leong said.

RT will test out the paid fare zoning for about six months. If they prove it is effective, they will install it in all RT stations in the future.

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