Calif.’s Sacramento Regional Transit District (RT) announced that it will avoid service reductions that were expected to be implemented in January 2017.
In April 2016, RT began the process and development of a plan for service changes effective Jan. 1, 2017. The proposal would potentially include the reduction, realignment or discontinuation of bus routes and light rail service totaling $1 million in annualized savings to address a budget deficit for FY 2017.
During the past 45 days, RT staff conducted open house discussions and received many appeals from customers imploring RT to not cut service. RT staff also carefully analyzed the feedback from RT board members and community stakeholders and continued to look for any potential funding sources to determine if the service reductions could be delayed or canceled.
In the last week, RT staff has worked closely with RT’s funding agencies and has identified a $1 million potential operating fund source.
In addition, based on the latest operating revenue estimates, RT staff has revised the operating budget down by $2 million. To address this structural budget deficit issue, RT’s management team has taken the following three actions: $270,000 decrease in all non-personnel-related cost categories, reduction of 20 administrative employee positions and a significant decrease in annual salary adjustments for certain labor groups totaling a savings of $2 million.
Through these actions, it was announced RT has achieved the required amount of savings to close the budget gap and avoid major service cuts planned for January 2017.
The reduction in force process began last week. The affected employees will be on paid administrative leave for 30 to 45 days, and will receive a severance package and COBRA medical insurance for six months.
"Our customers are our first priority," said Henry Li, RT's current assistant GM, administration, and new GM/CEO, effective July 1. "The resulting actions were made to minimize the impact to our riders and employees, as well as improve service quality."