Last Updated on: 8th August 2023, 08:57 pm
If you’re thinking about relocating to Sacramento, you may be curious about how to get around the city. Does Sacramento have good public transportation? While it can’t compare with San Francisco or Los Angeles, Sacramento’s public transit is decent and affordable with good coverage around the downtown area and surrounding neighborhoods. There are some drawbacks, like service that does not run late, but Sacramento’s rideshare system with low fares is a great way to get where you’re going safely and with minimal walking.
The city, with its downtown core and sprawling suburbs, doesn’t yet support a car-free lifestyle. However, public transportation in Sacramento is slowly becoming more robust with innovative new solutions to help you get around.
Here’s everything you want to know about how to use public transportation in Sacramento, including how to use public transit to/from the airport, San Francisco, and around the downtown area.
Table of Contents
Overview of Public Transportation in Sacramento, CA
The Sacramento Regional Transit District is the primary operator of Sacramento’s public transportation system with a light rail and bus system. One of the best places to start when using public transit is SacRT’s destination guide. Choose a category like Government Buildings or Colleges to see a list of destinations and the nearest bus and rail lines.
There are two apps you’ll want to have:
- ZippPass, a mobile fare app to buy and store tickets or monthly passes
- SacRT SmaRT Ride to request rides on SmaRT Ride. This service works like a rideshare service to request a pick-up or drop-off within their service area.
Sacramento Light Rail | Sacramento Regional Transit District (SacRT)
The light rail system, known as the Sacramento RT Light Rail, is operated by the Sacramento Regional Transit District (SacRT or just RT). It’s the 16th busiest light rail system in the U.S. with 43 miles of rail, 54 stations, and three lines.
How to Ride the Light Rail in Sacramento
To ride the light rail, you will need to buy a pass or ticket first. With a pre-paid pass or ticket, it must be validated in the fare vending machine before you board. There are several ways to buy a light rail ticket:
- Use the ZipPass app, the free SacRT mobile fare app. You can buy, activate, and save tickets or passes within the app.
- SacRT light rail fare vending machines accept cash and credit/debit cards.
- Connect Card, a transit fare system accepted by SacRT and other regional agencies. Receive a card in the mail that can be reloaded.
The Sacramento light rail runs daily with 14 trains running during the day at 15-minute intervals and at 30-minute intervals during the evenings and weekend mornings. The Sacramento light rail starts running at 4 am. The Sacramento light rail Gold Line and Blue Line run until midnight on weekdays and 10:30 pm on weekends. The Green Line only runs Monday through Friday.
There are three Sacramento RT light rail lines.
- SacRT Gold Line: Downtown – East Sacramento – Rancho Cordova – Folsom
- SacRT Blue Line: North Sacramento – Downtown – South Sacramento
- SacRT Green Line: Downtown – River District
Of the 54 stations, 22 have park-and-ride lots and 26 have bus transfer service.
You can see the Sacramento light rail map below.
Sacramento Buses | Sacramento Regional Transit District (SacRT)
The Sacramento Regional Transit District operates buses in Sacramento as well as the light rail system. The RT operates about 69 fixed bus routes including 38 all-day routes, 15 supplemental services, and 11 community bus services. The monthly bus ridership is about 800,000 to 900,000.
The most popular Sacramento bus routes are:
- Route 51 Broadway/Stockton
- Route 81 Florin/65th
- Route 82 Northrop/Morse
- Route 30 J Street
- Route 1 Greenback
You can see a complete SacRT bus route map here.
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SmaRT Ride – Sacramento Rideshare Shuttle Service | Sacramento Regional Transit District (SacRT)
An innovative addition to the Sacramento public transit system is the SacRT SmaRT Ride service. It works just like a regular rideshare service with the ability to request a pick-up or drop-off within their service boundaries. Known as microtransit, it’s similar to Uber Pool.
SmaRT Ride uses an algorithm to send the closest shuttle to requested drop-offs and pick-ups. The route is flexible and you can see real-time updates with wait times and arrival times based on predicted demand and requests. SmaRT Ride operates Monday to Friday with service hours between 6 am to 10 pm (depending on the zone).
The SmaRT Ride fare is the same as the light rail and bus fare above with no monthly passes available. The basic fare is $2.50 or $7 for a daily pass with discounted fare for seniors, disabled persons, and students.
Groups of 5+ ride SmaRT Ride for free! Note that you need to travel as a group with the same pick-up and drop-off location.
SmaRT Ride operates curb-to-curb service in the Citrus Heights-Orangevale-Antelope zone with pick-up or drop-off at your requested address. Corner-to-corner service (“virtual bus stops”) is available in many service zones like Downtown-Midtown-East Sacramento, Arden, Folsom, North Sacramento, and Rancho Cordova. You can see the SacRT SmaRT Ride map below showing all service areas.
Cost of Public Transportation in Sacramento | Sacramento Light Rail Fares & Bus Fares
How much does a light rail ticket in Sacramento cost? What about bus fare in Sacramento? SacRT fares apply to bus and light rail service. There are single fares, daily passes, and monthly passes with discounted Kamagra fare for seniors, disabled persons, and students. Many K-12 students are eligible for free Sacramento transit passes.
|Sacramento Public Transit Fares
|Transfer fee (rail/bus)
|Discounted daily pass
|Basic monthly pass
|Basic semi-monthly pass
|Senior/disabled monthly pass
|Senior/disabled semi-monthly pass
|Super senior monthly pass (75+)
|Student monthly pass
|Student semi-monthly pass
Getting Around Sacramento by Bicycle & Scooter
Is Sacramento bicycle friendly? While there is still some work to do, Sacramento is bike-friendly and the city is continually taking steps to make it easier to get around the city for cyclists. There are miles of protected bikeways and buffered bike lanes to make the city safer for cyclists.
The Sacramento Bikeway Map from the Department of Public Works is designed to help you plan routes for biking in Sacramento, whether you are cycling for leisure or commuting. The map shows bike lanes, bike routes, buffered bike lanes, shared use paths, and separated bikeways as well as light rail stations.
Here are additional resources to help you get around Sacramento on a bike.
- Map of bike racks in Sacramento
- Free urban bicycling and scooting classes
- Regulations for shared rideables (bicycles and scooters) and a list of designated drop zones
There are several bike share and e-scooter companies in Sacramento:
- Bird e-scooters
- JUMP electric bicycles
- Tower Bridge Bike Share
- Practical Cycle (Old Sacramento)
- State Employee BikeShare program
Sacramento Public Transportation to Top Destinations
Here’s how to use public transit in Sacramento, CA to reach top destinations in the region.
Sacramento Public Transportation to Airport
The best way to get from downtown Sacramento to the airport is SacRT’s Route 142. This airport express bus runs every 20 to 30 minutes, 7 days a week from 4:45 am to 11:30 pm. There are multiple stops in the downtown area accessible from light rail stations. The same $2.50 basic fare ($1.25 discounted fare) applies to express airport rides.
Light rail public transportation to Sacramento International Airport has been proposed for years, but it has yet to be approved. The Green Line to the Airport project, if approved, would extend the light rail 13 miles north to the Sacramento International Airport.
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Public Transportation: Sacramento to San Francisco
You can take a train from Sacramento to San Francisco on Amtrak. The Capitol Corridor train doesn’t have direct service to San Francisco with stations in Emeryville and Oakland instead. You can then use the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system to reach San Francisco or the San Francisco International Airport.
Public Transportation: Sacramento to San Jose
The Capitol Corridor train operated by Amtrak offers service between Sacramento and San Jose. You can take the train from Sacramento to San Jose with trains departing every hour between 6 am and 9 pm.
You can also travel from Sacramento to San Jose by bus. Greyhound bus rides are usually $15 to $20 for the 4-hour ride.
Sacramento Public Transportation FAQ
Is there public transportation in Sacramento?
Sacramento has a light rail and bus system operated by SacRT. There is also a SmaRT Ride rideshare shuttle service with on-demand pick-up and drop-off service in many service areas with a low fare of $2.50.
Does Sacramento have light rail?
Yes, the light rail system is operated by Sacramento Regional Transit District (SacRT). The system covers 43 miles with 54 stations and three rail lines.
What time does the light rail stop running in Sacramento?
The SacRT Gold and Blue lines stop running at midnight on weekdays and 10:30 pm on weekends. The Green line stops running Friday at 8:30 pm and begins running Monday at 4 am.
What is the cost of public transportation in Sacramento?
Basic one-way fare for bus, light rail, and SmaRT Ride service is just $2.50. Discounted $1.25 fare is available to seniors, disabled adults, and K-12 students. Monthly passes are $100.
You may not be able to easily live in Sacramento car-free, but the Sacramento public transit system is affordable, offers good coverage around the downtown area, and makes it easy to get around the city for shopping and entertainment.
Are you exploring Sacramento transportation ahead of relocating to the city? Give the top Sacramento movers a call at Mother Lode Van & Storage to discuss your upcoming move and request a free quote. We’ll help you settle into your new home and be ready to explore the city in no time!