Jun 23

Continued Workforce Shortage causes KAT to Propose Additional Service Reductions

Posted on June 23, 2022 at 4:48 PM by Becca James

Continued Workforce Shortage causes KAT to Propose Additional Service Reductions

It is with great reluctance that Knoxville Area Transit (KAT) is proposing additional service reductions due to continuing and worsening workforce shortages. The Knoxville Transportation Authority (KTA) will hold a public hearing on Thursday, July 7, 2022 to review and vote on the proposed changes. If approved, the additional service reductions will take effect on Monday, August 29, 2022.

“This is a completely unprecedented situation,” says Isaac Thorne, Director of Transit for the City of Knoxville.  “We currently have 156 operators out of the 200 needed to operate our pre-COVID service levels.   Our bus operators are working hard to try to provide this current level of service to the community, but we must step back for a while with our service levels while we continue to redouble our hiring, training, and retention efforts.”

Recognizing the spiraling effect this could have on those using KAT for work-related transportation, KAT and Knox County CAC Transit are partnering to provide work-related transportation to fill in the gaps left by these reduced service levels.  KAT passengers who need transportation in the evenings and on Sundays where KAT service is reduced can call CAC to check availability.  Knox County CAC will do their best to work with passenger schedules to provide work-related trips. More information on this program will soon be available on KAT’s website, katbus.com or by calling 865-637-3000.

KAT has had to reduce service levels during COVID twice – once in early 2020, returning to regular levels in July.  But those same reductions had to occur again in November 2020.  Increasing workforce allowed a return to some previous levels of service, but not all, in March of 2021.  However, since that time, workforce levels have continued to fall and are now lower than at any time during the pandemic.

The proposed service reductions are as follows:

  • Elimination of Routes 10 – Sequoyah and 19 – Lakeshore/Lonas
  • Reduction of all Sunday service schedules, with the last downtown departures at 5:15 p.m.
  • All weekday and Saturday evening service ends earlier, with the exception of core routes 11, 12, 22, 31 and 41 continuing through an 11:15 p.m. line-up.
  • Reduced hours on Route 13 – Beaumont
  • Reduced weekday frequency on Route 42 – UT/Ft. Sanders Hospitals
  • Reduced frequency on Orange and Green Line trolleys

In addition to these service reductions two route changes are proposed:

  • A new proposal to serve West Town Mall (outbound only) via Gleason Drive
  • A proposal for a route change on Route 12 – Western to use 5th Avenue to University (rather than Arthur and Boyd) through the Mechanicsville area

The full details of these proposed changes can be found HERE, at the Knoxville Station Customer Service Counter and at the downtown library reference desk.

Apr 18

Masks No Longer Required on KAT Vehicles or at KAT Facilities

Posted on April 18, 2022 at 8:54 PM by Becca James

Due to federal judge ruling, masks not required on KAT vehicles and at KAT facilities until further notice

A federal judge has struck down the CDC’s requirement that masks must be worn on mass transit, so effective immediately and until further notice, KAT will not be enforcing a mask mandate on buses or at transit facilities.

KAT buses and facilities will, however, continue to provide masks to anyone who requests one. The CDC still recommends wearing masks on public transit.
Mar 24

KAT Seeks Public Response to Two Concepts for a New Transit Future

Posted on March 24, 2022 at 9:32 AM by Becca James

KAT Seeks Public Response to Two Concepts for a New Transit Future 

Knoxville, TN – What should the future of public transit look like in Knoxville and what are our biggest community priorities for transit? KAT wants the citizens of Knoxville to help decide by responding to two concepts of what a new bus network could look like. Both concepts show how the KAT bus network could be run differently within its existing budget. These two concepts are not proposals, but rather a means to determine community priorities. 

The two concepts and the public response to them is part of the first phase of the KAT Reimagined planning process. This is a year-long planning study led by KAT in partnership with Knoxville Regional TPO and many community partners, to analyze the current KAT bus network and recommend changes to the system. 

Now until April 22, KAT invites the public to learn more about these two concepts by reading more at our project website: www.katreimagined.com , participating in public meetings, and taking the public survey (available at the project website). KAT will be engaging the public in multiple ways in April to get responses from riders and the general public. 

KAT will host in person public meetings on April 7th and April 9th in addition to a virtual public meeting on April 12th to explain these concepts and answer questions. Details for participating in these public meetings is available at our project website, www.katreimagined.com.  

KAT’s consultant team and staff will also be meeting bus riders and the public at various events to ask about these concepts with a paper version of this survey. For up-to-date information on when and where staff will be, visit www.katreimagined.com

Feedback from the public survey and meetings will guide decisions by the Knoxville Transportation Authority Board to decide how KAT should balance important but competing priorities.  

To stay involved in the Reimagine KAT study, join the email list at our website www.katreimagined.com, like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/knoxvilleareatransit  and follow us on Twitter @kat_bus or Instagram @kat_transit.