NEW: KAT bus cuts go into effect Monday

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The list of Knoxville’s public transportation options will shrink Monday as numerous service reductions caused by a shortage of bus drivers go into effect. 

Both the number of Knoxville Area Transit (KAT) bus routes and their frequency will be reduced, officials said.

“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,” said KAT spokeswoman Belinda Woodiel-Brill.

“Increasing workforce allowed a return to some previous levels of service, but not all, in March of 2021,” she said. “However, since that time, workforce levels — in particular for bus operators — have continued to fall and are now lower than at any time during the pandemic.”

Transit officials said they recognize “the spiraling effect” the changes could have on those who need the City’s bus service to get to and from work. 

To soften the blow, KAT and Knox County CAC Transit are partnering to provide work-related transportation to fill in the gaps left by the changes. KAT passengers can call Knox County CAC Transit at 865-524-0319 to check availability.  Knox County CAC Transit will do their best to work with passenger schedules to provide work-related trips.  

KAT will cover the costs of CAC fares for these passengers until service levels on that route return to normal.

The service reductions include: 

  • 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 ending 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 

The paratransit Lift service area will remain the same, as well as weekday and Saturday hours, but Lift service will end on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. in conjunction with fixed route service reductions.  

KAT plans to continue operating the football shuttle services at University of Tennessee home football games, although fewer shuttle buses may be available. KAT also encourages game attendees to consider using the regular fixed route services as well.

Further information on football options can be found on KAT’s website.

In addition to the service reductions, two route changes will go into effect Monday: 

  • Service West Town Mall (outbound only) via the Gleason Drive entrance to Belk 
  • A route change on Route 12 – Western to use 5th Avenue to University (rather than Arthur and Boyd) through the Mechanicsville area. 

Full details are posted on KAT’s website, www.katbus.com. Alternatively, passengers can call 865-637-3000 or visit the Customer Service Counter for trip planning assistance. 

Woodiel-Brill said that KAT continues to expand recruitment and retention efforts and accepts employment applications on its website.

Published on August 26, 2022.