Reduced KAT bus service begins Monday

Knoxville, Tenn. (WATE) – Service changes will begin Monday for Knoxville Area Transit. This includes eliminating some routes and reducing frequency on some lines amid continued worker shortages.

Upcoming changes to KAT:

  • Elimination of Routes 10 – Sequoyah and 19 – Lakeshore/Lonas
  • Reduction of all Sunday service times, with the last city center departures at 5:15 p.m.
  • All weekday and Saturday evening services end earlier, except main lines 11, 12, 22, 31 and 41 which continue until 11:15 p.m.
  • Reduced hours on circuit 13 – Beaumont
  • Reduced weekday frequency on Route 42 – UT/Ft. Sanders Hospitals
  • Reduced frequency on Orange and Green Line trolleys

In addition, several routes are currently reduced.

Weekday Service Discounts:

  • Route 11 – Kingston Pike – service every 30 minutes
  • Route 22 – Broadway – service every 30 minutes
  • Route 31 – Magnolia – service every 30 minutes
  • Route 40 – South Knoxville – service once per hour
  • Route 45 – Vestal – service once per hour
  • Orange Line Trolley – ends at 8:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday evenings
  • Blue Line Trolley – ends at 8:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday evenings
  • Green Line Trolley – ends at 8:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday evenings

City of Knoxville Transit Manager Isaac Thorne said KAT needs to take a step back until more people are hired. Currently, KAT has about 160 of the 200 operators needed to operate at pre-pandemic service levels.

“We don’t want to do that, we want to offer all of our services because again we know this is an essential service and it will affect people,” Thorne said.

In addition to these service reductions, two route changes were approved in July:

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

These changes will also come into effect on August 29.

Thorne said that as they add more employees, KAT will be able to slowly add services back. “It just impacts our employees, the amount of overtime they put in,” Thorne said. “We’re just trying to retain as many of our employees as possible and also bring people in, hire them, train them.”

For those interested in becoming a bus driver for KAT, the starting salary is just over $16 per hour. You can apply on the KAT website and careers page.

Melvin Z. Madore