KAT bus service reduction starts Monday

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Changes in service will begin Monday for Knoxville Area Transit. This includes eliminating some routes and reducing frequency on some lines amid an ongoing worker shortage.

Changes coming to KAT:

  • Elimination of Routes 10 – Sequoyah and 19 – Lakeshore/Lonas
  • Reduction of all Sunday service schedules, with the last downtown departures at 5:15 pm
  • 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 pm 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

Additionally, there are several routes that are currently being reduced.

Weekday service reductions:

  • 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 an hour
  • Route 45 – Vestal – service once an hour
  • Orange Line Trolley – ends at 8:00 pm on Friday and Saturday evenings
  • Blue Line Trolley – ends at 8:00 pm on Friday and Saturday evenings
  • Green Line Trolley – ends at 8:00 pm on Friday and Saturday evening

City of Knoxville Director of Transit Isaac Thorne said KAT must take a step back until more people are hired. Right now, KAT has about 160 of the 200 operators needed to run at pre-pandemic service levels.

“We don’t want to be doing this, we want to be offering all of our service because we know again that this is essential service and this is going to affect people,” said Thorne.

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

  • 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

These changes will also go into effect on August 29th.

Thorne said as they add more employees KAT would be able to add back services slowly. “It’s just taking a toll on our employees, the amount of overtime they’re working,” said Thorne. “We’re just trying to retain as many of our employees as possible and also get people in the door, hired, trained.”

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