Dec 10

Knoxville’s first All-Electric Bus Purchase Celebrated

Posted on December 10, 2019 at 11:01 AM by Savannah Kilday

2019 Electric Bus Announcement
Mayor Madeline Rogero and others celebrated the purchase of Knoxville’s first all-electric buses, with an announcement and a ride on the all-electric bus from the selected manufacturer, New Flyer. Knoxville Area Transit (KAT) is hopeful that the new buses will begin operating on Route 17 – Sutherland at the beginning of 2021.

Over the past several years, Knoxville Area Transit (KAT) has been expanding into alternative fuel options, and now 33% of the current fleet are hybrid electric vehicles. The next stage – all-electric vehicles – is a part of the City of Knoxville’s overall sustainability strategy. Programs such as the LED streetlight upgrades, energy upgrades to housing in the Community Development Department, and encouraging biking, walking and transit are all helping Knoxville to reach sustainability goals.

“KAT has played a big role in helping us exceed our goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions for City operations — 20 percent by Year 2020,” said Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero. “Investing in this new fleet of electric buses builds on this history of sustainability as we embrace the next generation of transit technology.”

With 44% of the community’s emissions coming from transportation – mostly driving – the City continues to invest in transit and encourage people to explore options to driving alone. Knoxville’s increased investment in KAT during Rogero’s two terms has resulted in more frequent and later service on nearly all routes, and a 12% increase in ridership.
“We are grateful to Mayor Rogero and Council for their support in improving transit service in Knoxville,” says Doug Lawyer, Chair of the Knoxville Transportation Authority. “It is exciting to see the positive public response to this increased investment, which benefits Knoxville both from an economic and environmental standpoint.”

The new all-electric vehicles will operate on one of Knoxville’s most diverse bus routes. The Route 17 – Sutherland goes from downtown through UT, Mechanicsville, and Marble City to Bearden and the Forest Heights neighborhood. Along the way, the route serves graduate students, seniors, high school students, and a large contingent of Knoxville’s diverse refugee community, providing access to groceries, schools, and a variety of services.

Electric Vehicle Statistics:*
  • Reduction of 100 - 160 tons of greenhouse gas per year compared to a 40’ diesel bus
  • Save up to $400,000 in fuel costs over the 12-year life of the bus
  • With no engine, transmission, intake or exhaust, customers can save up to $125,000 in maintenance costs over the 12-year life of the bus
*Statistics provided by New Flyer

Download this Press Release as a PDF here. 

Oct 25

Mayor Rogero wins North American Transit Award

Posted on October 25, 2019 at 3:28 PM by Savannah Kilday

Mayor Rogero APTA Award
Knoxville Area Transit is pleased to announce that Mayor Madeline Rogero has been awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) for her efforts in enhancing and promoting transit in Knoxville throughout her two terms in office.  Mayor Rogero accepted the award at a ceremony in New York City.

The award recognizes Mayor Rogero’s efforts to focus on the Knoxville Area Transit (KAT) system in Knoxville throughout her time in office.  These efforts included fully integrating transit into the city’s internal structure, increasing financial support, and changing the culture around transit at the City.

Rogero’s efforts have resulted in close partnerships between KAT and other City departments, integrating transit into all aspects of the city’s decision-making processes.  Partnerships with the Departments of Engineering as well as Redevelopment have resulted in a 44% increase in bus shelters on the street.   The Public Service Department coordinates with KAT on winter road clearing, ensuring that KAT buses can keep rolling during snow events, and KAT’s Travel Training program now educates all incoming city employees on commuting via KAT.

Mayor Rogero, with support from City Council, increased financial support for KAT by 20% during her two terms in office, resulting in a 24% increase in hours of service.  KAT passengers now enjoy later evening services on most routes and, for the first time, 15-minute peak service on three major corridor routes.  KAT has added Wi-Fi on all buses. Transit users can now get real-time information on their bus location and plan their commute by using KAT’s new mobile app.

Mayor Rogero also set the tone and changed the transit culture in Knoxville through riding the bus – first to campaign events, and then as Mayor.  Through the Mayor on Board Program, Rogero and members of her staff ride KAT to various events and meetings.  Rogero also instituted a City Employee Pass Program, offering passes to City Employees who choose to ride the bus to work.

“It's an incredible honor to be recognized by the American Public Transportation Association,” Mayor Rogero said. “I'm thankful to work with such an outstanding team. The dedicated KAT staff and multiple City departments have worked together seamlessly to improve our transit infrastructure and services each year while incorporating transit into all our long-range planning. Transit is essential in solving our most challenging climate issues, and I believe we have positioned Knoxville well to take on those challenges."

“While Mayor Rogero’s time in office ends in December, her impact on transit in Knoxville will resonate for years to come,” says Melissa Roberson, Interim Director of Transit for Knoxville Area Transit. “We are grateful to the Mayor and Council for their support of transit in Knoxville.”


Aug 29

KAT Proposes Significant Changes for Several Bus Routes

Posted on August 29, 2019 at 9:41 AM by Savannah Kilday

Jan. 2020 Proposed Change
Knoxville Area Transit (KAT) is proposing route and schedule changes to several routes which, if approved, would take effect in January 2020.

Proposed Changes by Route:

Route 12 – Western Avenue:  To improve on-time performance and connections as well as streamline the route, the proposal is to make the current detour routing through the area of Western Heights a permanent change, using Virginia to Murphy.  Due to the recent street realignment of Western Avenue, portions of Virginia and Tennessee would no longer be served.

Route 13 – Beaumont: 

  • Adjust the service area of the route to cover additional areas along Middlebrook Pike, including Big Oak Apartments and Helen Ross McNabb’s Veterans’ Service Center, while terminating the route at Central Street and Dameron near the Knox County Health Department.  Additional new bus stops to be added along Middlebrook Pike. Transfers to Route 20 – Central provide direct service to Knoxville Station with almost immediate transferring.  Direct service provided to Public Works Building outbound leg only, with inbound service along Middlebrook Pike.
  • Additional evening trip on weekdays.

Route 20 – Central Street:  Remove the service extension to Melstone and McClain, keeping the route consistent throughout the day.

Route 34 – Burlington:  Remove a 3-block portion at Catalpa, Kirk and Lilac streets, keeping the bus straight on Fern to improve route performance.

Route 42 – UT/Ft. Sanders Hospitals: 

  • Improve headways to 30 minutes on weekdays;
  • Continue service through 11:15 p.m. trips in the evening, weekdays and Saturdays;
  • Add new Sunday service.

Route 90 – Crosstown:

  • Change routing to serve Walbrook Superstop (at Wal Mart west), rather than West Town Mall by following Middlebrook to Gallaher View.  Eliminate service through West Hills along Vanosdale and at West Town Mall. Add new bus stops along Middlebrook Pike. This eliminates a double-transfer to Route 16 – Cedar Bluff while still providing connections to West Town Mall via Route 11 – Kingston Pike.
  • Saturday schedule adjustment to create consistency with weekday service. 
  • New routing through I-640 Plaza to improve efficiency, along with service along Third Creek rather than Ed Shouse Drive to Middlebrook.

Outreach, Public Meetings, and Ways to Comment

For detailed information, the public is invited to visit KAT’s website at www.katbus.com, call 637-3000, or visit KAT’s Customer Service Desk at Knoxville Station Transit Center.

Information will be distributed to agencies, housing, and businesses along the affected routes, and the public is encouraged to comment on the proposal.

KAT will hold two public open houses in order to explain the changes and accept comments.  Dates are as follows:

  • Wednesday, September 11, 2019, 4:30-7:00 pm – Public Works Complex, 3131 Morris Ave. along Route 13 – Beaumont
  • Monday, September 16, 2019, 4:30 – 7:00 p.m. – Bearden Middle School Library, 1000 Frances Road along Route 90 - Crosstown

In addition, detailed information will be on display at Knoxville Station for review and comment during the month of September.

Public Hearing

The Knoxville Transportation Authority will hold a public hearing on Thursday, September 26, 2019 at 3:00 p.m. in the Main Assembly Room of the City County Building, 400 Main Street.

If approved at a vote at the October meeting, the changes would take effect January 6, 2020.