Apr 22

KAT Offers Free Rides for National Get on Board Day

Posted on April 22, 2019 at 9:39 AM by Savannah Kilday

Get on Board Day 2019
Knoxville Area Transit (KAT) will join with around 200 other public transportation systems nationwide to participate in National Get On Board Day on Thursday, April 25.  KAT will offer service fare-free to encourage the public to ride and show their support for transit.

“Now is a great time to try transit in Knoxville,” says Melissa Roberson, Interim Director of Transit for the City of Knoxville. “Our new KATbus Tracker app can track your bus in real time as well as plan your trip.  Or, if you prefer, the texting feature at each bus stop also offers real-time bus arrival times.  Once on the bus, the free wi-fi is a great way to get some work done or just relax with some good music.”

Sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), the 2019 National Get On Board Day is a day that encourages people to support public transportation and showcases the benefits it brings to communities.  Each weekday in the U.S., 34 million people board public transportation.

Additionally, public transportation is a cornerstone of local economies in urban, suburban, and rural communities. In fact, public transportation helps to make a community economically prosperous and competitive.  Every $1 invested in public transportation generates approximately $4 in economic returns, powering community growth and revitalization. 

“There are so many good reasons to use transit,” says Roberson.  “Whether it’s because you want to save money, reduce your environmental impact, enjoy a walk to and from the bus stop, or just enjoy letting someone else do the driving, we encourage you to hop on for Get on Board Day, and let us know why you ride.”

KAT is encouraging passengers to use social media on the 25th to share why public transit is important to them.

WHAT:        Free rides on KAT for National Get On Board Day

WHERE:     Throughout the City of Knoxville

WHEN:        Thursday, April 25, 2019

Download this Press Release as a PDF here. 
Mar 27

KAT Announces Real-Time Bus Tracker App

Posted on March 27, 2019 at 8:34 AM by Savannah Kilday

KATbus Tracker AppKnoxville Area Transit (KAT) is pleased to announce the long-awaited availability of KATbus Tracker – a real-time bus tracking and trip planning app now available for Android and iPhone users.  The app allows users to find their bus on a map in real time, plan trips, save favorite stop locations, and find out about detours and other alerts.  Using the bus GPS system, the app is able to estimate the arrival time at the stop selected by the user. The app is free to download and was produced in partnership with Clever Devices Ltd.

This app is the second part of a passenger technology roll-out for KAT, with the first being the real-time texting feature released in January of this year.  Each bus stop in the KAT system (over 1,200) has a unique stop ID number; texting that stop number to #22827 provides immediate next bus estimates back to the user.

“This tracking technology is an essential element for transit passengers,” says Melissa Roberson, Interim Director of Transit for the City of Knoxville. “Knowing how soon your bus will arrive, and also seeing it on a map provides a new level of comfort when riding transit.  It is incredibly reassuring to know that the bus hasn’t already passed you by, and even better, when it’s coming.”

KAT’s theme for the roll-out of the KATbus Tracker App is ‘It’s about time.’

“We love this slogan, because a real-time app is all about more efficiently using your time and knowing what time the bus will arrive.  But thought of another way, we acknowledge that the public has been asking for an app like this for several years, so in that sense, it’s also about time,” says Roberson.

KAT is hopeful that passengers will take full advantage of this new app.  If the data from the earlier release of the texting feature is any indication, the app should be popular.  In February alone, 730 individuals sent 6,131 next-bus text requests from 502 different bus stop locations.  The texting numbers continue to climb.

“Transit can be intimidating if you’ve never used it before,” says Roberson.  “This app helps alleviate the concern of where the bus is, which is a huge step in encouraging people to hop on board.”

Download this news release as a PDF here. 
Dec 13

KAT to Begin Offering Real-time Bus Location Info for Passengers

Posted on December 13, 2018 at 9:25 AM by Savannah Kilday

Text for Real-Time Bus Arrival
Passengers waiting at Knoxville Area Transit (KAT) bus and trolley stops might see a new bit of information on their bus stop sign, indicating a texting feature for next bus information.  KAT is currently going through the process of placing stickers on all 1300 bus stops in the system, as well as new trolley flags at trolley stops downtown, all containing instructions on how to find out when the next vehicle will arrive, based on the bus or trolley’s current location.

“We are very excited to begin rolling out this option for our passengers to get real time information on their bus’s location,” says Melissa Roberson, Interim Director of Transit for the City of Knoxville.

Each bus or trolley stop will have a unique number associated with it.  By texting the word “KAT” and that unique number to the number specified on the sign, the user will immediately receive a text with the estimated arrival times for all buses going by that stop within the next hour.  The information is based on the stop number, not the location of the phone being used.  This means that someone can find out from the comfort of the home or office when the next bus is due at his or her favorite stop.

All stickers should be on all stops by the end of December.

This text feature is the first phase of KAT’s real time passenger information project.  The second will feature a smart phone app that will allow passengers to track their bus on a map or locate the nearest bus stops, along with other features.  KAT hopes to release the real time app in early 2019.

“Being able to know where your bus is in real time can be a game changer for transit use.  By removing that uncertainty, people are more comfortable and can be more efficient with their time,” says Roberson.  “We encourage everyone to try our new texting feature at the nearest bus stop, and let us know what you think.”

Download this new release as a PDF here.