Continued Workforce Shortage causes KAT to Propose Additional Service Reductions
It is with great reluctance that Knoxville Area Transit (KAT) is proposing additional service reductions due to continuing and worsening workforce shortages. The Knoxville Transportation Authority (KTA) will hold a public hearing on Thursday, July 7, 2022 to review and vote on the proposed changes. If approved, the additional service reductions will take effect on Monday, August 29, 2022.
“This is a completely unprecedented situation,” says Isaac Thorne, Director of Transit for the City of Knoxville. “We currently have 156 operators out of the 200 needed to operate our pre-COVID service levels. Our bus operators are working hard to try to provide this current level of service to the community, but we must step back for a while with our service levels while we continue to redouble our hiring, training, and retention efforts.”
Recognizing the spiraling effect this could have on those using KAT for work-related transportation, KAT and Knox County CAC Transit are partnering to provide work-related transportation to fill in the gaps left by these reduced service levels. KAT passengers who need transportation in the evenings and on Sundays where KAT service is reduced can call CAC to check availability. Knox County CAC will do their best to work with passenger schedules to provide work-related trips. More information on this program will soon be available on KAT’s website, katbus.com or by calling 865-637-3000.
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. Increasing workforce allowed a return to some previous levels of service, but not all, in March of 2021. However, since that time, workforce levels have continued to fall and are now lower than at any time during the pandemic.
The proposed service reductions are as follows:
- 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 ends 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
In addition to these service reductions two route changes are proposed:
- A new proposal to serve West Town Mall (outbound only) via Gleason Drive
- A proposal for a route change on Route 12 – Western to use 5th Avenue to University (rather than Arthur and Boyd) through the Mechanicsville area
The full details of these proposed changes can be found HERE, at the Knoxville Station Customer Service Counter and at the downtown library reference desk.