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.”