KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Knoxville Area Transit has approved cuts to its bus services, including the elimination of some routes and reduction of frequency on some lines, amid an ongoing worker shortage.

On July 7, the Knoxville Transportation Authority held a meeting where several changes to reduce service were approved. These changes include doing away with routes 10 and 19. In addition, a new outbound route will serve West Town Mall via Gleason Drive and Route 12 – Western will use 5th Avenue to University (rather than Arthur and Boyd) through the Mechanicsville area.

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 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

These changes will go into effect on Monday, August 29, 2022, according to KAT’s website. In addition, 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 p.m. on Friday and Saturday evenings
  • Blue Line Trolley – ends at 8:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday evenings
  • Green Line Trolley – ends at 8:00 p.m. 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 156 of the 200 operators needed to run at pre-pandemic service levels.

“We really tried to be strategic and surgical about it. Really focusing on when people ride the least, what days of the week they ride the least, and really try to use those times and those days to really target our service reductions,” said Belinda Woodiel, KAT Director of Planning & Public Information.

According to KAT, they had to reduce service twice during COVID, once in early 2020 before returning to regular levels in July. Service was once again reduced in November 2020. Since that time service has not been able to return to regular levels.