Mayor Rogero wins North American Transit Award for KAT improvements

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Mayor Madeline Rogero has been awarded for promoting transit in the city during her two terms.

The American Public Transportation Association presented Rogero with its Distinguished Service Award at a ceremony in New York City.

The award recognizes Rogero’s efforts to focus on the Knoxville Area Transit system including fully integrating transit into the city’s internal structure, increasing financial support, and changing the culture around transit in the city, according to a news release from APTA.

“I’m thankful to work with such an outstanding team,” Mayor Rogero said. “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.”

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 also launched a new mobile app to get real-time information on its buses and Wi-Fi for bus riders.

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

Collaborations between city departments and the bus system has also increased service and made taking the bus a priority for city employees.

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.

Partnerships with the city departments of Engineering and 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.

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