|June 9, 2009 -
Today Knoxville Area Transit (KAT) unveiled a new brand and a new bus, along with upcoming changes related to the new transit center, scheduled for an August 2010 opening.
“This is an extremely exciting time for mass transit in Knoxville, and change will be happening quickly – all within the next 14 months,” stated Cindy McGinnis, KAT General Manager. In addition to the 2010 move to the new LEED-certified transit center, a number of other changes were announced, including plans for route system changes, new GPS bus tracking technologies, and most visibly, a new brand for KAT.
KAT introduced the first of nine new buses being delivered this week. These buses are the very latest technology, featuring particulate filters which, when combined with ultra-low sulfur diesel, provide enormous emissions improvements over the fleet they are replacing. In addition, fleet not scheduled for replacement will also be outfitted with particulate trap filters, creating overall reduced emissions.
The entire fleet of buses will soon be equipped with GPS tracking devices, which will provide enormous opportunities for improved passenger information. This GPS system will translate into benefits such as real time electronic bus arrival signage at the transit center, as well as a website where anyone can determine bus location along a route.
Another aspect of KAT which will see change is the route system itself. KAT is completing work on a Transit Development Plan which has helped identify routes that are in need of updating, and helped KAT identify opportunities for streamlining the system. KAT will be closely examining all routes and will propose changes to the Knoxville Transportation Authority board in early 2010. All approved changes will be timed with the opening of the new center.
The final, and most obvious change announced, was the KAT brand. KAT has operated orange and teal buses for 15 years, but, McGinnis stated, “we began to realize that this brand no longer reflected KAT’s emphasis on our core values of improving technologies and our mindfulness of environmental concerns.” The bright green is representative of transit’s connection to environmental change. The silver and black on the new bus design are representative of the great leaps in technology that KAT is undertaking, with improved fuels and emissions, passenger information, and the latest in energy efficiencies.
Further examples of technology advances include: a new website scheduled to go live in a few short months, complete with online pass sales and downloadable routes and schedules; and new fareboxes, recently installed, which offer change cards and improved pass options for customers.
McGinnis also announced KAT’s new slogan - Ride for Change. To ride for change means to ride for a relative low cost compared to car ownership. To ride for change also means that transit is, in several ways, the solution to the change many wish to see – a solution to environmental and air quality concerns. As an example of that, KAT is currently offering fare-free rides on Air Quality Action Days. When the air quality in Knoxville reaches an Orange level or higher – meaning our air is unhealthy for sensitive groups – all KAT rides will be free that day.
McGinnis also pointed out that the new logo has already been recognized with not only the local Gold Addy award, but also the Southeast regional award as well. The design was produced by Hornsby Brand Design, a local Knoxville firm.