|May 17, 2011 -
The new Knox County proposed budget does not continue funding for the Seniors FREEdom program, which covers bus fares for seniors age 65 and over, effectively ending the program as of October.
Seniors FREEdom was a partnership launched by former Knox County Mayor Ragsdale in 2006, as part of his "No Senior Left Behind" initiative. In the program, Knox County covered bus fares of seniors using Knoxville Area Transit, at a cost of approximately $75,000 annually. The program's budget was reduced to $25,000, covering rides only through September of this year.
Seniors taking advantage of the program equated to between 8,000 and 10,000 rides on KAT per month. Effective in October, these seniors will now be paying the regular discounted senior fare of $0.75 per ride – half of regular KAT fares.
"We understand that difficult choices must be made in these challenging financial times for governments," says Cindy McGinnis, KAT General Manager. "We want to be sure our senior passengers know that this is coming, and begin budgeting for this October change."