Knox Area Transit (KAT) is establishing an additional free shuttle route for Knox County residents that will focus on access to health facilities and other resources such as food or employment information.
The new shuttle line will stop at seven locations within the county: the Station Break Senior Center, Knox County Service Center, Kroger, Knox Community Hospital, Knox Public Health, Walmart and Opportunity Knox. The route shares several stops in common with the KAT Purple Line shuttle that partners with Kenyon to transport students between the Kenyon campus and Mount Vernon. The Purple Line runs on separate morning, afternoon and evening schedules, with buses running Monday through Saturday every hour from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Popular stops include Kroger, Walmart, the Wright Center and the Premier Movie Theater. The shuttle is free for Kenyon students and faculty. For students without access to a car, it is one of the only means of transport off campus.
The new shuttle in Mount Vernon will run Monday through Friday every half-hour from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. It will operate under a fixed route, meaning that there will be a designated time the shuttle will arrive at each stop. Besides the Purple Line that serves Kenyon students, the KAT typically offers door-to-door service within Mount Vernon, with pricing dependent on the riders’ locations within different fare zones. The new route, on the other hand, will offer predictable options for riders. “You can work public transit into your schedule instead of having to wait on it,” Transit Administrator Martin McAvoy told Knox Pages.
KAT and Knox Public Health (KPH) each contributed funding for the route, with KAT supplying more than $36,000 from a grant for increasing access to health facilities. KPH contributed $60,000 from COVID-19 relief money also intended to broaden healthcare access.
KAT and KPH will continue to fund the shuttle through June 2023, at which point they will assess the program. If it has proven successful, the agencies will take steps toward permanently financing it.