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Summer in the City Intern Connects with Transit 
Earlier this summer, the Communications department's Summer in the City intern (and rising high school senior) Kevin Farmer hopped aboard Knoxville Area Transit for the first time and documented his experience. 

I learned an important lesson as I embarked on my first experience using public transit: There may be bumps along the way, but it is nothing you can't handle.   

As I walked out of the City County Building on Wednesday, June 16, I saw the free blue line trolley parked in its spot. From my review of the trolleys, I remembered that the blue line stops at the KAT Station, which is where I wanted to go, so I boarded it. 

I double checked the KAT mobile app as the trolley got started to make sure I knew which stop was mine. Then I triple checked it just for good measure. Through the KAT app, I was able to locate the nearest stops to me, plan specific routes, and locate where a bus is on a given route. All I had to do was select my starting point and my end destination and it showed me the bus route with how long it was estimated to take. 

KAT blue line trolleyAs the trolley approached the station, another rider called for a stop for the stop right before my own. I was nervous about calling for my stop, so I impulsively decided to get out and walk the rest of the short distance to the station. 

When I arrived at the station, I had just missed the bus departing at the time I had intended to catch, but I knew there was another bus on the same route scheduled to arrive in 15 minutes. The layout of the station confused me at first, but then I looked around and got my bearings. I found the screen that listed the different bus routes, the letters indicating their stops, and their estimated departure times. 

The next bus headed to my destination pulled in just as I started walking towards my stop. I boarded and swiped my KAT Youth Freedom Pass.
KAT trolley
Once I took my seat, I pulled out my book to pass the time. The comfortable seats allowed me to relax and take a look around as the bus started up. The windows afforded me an amazing view of the city as I passed through the differently sized buildings and structures. 

I repeatedly checked the KAT app to confirm my stop so I would not miss it. I knew where my stop was, but it was reassuring to have a way to double check. Another passenger called for a stop, and I decided that it was close enough to mine so I got off. I got to a big intersection and had to go across three crosswalks because there was not one for the direction I wished to go, and I arrived at my destination. 

Thanks to the easy-to-use KAT app, my first experience with public transit was relatively smooth. Through it, I was able to plan my route exactly from the station to my stop, in addition to tracking the arrival times. Even though it was my first time, the app and the informative signs at the KAT station ensured it was easy and enjoyable.

Next time I ride the KAT bus, I plan on arriving at the station at least 10 minutes before my bus arrives. If something unexpected comes up -- which frequently does-- I will have enough extra time before my bus leaves so that I do not miss it. Additionally, I will review the maps of the areas around my stops so that I know exactly where everything is and know the quickest walking path to where I need to go if I get off a stop early. 

For other people who are taking KAT for the first time, my #1 piece of advice is to plan ahead. Know when each bus is scheduled to arrive and how much time you have in between. Download the KAT app and familiarize yourself with it. The more you use public transit and the more comfortable you feel with it the easier it will become. Happy travels! 

Posted by ptravis On 19 July, 2021 at 3:37 PM