A more direct route to south Knoxville and access to a new shopping center are among the changes that might be coming to riders of the city's bus system, pending approval from transit officials.
On Thursday, the Knoxville Area Transit board will consider proposals that would adjust the routes of the 40 and 41 buses that serve south Knoxville and the 90 crosstown line, as well as extend the free Vol Trolley service deeper into the University of Tennessee and to the University Commons shopping center now under construction.
The changes suggested for the 40 and 41 lines would restore their old paths over the Henley Street Bridge. Those buses were diverted to the Gay Street Bridge during the three-year-long overhaul and renovation of the Henley Street Bridge.
“Now that the Henley Street Bridge is open, we really want to streamline our routes into south Knoxville. And so our main route, our 41 Chapman Highway, we’re proposing to get back to serving that area again," KAT spokeswoman Belinda Brill said.
Putting the south Knoxville buses on more direct routes won't cost anything. But extending Vol Trolley service westward will. Brill said KAT anticipated the additional cost, and planned for it in its fiscal year 2015 budget request. The goal is to create easier access to the University of Tennessee and the University Commons shopping center, south of Kingston Pike on the west side of the UT campus.
Public comments are still being solicited, and will be until the time of the meeting Thursday afternoon, Brill said. The board meeting itself is also open to the public.
If approved, the Vol Trolley extension would begin on July 28, near the projected opening date of University Commons. All other route adjustments would take effect in late August.