Good news! I was so organized this morning that I was nine minutes early to my bus stop, which should have been ample time to catch my semi-hourly bus in time to get to work.
Bad news! Unfortunately, as early as I was, my bus was exactly one minute earlier, and I saw it whizz by as I waited to cross the last street to get to my stop.
It may have been the earlier bus running 20 minutes late, but how was I to know? And who has 40 minutes to wait at a bus stop every morning simply to be SURE to catch a semi-hourly bus, to account for that potential range of earliness/lateness? Where was the sign with the number I should call to find out whether the bus was on time, even?
I have lived in a lot of cities and taken a lot of public transportation: busses, subways, trolleys, commuter trains. That’s why I continue to find the Knoxville public transportation system so frustrating.
First, the ridership demographic is very telling. When I’ve taken the bus to or from work, I’ve seen very few business-types on the bus with me. Instead, the bus seems mostly to be an extension of the local homeless shelter along with small clusters of non-English speaking newcomers in clean but threadbare clothes, often toting tiny children behind them.
Why don’t other people take the bus? Perhaps because most of us need more control over our daily schedules and can’t risk being 40 minutes late for a dental appointment, or a meeting, or even a job.
My suggestion to the Knox Area Transit system, which currently struggles for viability because it’s struggling for riders: KAT, in order to be taken seriously, you must take yourself (and your schedule) seriously, first.