Knox Area Transit vehicle

MOUNT VERNON — Two months into Knox Area Transit's village express service, ridership continues to grow. KAT Director Martin McAvoy told the county commissioners on Thursday that 301 riders took advantage of the express shuttles in July.

“It keeps growing,” said McAvoy. “We get from 10 to 22 or 23 day in, day out.”

In addition to connecting to their workplace, riders use the village shuttles to connect to Mount Vernon's shuttle system. McAvoy said the express service also helps with hard-to-serve rides. Those riders will walk to one of the shuttle stops and use the express service rather than having KAT pick them up at their individual location.

“It's meeting the goals we set,” he said of the express service. “People are starting to call in saying 'I see the shuttle,' and asking how to access it.”

Launched in June as a pilot program, McAvoy said the 2020 budget covers the cost of continuing village shuttle services. The maintenance portion of the budget includes bringing on an entry-level mechanic to maintain all of KAT's shuttles. McAvoy said discussions include expanding the mechanic's duties to include detailing other county vehicles when not busy with KAT vehicles.

“If we have excess capacity, then we can sell that and use it as matching funds,” said Matthew Kurtz, director of Knox County Job & Family Services, referring to the mechanic's work on other county vehicles. “The big holdback for us is meeting that local price [to match state and federal grants].”

Support Our Journalism

The $2.249 million 2020 budget is about $134,609 higher than 2019.

“We're asking [Ohio Department of Transportation] for what our growth is and see if they will fund it,” said McAvoy.

Total ridership January through July of this year is 101,373, up 2,393 from 2019.