About Kats

About Kingsport Area Transit Service

KATS began in 1995 to serve the citizens of Kingsport. Today, KATS has retooled bus routes to provide better and more efficient service to new and growing areas of Kingsport.

KATS operates six vehicles on fixed route service Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. The system also operates four vehicles for Dial-A-Ride passengers during the same service hours.

Kingsport is a popular tourist destination, especially for retirees. Kingsport’s median age is 41.9 years, older than Tennessee’s median age of 35.9 years. In fact, the largest segment of Kingsport’s population is age 50 and over, at 40.6 percent of the population.

As older adults are large consumers of public transportation, this indicates a strong future for public transit in this segment in Kingsport.

To learn more about our Services and Kingsport as a community, please visit our Media and Links page.

About KATS ridership and how it exponentially grows each year


The City of Kingsport (KATS) operates its programs and services without regard to race, color, and national origin in accordance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. Any person who believes she or he has been aggrieved by any unlawful discriminatory practice under Title VI may file a written complaint with the City of Kingsport. For more information on the City of Kingsport’s Civil Rights program, and the procedures to file a complaint, contact 423-224-2613 or visit our administrative office at 109 Clay Street Kingsport, TN 37660. For more information or for language translation, visit our website at www.kingsporttransit.org.

ADA and Civil Rights

Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program

It is the policy of Kingsport Area Transit Service to afford Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs), as defined in 49 CFR Part 26, as amended, the maximum opportunity to participate in the performance of contracts financed in whole or in part with federal funds. Kingsport Area Transit Service’s DBE Policy Statement may be viewed here. To see a copy of Kingsport Area Transit Service’s overall DBE goal and methodology for the three fiscal-year period of FFY 2015-2017 (October 1, 2014 through September 30, 2017), click here.

What is a DBE?

A DBE is a for-profit small business that is at least 51 percent owned and controlled by one or more individuals who are both socially and economically disadvantaged, as defined in 49 CFR Part 26.  For a link to DBE regulations, 49 CFR Part 26, click here.  A copy of the DBE regulations is also available at the KATS Transit Center.

How does a business become certified as a DBE?

Kingsport Area Transit Service’s DBE certification is administered by the Small Business Development Program, Civil Rights Office, Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT). To print a DBE application (with instructions), click here.  You may also pick up a copy of a DBE application at the KATS Transit Center. Once a business is certified as a DBE, the Tennessee Unified Certified Program allows multiple agencies to utilize the same certification statewide, to simplify the application process.

Completed DBE applications should be mailed to:

Tennessee Department of Transportation
Civil Rights Office, Small Business Development Program
Suite 1800, James K. Polk Bldg.
505 Deaderick Street
Nashville, TN  37243-0347

What are the advantages of being certified as a DBE?

Certification as a DBE provides greater exposure for contract opportunities.  Upon being certified as a DBE, your business’s address is added to a state-wide database which is compiled and maintained by TDOT. This list, the TDOT Certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Listing, is accessed by other transit systems, as well as municipal and state agencies seeking to do business with DBEs. Being  certified as a DBE enhances a business’s exposure to the business community.  However, there is no requirement to be a certified DBE in order to do business with KATS. The current TDOT Certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Listing  may be viewed by clicking here.  A copy of the TNUCP Certified DBE Listing is also available at the KATS Transit Center.

Is there any cost to become certified as a DBE?


Business assistance from local resources which is available to current and prospective DBEs (including potential start-up businesses), including areas of technical, financial, and management information, is listed below (a website link for each resource (except SCORE) is provided):

Small Business Administration: Calender of Training Events in Tennessee

TDOT Civil RIghts Office, Small Business Development ProgramDBE Fastrac“: A quarterly newsletter providing information for DBE’s an small business’s, including upcoming DBE’s seminars/workshops. This newsletter may be viewed/printed by clicking here.

ETSU Innovation Laboratory: The ETSU Innovation Laboratory is an economic development initiative of East Tennessee State University, partnered with the Tennessee Small Business Development Center and the ETSU Entrepreneurial Leadership Program. (423-439-8500)

TN Small Business Development Center at ETSU:Informational guidance on business start-up, including training workshops and business start-up/continuation counseling.

DBE complaints:

To file a complaint alleging that KATS has not complied with DBE regulations, click here to view/print the DBE complaint procedures.


Kingsport Area Transit Service (a department of the City of Kingsport) is an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO)/Affirmative Action (AA) compliant employer dedicated to a policy of non-discrimination in employment upon any basis, including race, color, creed, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, national origin, genetic information, mental or physical disabilities, or veteran status.  To view the Kingsport Area Transit Service Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Active Policy Statement, click here.

A KATS employee or applicant may file a complaint alleging that KATS has not complied with EEO/AA regulations. Click here to view/print an EEO complaint form (which includes filing instructions). KATS EEO complaint forms are also available at the KATS Transit Center (109 Clay Street). Complaints must be filed within 180 days of the alleged discrimination, and should be submitted to: City Manager, City of Kingsport, 225 W Center St, Kingsport, TN 37660.


The City of Kingsport complies with all applicable requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) 42 USC § 12101 e.t.sec; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, 29 USC§ 794; and section 16 of the Federal Transit Act, as amended, 49 USC app § 1612.

In compliance with 49 CFR Parts 27 and 37, including Appendix E to Part 37, it is the policy of Kingsport Area Transit Service to make reasonable modifications to its policies, practices, and procedures, to ensure that individuals with disabilities have full access to KATS services and facilities, subject to only a few exceptions as permitted in 49 CFR Part 37, Appendix E.  For additional information and/or guidance on submitting a request to KATS for a reasonable modification(s), please click here.

KATS is committed to ensuring equal access to its transportation services to all persons, and that no person is denied access to its services, programs, or activities on the basis of their disabilities. To file a complaint alleging that KATS has not complied with the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, click here to view/print instructions on filing a complaint; click here to view/print a complaint form. Complaint filing instructions and complaint forms are also available at the KATS Transit Center (109 Clay Street), or will be mailed upon request by calling the Transit Planner at (423) 224-2613.  ADA complaints must be filed within 180 days of the alleged discrimination.


Note: Kingsport Area Transit Service is a department of the City of Kingsport.

The City of Kingsport is a drug-free workplace, and the City abides by the provisions of the Drug Free Workplace Act (49 CFR Part 29 Subpart F).

Quick Links to important KATS information

View KATS Routes  |  Dial-A-Ride Services  |  Fares  |  Rider Code of Conduct  |  DBE Policy | Reasonable Modification Policy