Zagster's Strong Ground Game: Knoxville, TN

Zagster's Strong Ground Game: Knoxville, TN

by Kyla Hanaway

Kyla Hanaway has an eye for talent, and she’s helped build Zagster into the community-driven, goal-oriented organization it is today. When she’s not working to change the world, she’s most likely reading a non-fiction page turner or playing Barbies with her daughter.

Zagster lives its mission of helping people connect with the community by staffing its projects with local residents who know the area and operate with the kind of knowledge and expertise only long-time community members have. In addition to operating our Knoxville fleet of some 200 Pace bikes, our local mechanics and rebalancers are a constant presence at community events and charity functions, working with schools, churches and civic groups to provide transportation and education about alternate forms of transit. That type of persistent presence is one of the keys to success for any microtransit program.

Lori and Marshall are so much more than just mobility operators. They are an integral part of the Knoxville community, and have made Pace an everyday presence in the area, helping to make it a better place.

Our Knoxville ground team is managed by two area natives: operations specialist Lori Robertson and mechanic Marshall Lane. Lori and Marshall oversee a staff of three part-time employees—all local residents—who work to make sure the Pace fleet is in top mechanical shape and that bikes are in the 21 locations riders want them, when they want them. They also perform safety demonstrations and explain how to use bikeshare.

Everything Lori and Marshall do is aimed at increasing the project’s likelihood of success. Where other bikeshare programs pay their rebalancers by the piece, our Knoxville mechanics and rebalancers are paid by the hour, giving them the freedom and opportunity to interact with the public, answering questions and demonstrating the ins and outs of Pace.

The model Lori and Marshall have developed for Pace can be easily and quickly deployed to help any type of Zagster-run micromobility project succeed right from launch day.

Lori and Marshall are so much more than just mobility operators. They are an integral part of the Knoxville community, and have made Pace an everyday presence in the area, helping to make it a better place. Marshall manages Knucklebusters Speed Shop, a local bike store that serves the needs of area cyclists. Over the past year, Lori and Marshall have become ambassadors for Pace, meeting with community members, including property managers and local store owners, to explain the value of bikeshare.

And the duo has been instrumental in weaving Zagster into the area’s consciousness with a community engagement strategy that makes us a regular presence. Here are just a few of the area programs and events Pace has been a presence at and supporter of since our 2018 Knoxville launch:

  • UT Sustainability Day

  • The Knoxville Open Streets Festival

  • The Tennessee Sustainable Transportation Forum

  • Using Pace bikes for food/hygiene bag distribution to the homeless in partnership with Grace Lutheran Church 

  • Attendance at city council and community interest meetings concerning Knoxville’s BMX track and South Knoxville Urban Wilderness 

  • Rode Pace bikes in the area's annual ️Pride Parade

  • Rapid response to city and business requests for bike removals

  • Support local group bike rides organized by our partners, So Kno Taco and Alliance Brewery

  • Community awareness outreach at farmers markets throughout the summer

  • Support Pace sponsors by stationing their branded bikes at community special events. 

If you’re looking for ways to work your program into the fabric of a community, take a look at what Marshall and Lori have done.