State reduces Xpress bus service amid coronavirus outbreak

Metro Atlanta’s Xpress bus system is reducing service amid the coronavirus outbreak.   BRANDEN CAMP/SPECIAL
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Metro Atlanta’s Xpress bus system is reducing service amid the coronavirus outbreak. BRANDEN CAMP/SPECIAL

Credit: Branden Camp

Credit: Branden Camp

Metro Atlanta's commuter bus system is reducing service as the coronavirus outbreak takes a toll on the number of people commuting by bus and the number of drivers available to operate the service.

On Thursday Xpress bus announced it would cut service on four morning routes and 10 afternoon routes on Thursday and Friday. More cuts are coming Monday.

Chris Tomlinson, executive director of the State Road and Tollway Authority, which operates Xpress bus, said the number of passenger has plummeted by about three-quarters this week as schools, government offices and businesses close and many metro Atlanta residents work from home.

In addition, the agency is finding it hard to maintain routes because bus drivers can’t come to work with schools closed and their children at home. That’s why the agency cancelled some routes this week.

SRTA announced the following routes will not operate Thursday and Friday:

Morning routes: Route 423 – 6:15 a.m., Route 441 – 6:30 a.m., Route 453 – 6:45 a.m., Route 463 – 6:48 a.m.

Afternoon route: Route 400 – 4:10 p.m., Route 412 – 5 p.m., Route 414 – 4:10 p.m., Route 417 – 4:55 p.m., Route 419 – 3:30 p.m. and 5:45 p.m., Route 426 – 4:05 p.m., Route 432 – 4:40 p.m., Route 431 – 4:20 p.m., Route 463 – 4:21 p.m., Route 482 – 3:15 p.m.

More service cuts are coming next week because of reduced ridership. Tomlinson said the frequency of service will be cut 40 to 50 percent Monday, depending on the route.

“Every single route will still have at lest two trips in each direction,” he said.

Xpress bus operates 27 routes serving 12 metro Atlanta counties. The routes generally carry passengers from the suburbs to Downtown, Midtown and Perimeter Center.

SRTA also announced Thursday it has closed customer service offices in the region.

The reduced commuter bus ridership mirrors a general reduction in traffic across the region amid the coronavirus outbreak. On Tuesday the Georgia Department of Transportation reported that traffic volumes are generally down 20 to 40 percent on metro Atlanta highways – and as much as 50 percent in some areas.

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