Metro Atlanta’s Xpress bus service resumes fare collection

The state's Xpress bus service suspended fares for nearly four months because of the coronavirus pandemic. But this week it resumed fare collections. BRANDEN CAMP/SPECIAL
The state's Xpress bus service suspended fares for nearly four months because of the coronavirus pandemic. But this week it resumed fare collections. BRANDEN CAMP/SPECIAL

Credit: Branden Camp

Credit: Branden Camp

Georgia’s commuter bus system has begun collecting fares again after suspending collections during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Xpress bus system suspended fares nearly four months ago to separate passengers from drivers and to encourage social distancing. But the service began collecting fares again on Monday.

In March MARTA also suspended bus fares and began boarding passengers at rear doors amid the pandemic. The agency said it has no plans to resume regular fare collections for now.

Xpress serves 12 metro Atlanta counties, providing commuter service from suburban communities to Downtown Atlanta, Midtown and the Perimeter Center area. Like other metro agencies, it scaled back transit service, stepped up cleaning of buses and facilities and made other changes in response to the pandemic.

On Tuesday the service said it considered numerous factors in deciding to begin collecting fares again. Among them: its safety performance since April, the need for increased transit capacity as businesses reopen and “the operational health of our agency as both an employer and regional public transportation provider.”

“We believe now is the right time to restore the collection of fares and ensure that we continue to provide this valuable transportation option for commuters,” said Chris Tomlinson, executive director of the regional authority that operates the service.

The authority said it will continue enhanced cleaning of buses and other facilities. And it advises passengers to carry alcohol-based hand sanitizer and to take other precautions while riding.

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