MARTA also will reduce bus service. All routes will continue to operate, but with fewer buses on each route. The exceptions are the busiest routes: 15, 39, 5, 121, 196, 73, 110, 78, 83 and 89. On those routes, MARTA will add buses to aid social distancing.
The agency said the new bus plan “closely mirrors MARTA’s inclement weather plan and prioritizes service along major arterial routes and to medical facilities.” It said the plan also allows for weekday-level bus service to essential businesses.
The downtown streetcar will operate on a Sunday schedule.
As the pandemic worsen, MARTA and other transit agencies have seen far fewer customers. On Monday, the number of trips on MARTA rail service was down 67 percent form a typical Monday in February. Bus trips were down 55 percent.
The state's Xpress bus service, Cobb County and Gwinnett County this week began reducing service on commuter bus lines that transport suburban residents into major job centers in metro Atlanta. On Wednesday those agencies said they did not plan additional cuts for now, though they continue to evaluate service.
MARTA has maintained service until now. But the agency said it's taking a financial hit as the number of passengers falls. It's one of dozens of agencies nationwide that have sought federal aid to maintain their operations.
On Thursday MARTA will suspend bus fares and require passengers to board at the rear of buses to separate passengers from drivers. The agency confirmed two employees have reported testing positive for the coronavirus, though one was later determined not to have it and was cleared to report to work.