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story.lead_photo.caption In this file photo passengers wait for their Rock Region Metro bus at the River Cities Travel Center in downtown Little Rock. ( Democrat-Gazette file photo / John Sykes Jr.)

Rock Region Metro will be reducing routes starting Friday and streetcar services have been cut in response to federal administration recommendations to reduce gatherings of people in the face of the coronavirus outbreak.

Service on Route 17, Mabelvale/Downtown Little Rock; Route 25, Pinnacle Mountain Express; Route 26, Maumelle/Oak Grove Express; and Route 36, Jacksonville/Sherwood Express will be cut to re-allocate buses to high-ridership routes to reduce passenger loads, the public transit bus service announced on Wednesday.

Buses will be placed on Route 3, Baptist Medical Center; Route 5, West Markham; Route 10, McCain Mall; Route 14, Rosedale; Route 22, University Avenue/Mabelvale; and Route 23, Baseline Road/Southwest Drive.

Passenger loads will be limited for Routes 3, 5, 10, 14, 22 and 23.

The public transit system announced that Route 17 is a duplicative route that covers much of the Route 22 service area. The agency encouraged Route 17 riders to use Route 22.

The METRO Streetcar service was suspended Tuesday in an effort to redirect staff resources to areas of higher need, the release stated. The agency’s microtransit service is still in operation along with the paratransit service.

“We understand the inconvenience a service cut may create with riders,” said Charles Frazier, METRO executive director. “METRO is weighing all service decisions carefully and balancing basic public transportation needs with public health needs, including the needs of our employees.”

Maps and schedule information can be found at rrmetro.org.

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