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Public Transit Begins To Reduce Operations Amid Pandemic

Public transportation services are beginning to reduce operations as people are scaling back travel due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Amtrak Downeaster service cancelled two round trips Tuesday and is cancelling two more Wednesday — the 1:05 p.m. and 5:25 p.m. southbound runs from Brunswick to Boston, coupled with the 2:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. northbound return trips to Maine.

Beginning this weekend, only two round-trip trains will run, leaving Brunswick at 7:30 a.m. and 12:20 p.m. and northbound trains out of Boston at 1:00 p.m. and 4:50 p.m.

Cyr Bus Lines has suspended its Bangor-to-Caribou bus service. Concord Coach Lines will end service to Colby College today and Bates College Friday.

As of this writing, it's other schedules are operating.

Later Wednesday, the board of the Greater Portland Metro bus system is planning to hold a special, electronic meeting. The board will be asked to reduce service to a Saturday schedule beginning March 20th and to suspend fare collection.

Both changes would last well into next month and the bus system's management will ask for permission to make further service reductions if necessary. The Metro buses serve Portland, Westbrook, Falmouth, Yarmouth, Freeport and Brunswick.

The Bangor Community Connector bus service is maintaining a normal schedule. Officials of CitiLink, which serves the Lewiston-Auburn area are reportedly also thinking about possible changes to their schedule.

Meanwhile, transportation operators in Maine have been taking steps to keep riders safe. Back on March 4, Concord Coach Lines reported on its website that it is disinfecting all buses daily, disinfecting "high-touch" surfaces at least daily and stocking hand sanitizer and tissues on every bus.

In greater Portland, the Metro bus system says it's cleaning and disinfecting all its buses and facilities at least twice a day. It also removed hand straps, which are more porous and, thus, harder to clean.

Biddeford, Saco, Old Orchard Beach transit says it uses an electrostatic spray gun, and wipes on its buses daily, and that drivers are encouraged to do additional cleaning between runs.

Updated March 18, 2020 at 2:16 p.m. ET.