MARCH 3, 2005 - Updated at 5:26 p.m. CST
LITTLE ROCK, AR - Greyhound Lines says it will eliminate its bus service to more than half the locations it now serves in Arkansas, including nine communities in Region 8. The changes are to start April 3 and will include some of the state's largest cities.
Greyhound buses now stop in about 50 locations in the state, and the company said Wednesday it would eliminate service to 27 of those communities.
The cuts are part of an overhaul of service west of the Mississippi River that is intended to increase the company's efficiency.
In Region 8, Greyhound will eliminate stops in Bald Knob, Corning, Hardy, Marked Tree, Mountain Home, Newport, Osceola, Searcy and Tuckerman. Other affected Arkansas cities include Alma, Bradford, Conway, Crossett, Fayetteville, Flippin, Fort Smith, Hamburg, Harrison, Huntsville, Lamar, Magnolia, Monticello, Ozark, Pine Bluff, Russellville, Siloam Springs and Springdale.
Newport Community leaders say they need a bus station.
"It's a great asset to the community. The truck school and prison use it. We also have several citizens who use it," said Mayor David Stewart of Newport.
Newport city council members held a special session Wednesday to discuss alternative plans. The council unanimously voted to use Jefferson Bus Lines, a national company, to shuttle passengers stations in Little Rock and Jonesboro. There they can pick up regular service. The Arkansas Highway and Transportation department is helping Newport fund the service.
" The service will not cost tax payers anything, in fact the service will bring a little profit to the town," said Mayor Stewart.
Other cities where Greyhound will no longer stop, include; Conway, Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Russellville and Springdale, are served by Minneapolis-based Jefferson Lines, which has routes in eleven states and part of Canada.
Jefferson Lines president Charles Zelle says that company may add service to some other cities in Arkansas.