“Rolling Rally” around National Mall & U.S. Capital on Wednesday, May 13
On May 13, 2020 hundreds of motorcoach companies from around the country will come together for a rolling rally around the U.S. Capitol to remind Members of Congress and the Trump Administration that the industry – which has laid off or furloughed more than 90 percent of its workforce nationally in the wake of COVID-19 – needs federal assistance. The industry is requesting $15 billion in grants and loans and modifications to Economic Injury Disaster Loan and Paycheck Protection Program to help save the industry from failing.
“Motorcoaches Rolling for Awareness” (MR4A) is a one day, one time grass roots event born from independent motorcoach operators, industry suppliers and state associations, represented by a joint initiative between the nation’s two largest associations, American Bus Association (ABA) and United Motorcoach Association (UMA). The Ohio Motorcoach Association, ABA, UMA, and ABC Companies were key in organizing the event, as well as DC Trails and DATTCO.
This is a positive event showcasing how big buses and small businesses move America. Buses will be decorated with informative signs about the motorcoach industry including: the groups they serve, the economic impact they make and the people they employ.
“Our ask is simple,” Jeff Polzien of Red Carpet Charters, and chairman of UMA, said. “The U.S motorcoach industry is requesting Congress put motorcoaches back on the road by making available $10 billion in grants for operational and payroll assistance and $5 billion in long-term zero percent interest rate loans to the industry, ensuring these monies are available immediately and easily accessible. Our businesses need a lifeline so we can be there when the country needs us next.”
“The current economic remedies available to small businesses don’t address sectors like ours that will take much longer to recover from the current crisis,” said Peter Pantuso, president and CEO of ABA. “Airlines, Amtrak and transits have received more than $75 billion prop up these industries. Of the 3,000 bus and motorcoach companies in the United States, 90 percent are small, family-owned business who have had to close their businesses during the COVID-19 crisis. By having to shut their doors while no one is traveling, nearly 100,000 employees, which include drivers, cleaners, maintenance and repair, administrative and safety personnel, are now without incomes.”
“The event coordination is being led by an all-volunteer group of individuals from multiple disciplines within the industry”, said Thom Peebles, vice president, marketing, ABC Companies. “When Roman Cornell (ABC president and chief commercial officer) and I first developed the concept, it was simply to help our industry get back on the road. ABC and the Cornell family have long believed that taking care of customers takes care of everything else and we couldn’t just sit back and watch our industry, customers and friends be decimated by these shut downs.”
Peebles said that, following the first meeting with ABA and UMA, the team was introduced to the president of the Ohio Motorcoach Association, Ben Bolog, who is an independent multi-generational operator and president of US Coach Tours. Bolog was also simultaneously developing the same concept ABC had brought to the table. All parties quickly recognized the obvious synergies of bringing ABC and OMA together. As the teams synced up, the idea took root and all became hyper-focused on determining what it would take to pull it off. After consulting with different operators and associations, it was clear that the industry was primed for the idea and needed a method to funnel into action. The initiative was agreed to, named and a website set up all in the same day.
Since the concept’s inception, key industry leaders including MCI, Prevost, and other OEMS have all contributed at various levels to ensure that the event accurately represents the industry as a whole and its many customers served.
“This is the kind of grass roots movement my grandfather Clancy Cornell would have gotten behind and I think he would be proud of ABC working so hard and at this level to help our customers and their businesses,” said Roman Cornell. “Making customers and our industry our priority is what makes ABC what it is today. When this pandemic first hit, I challenged my team to truly understand how we could help our customers and our industry as a whole. Since then, we have launched our CLEANS initiative of products and services to clean and sanitize motorcoaches and provide support elements to get the traveling public back on our customers coaches. When the concept of bringing miles of motorcoaches to D.C. as rolling billboards to educate and garner government and public support, in a way that was positive, I was all in.”
“We think this will be the largest meet up in our industry’s history and we’re truly humbled to be a part of it,” Peebles said. “We look forward to seeing so many of our friends and operators on the road, as we roll together during the ultimate social distancing, awareness raising event.”
WHEN: Wednesday, May 13 @ 10:30 a.m.
WHO: Motorcoach companies representing all 50 U.S. States
WHERE: The rally will kick off from AUDI Field, pass by the U.S. Capitol’s West Front and encircle the National Mall. Click here for a map of the route.
- Media availability will happen from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. for any media that would like to interview industry leadership and motorcoach companies as they assemble for the rolling rally at Audi Field.
- Industry Leadership will be available for media from 11:30 until the end of the rally at the corner of 3rd and Pennsylvania Aves.
Companies: nearly 3,000, the majority are family owned, small businesses.
Employees: nearly 100,000. Workforce includes owners, drivers, dispatchers, maintenance and repair, safety, cleaning crew, finance, administrative personnel, etc.
Buses Sitting Idle: nearly 36,000
Annual Passenger Trips: nearly 600 million, which is in line with domestic airlines’ trips.
More information available at www.busesmoveamerica.com.
The Role of Motorcoaches:
Connecting cities; connecting rural areas to urban centers, serving as the only means of intercity transportation in many parts of America; serving workers in every part of the country including commuters in urban environments and business campuses, mines, oilfield workers, etc.; serving the security and strategic needs of the country by moving troops and taking people out of harm’s way during hurricanes; connecting families and friends; bringing travelers to tourist destinations and generating more than $237 billion in transportation, travel and tourism revenue.