The American Bus Association (ABA) — an industry leader advancing North American motorcoach travel and tourism — is asking Congress and the Trump Administration to not ignore the movers of America: the motorcoach and bus industry.
In a statement, ABA President and CEO Peter Pantuso said:
“The private bus and motorcoach industry has often been described as the “strategic reserve” of the transportation industry. It connects people to work and children to schools, evacuates people in times of emergency, provides vital connections for rural communities to access necessary services, and serves as cost effective and environmentally sensitive leisure outlet for many, playing a key role in the overall transportation network. Historically the industry provides between 500 – 600 million passenger trips annually and with little or no government subsidy. It is an industry of mostly small family businesses, many of whom have operated for multiple generations, employ nearly 100,000 people and are the fabric of the community.
“Now, in these unprecedented times, when Congress and the Trump Administration are considering helping the airline and cruise industry, they can’t forget the private bus and motorcoach industry that gets people to their destinations and is a vital transportation link to the airlines, to Amtrak and commuter trains, to cruise ships and to countless other destinations. Without help from the federal government these small family businesses will be lost forever. Their business has dropped from 50% to 100% in many cases and the business they’ve lost can never be recovered or made up. Meanwhile they have bus payments, insurance, rental for facilities and other costs that mount every day.
“Although Congress did provide disaster loan assistance in its first economic package, there are a lot of strings attached and Governors need to take action, holding this up. We can’t wait – we need economic relief specific to our industry, and we need it fast!
“If we want to maintain the entirety of the transportation network, we need Congress and the Administration to act now and provide relief to the bus and motorcoach industry. ABA calls on Congress to provide dedicated funding for motorcoach, tour and travel industry businesses and their employees, to restore, collectively, the industry and ensure the viability of these small businesses. We want to see Congress establish a grant program, without a match requirement, to offset economic losses and cancelled revenue; and establish long term, zero-interest loan programs for the motorcoach, tour and travel industries, to enable these businesses to return to stabile footing.
“Bottomline, it is important that Congress passed a bill to assist families and workers affected by COVID-19, but if the government let’s this industry fail, these employees will not have the opportunity to go back to work and many will lose transportation access. We need help today!”