A coalition of motorcoach industry advocates made up of the American Bus Association, The Bus Network and United Motorcoach Association have released a video showcasing how politicians have used buses to get around during election season.
“Motorcoaches move Americans, even politicians,” said Peter Pantuso, ABA President and CEO. “Since March the industry has been mostly shut down, 80,000 jobs furloughed and permanent closures happening daily, and yet these same politicians who have used buses for campaigning have not given us a lifeline at all, even when they are helping other transportation sectors. And although we turned to Congress for help, our appeals have been ignored, yet here we are in election season these same politicians turn to our buses to help them keep their jobs – when will they help us keep ours?”
Daily now, headlines tell the story of long standing bus companies going out of business, family-owned companies that have been in business for decades now permanently closing their doors. What was once a vibrant, independent industry moving 600 million passengers a year and meeting public transportation needs for commuters, schools, travelers, military personnel and their equipment, and sports teams, along with fulfilling a vital emergency response function for hurricanes and wildfires, is on the brink of collapse. Now nearly 15,000 of the industry’s buses are facing repossession as banks can no longer offer flexibility. In fact, some financial institutions are predicting up to 40-50 percent of the industry will be permanently out of business before the end of 2020.
Industry companies and associations have come together to implore Congressional leadership to include the Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportation Services (CERTS) Act language in the next stimulus package. The CERTS Act would provide $10 billion in grants and loans to the industry. Currently, this legislation has more than 300 bi-partisan co-sponsors in Congress, demonstrating a majority of support in both the House and Senate, and it is gaining more co-sponsors daily – Congress just needs to act.
“As small family-owned businesses we cannot hold out much longer for relief,” said Larry Killingsworth, president of UMA. “Unlike many other modes of transportation that rely on government subsidies to run, we have always been independent paying our own way, but now – today – we need help like never before. Every day we hear about companies being forced to close their doors. How many more will close before Congress helps?”