The coronavirus has caused mass layoffs and furloughed a large percentage of the motorcoach industry. Now, over 500 drivers from all 50 states are headed to Washington to appeal to Congress that the industry is in desperate need of federal assistance.
“If you look at other transportation sectors such as the airlines, there were specific car routes, rescue packages, for those industries and the charter bus industry has been left out of that. The PPP funds and EIDL alone programs, while appreciated and beneficial, are not structured for the high capital intensive nature of our industry,” said Brian Scott President of ESCOT Bus Lines.
Motorcoaches Rolling for Awareness, a joint event between the American Bus Association, the United Motorcoach Association, and hundreds of bus companies and small businesses, has requested $15 billion in federal aid.
“This would help with greater flexibility in using of the PPP funds because the way it’s structured now, there is no way we can force feed 75 percent of that money in payroll for 8 weeks. It just isn’t possible,” said Scott. “Another thing it would set aside guaranteed loans specifically for the bus industry. It would be great because you know you aren’t competing with the barbershop down the street so to speak.”
ESCOT Bus Lines currently employees nearly 160 people. Scott tells WFLA.com, his buses and many of his drivers have sat idle during one of their busiest seasons and have lost revenue due to canceled trips and school activities. Scott hopes to have his business back to normal by fall.
‘May, June, July and August, we have almost no business on the books. We are just trying to do everything we can to keep everyone busy in the meantime while we have the PPP funds we can do that with,” said Scott. “Just keep the bus industry in your thoughts and prayers, it is critical infrastructure for the country.”
Motorcoaches Rolling for Awareness will create an 8-mile bus line around the Capitol and White House on Wednesday.
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