Private Bus Companies Plead for Government Aid Amidst COVID-19 Concerns
[April 17, 2020 – Washington, DC]The owner of transportation and tour company DC Trails and more the 30 other motorcoach companies recently sent a plea to Senator Mark Warner (D) of the WH Task Force on COVID-19, asking for financial assistance for the private transportation industry to weather the pandemic.
The letter, signed by John “Jay” Sneed of Prevost Car Inc., chides the government for its lack of assistance to the private bus industry.
Recently, Congress approved a $2 trillion stimulus package with $100 million earmarked for U.S. transportation companies, including every passenger mode of transportation except private buses.
“I can’t sleep, [I’m] just thinking about my employees,” DC Trails founder William Torres said. “A lot of employees are suffering; the whole industry is suffering. And it breaks my heart to know that right now, there’s not much we can do for them and our government is doing nothing.
President and CEO of the American Bus Association (ABA), Peter Pantuso, echoed Torres’ concerns, stating that when compared to other transportation industries, buses are at the top of the list in terms of the number of people they move each year.
“I’m getting calls daily from businesses that are on the brink or are ready to go out of business,” Pantuso said. “We move 600 million passengers every single year, airlines move 700 million, Amtrak moves about 30 million.”
Pantuso goes on to point out that there seems to be a disconnect, stating that other industries that move farfewer people each year still received a generous portion of stimulus money.
CEO of Transportation Management Services, Frank Sherman, said that the private bus industry is still relatively small, stating there are not a lot of extra funds for lobbyists.
“They’re small businesses and minority businesses and they just don’t have a loud voice,” Sherman said.
Torres elaborated on Sherman’s statement, explaining that the motorcoach industry is primarily owned by families without the financial backing to support the industry if it goes without income for a long period of time.
Another component of all this, Pantuso stated, is the reliance by federal management agencies on private buses for emergency situations, like evacuating people during hurricane season.
“I’m not sure they’re going to be around when the call comes to move people out of harm’s way,” Pantuso said.
In the letter to Warner, Sneed urges the government to consider adding more to the fourth installment of the relief package currently being considered. He specifically emphasizes the need for grants and loans explicitly earmarked for the motorcoach industry, much in the same way that was done for the airline industry.
To read the entire letter, go here.
DC Trails is one of the United States’ premier charter and tour bus companies, serving Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia with more than 60 quality motor coaches. To learn more about how DC Trails is helping keep its customers and employees safe and sound during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit them online today or call (703) 360-2800.