A coalition of motorcoach industry advocates made up of the United Motorcoach Association, the American Bus Association and The Bus Network has released a video showcasing how politicians have used buses to get around during election season. And all the while these bus companies are working without federal relief as the industry-backed bipartisan CERTS Act is stalled in Congress for three months and counting.
The video highlights that motorcoaches move Americans, even politicians. It points out that, since March, the industry has been nearly shut down, 80,000 jobs have been furloughed and permanent closures are happening daily. The video message is that the industry needs the politicians who have used buses for campaigning to give operators a lifeline as the federal government helps other transportation sectors.
It also points out more than 15,000 buses are due to be repossessed within the next 90 days.
“As small family-owned businesses, we cannot hold out much longer for relief,” said Larry Killingsworth, President and CEO 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?”
The video emphasizes daily headlines about companies that have been in business for decades having to permanently close their doors. It describes a once-vibrant industry that moved 600 million Americans a year for commuting, field trips, vacations, military movements, sports teams movements, and evacuations out of harm’s way.
In contrast, nearly 30,000 of the industry’s buses now are sitting in lots, and many could soon be repossessed. Financial institutions are predicting that, without intervention, 40% to 50% of the industry will be permanently out of business before the end of 2020.
Industry companies and associations have come together — through letter-writing campaigns, events and now the video — 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, with more than 300 co-sponsors in both the Senate and House, the CERTS Act is the most bipartisan-supported relief act in Congress.