The leaders of the American Bus Association (ABA) and the United Motorcoach Association (UMA) issued a joint statement to Congress calling for financial assistance for an industry that is estimated to lose nearly $8 billion, just in the next five months, as a direct result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Specifically, the organizations, which represent North America’s motorcoach and bus operators, are requesting $10 billion in grants and $5 billion in zero percent interest rate loans to the industry, ensuring these monies are available immediately and easily accessible.
Second only to the U.S. airline industry, the nation’s motorcoach industry provides nearly 600 million passenger trips annually and is made up of more than 3,000 mostly small, family-owned, often multi-generational, companies. Nearly 100,000 employees in the industry are facing layoffs. These include drivers, mechanics, cleaners, and office staff.
The statement says, in part:
“If conservative predictions are correct and the current situation lasts well into the summer, the motorcoach industry will lose nearly $8 billion. Further, it is very unlikely the motorcoach industry transportation network will return to pre-COVID-19 levels of operation over the next year.”
“The motorcoach industry needs Congress to step up and ensure the commercial motorcoach industry remains a vital part of America’s transportation network and fabric.”
The most recent data prepared by John Dunham & Associates, New York, NY, shows nearly 100 percent of the charter and tour market has stopped operating. This is at a time when that segment of the industry is experiencing its busiest period. Additionally, scheduled service operations providing public transportation service to people traveling between cities and providing essential transportation to rural parts of the country, is down 60 percent and will continue to drop.
These declines are a direct result of the White House and health officials directing Americans to reduce or eliminate nonessential travel. Further, the commuter market, which connects workers to larger urban centers is down more than 60 percent as of March 18 and continues to drop as employees stop coming into their offices.