In an event organized by the United Motorcoach Association (UMA) and the American Bus Association (ABA), hundreds of motorcoach companies across the nation have already signed on to participate in the Motorcoaches Rolling for Awareness Campaign, to be held May 13 in Washington, D.C., in the hopes that Congress will extend specific economic relief to the motorcoach industry. The coaches will drive through our nation’s capital adorned with messages highlighting the critical impact that the industry makes on the local and national economy. The event is open to all ABA and UMA members.
“Our ask is simple,” UMA Chairman Jeff Polzien said in a press release. “The U.S motorcoach industry is requesting Congress put motorcoaches back on the road by making available $10 billion in grants for operational and payroll assistance and $5 billion in long-term zero percent interest rate loans to the industry, ensuring these monies are available immediately and easily accessible. Our businesses need a lifeline so we can be there when the country needs us next.”
The motorcoach industry is composed of more than 3,000 operators—mostly small, multi-generational, family-owned companies—with 100,000 employees, and like other hospitality industries, have borne the brunt of the crisis as local and global travel has come to a standstill. ABA and UMA have been highly active in engaging members to contact their representatives, and both associations have been feverishly working on behalf of their members during the pandemic. It’s been reported by both associations that around 95 percent of all motorcoach companies have paused operations, some permanently.
“The current economic remedies available to small businesses don’t address sectors like ours that will take much longer to recover from the current crisis. Airlines, Amtrak, and transits have received more than $75 billion to prop up these industries,” ABA President & CEO Peter Pantuso said. “Of the 3,000 bus and motorcoach companies in the United States, 90 percent are small, family-owned business who have had to close their businesses during the COVID-19 crisis. By having to shut their doors while no one is traveling, nearly 100,000 employees, which include drivers, cleaners, maintenance and repair, administrative and safety personnel, are now without incomes.”
According to a press release shared by the associations, the messaging of how the motorcoach industry makes an impact will include:
- Military transports across the nation for troops in all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces
- Evacuations of Americans from wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods
- Connecting people to jobs with commuters and employee shuttles
- Connecting rural America to urban centers and to other modes of transportation
- Providing school transportation as well as sports and educational trips
- Reducing congestion by taking 36 cars off the road for each coach
More information about the event and how to register can be found at busesmoveamerica.com.