Bus companies struggle to stay open, ask for federal funding

Huntsville

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Spirit Coach LLC was one of hundreds of buses lining the Washington D.C. streets Wednesday to fight for federal funding.

While many transportation industries are receiving funding from the government to stay afloat right now, the motorcoach industry is not.

In response, several motorcoach drivers from all 50 states participated in a rolling rally to raise awareness and remind Members of Congress and the Trump Administration that the industry needs federal assistance.

Bryan Weeks, the director of operations from Spirit Coach LLC says they have not had a charter since March 12. For over two months, the wheels on their buses have not moved, but they aren’t the only ones.

Spirit Coach is just one of thousands of companies across the country hurting because of the pandemic.

“March, April and May are the busiest times of the year for the motorcoach industry overall,” said Weeks. “So, we have lost those peak times and that equates to about a third (of revenue) that we have lost so far.”

Weeks adds that the airline and railroad industries have received funding, but the buses have been forgotten about.

“We have furloughed all of our drivers,” said Weeks. “Originally, we furloughed our mechanic and our cleaning crew… so it’s really been just me, haha.”

90% of the motorcoach workforce has been laid off or furloughed because of canceled trips and they are hoping to make a point: that they are trying to stay afloat, but can’t do it alone.

They are calling on Congress to provide $15 billion in funding for support.

“Again, it’s that unknown of… I dont know how long we can last,” said Weeks. “We just keep on going until we can’t do it anymore.”

Spirit Coach LLC was only one bus in the 8 miles of buses encircling the Capitol and the White House on Wednesday, hoping to get some relief soon.

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