A logistical marvel during a time of crisis, motorcoach operators across America gathered in Washington D.C. on May 13th to stage a “rolling rally” outside of Congress to protest the government’s negligence in assigning stimulus relief packages to motorcoach companies during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Drivers from across the country, representing all 50 states and countless fleets, formed a police-escorted caravan and circled the National Mall honking their horns throughout the afternoon.
Fleet managers and their drivers are understandably upset by the lack of financial support coming from the federal government, which has bailed out several large corporations but left smaller companies often in the lurch, especially fleets that don’t meet the criteria for small business loans, which are already in short supply. As a result, the American Bus Association and United Motorcoach Association teamed up to form Motorcoaches Rolling for Awareness and stage the rolling rally to call Congress to action. Their motto for the day was “$15 Billion Gets America’s Motorcoaches Back on the Road” as a means for keeping terminals open for the remainder of the year, with $10 billion for payroll and operation expenses aid and an extra $5 billion in interest free loans to help keep day to day operations running.
According to ABA president Peter Pantuso, nearly 100,000 people have been put out of work with busing mostly halted during the pandemic. Many of those people have families to support as well, which makes aid to the busing companies that much more critical. Several national news outlets were on hand to cover the rally to aid in the effort to raise awareness and stir the government to action, but it remains to be seen what Congress will do to address the situation.
Money is tight for everyone right now, but there is plenty else you can do to help your motorcoach operators. Join the Motorcoaches Rolling for Awareness Facebook group and share information on social media to spread awareness. Call your Congress representatives and remind them how important busing is to day to day American society.