ABA President: Congress Missed the Bus
April 2, 2020
BUSRide editors spoke with Peter Pantuso, president and CEO of the American Bus Association, about Congress’ failure to include the motorcoach industry in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and. Economic Security Act (or the ”CARES Act‘); what that means for intercity bus operators and the American economy at-large; and how operators can help themselves and their industry today.
BUSRide: The motorcoach and intercity bus industry needs immediate relief from Congress during the coronavirus pandemic. What happened?
Pantuso: Our industry was not specifically identified in the Senate bill, which means the Senate and the House agreed to have dedicated funding for every passenger mode of transportation – with the exception of intercity buses. I am mystified as to how they put that together. We have been working literally day and night for the last few weeks, trying to get intercity buses included. We have tried every single angle, so it has not been for lack of effort. The impact that I see on the industry is as follows: Motorcoach businesses fall into three broad groups of service – charter and tour, commuter, and scheduled service. As of today, I think every charter and tour company is pretty much shut down. Most, if not all, of their employees are furloughed. There are a few places where an operator might still be doing some one-off trip for whatever reason, but they are mostly all closed. The commuter market is close to that point, if not already there. Non-essential businesses are being told to close by governors. As all that is moving forward, there is obviously less need for commuter services.
Then last, but certainly not least, are the scheduled services, which have significantly cut services due to very small ridership.