Bus Companies Want in on the Recovery Largesse
April 28, 2020
Lawmakers allocated $61 billion to airlines, $25 billion to transit and $1 billion for Amtrak in the roughly $2 trillion coronavirus rescue package, but the motorcoach industry, which includes charter buses, private transit buses and passenger buses, said it has been largely ignored.
And if their industry goes under, they argue, an important and often overlooked leg of the nation’s transportation system will disappear.
They’ve watched their ridership bottom out since the coronavirus pandemic began spreading in the United States in mid-March, and now they’re asking for $15 billion – $10 billion in grants, $5 billion in loans – to help them survive the crisis.
“When the other modes don’t run, we do,” said Peter J. Pantuso, president and CEO of the American Bus Association, which represents 3,000 companies that employ about 100,000 people. When transit and Amtrak break down, buses are often the fall-back mode of transportation, he said. And after 9/11, he said, buses helped transport people after the airline system broke down. “We’re there and available when other modes can't be or aren’t.”