FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – “Buses Move America” is what motorcoach drivers want the government to remember.
Thousands of buses are expected to flood Washington, D.C. Thursday to request the funding they did not receive. What they are requesting has a $15 billion-dollar price tag.
Bill McKinley, vice president of American Heritage Trails, a local motorcoach company based out of Noble County said the motorcoach industry was forgotten in the trillion-dollar CARES Act.
Bus drivers across the nation are questioning why Amtrak was granted $1 billion in federal emergency assistance and the airlines received around $50 billion in the form of grants and loans, yet the motorcoach industry did not receive anything.
According to the United Motorcoach Association, the motorcoach traveler industry generates more than $88.74 billion annually in total direct economic impact.
Since the pandemic, this industry has lost $6 billion.
“Without motorcoaches, people wouldn’t be able to transport to amusement parks, hotels and museums. It is an important part of our economy,” said McKinley.
Motorcoaches are not to be confused with city buses. Their passengers also include the military, students traveling to sporting and educational trips, and American evacuees during natural disasters.
“When Fema needs that disaster relief for evacuations, motorcoaches are the first on the line to do that,” said Bill Walls, motorcoach driver for American Heritage Trails.
Walls told WANE 15 that he spends over 200 days of the year on a bus and though he understands the safety precautions set by the government, he also understands that 90% of bus companies are small and family-owned.
“Most of our organizations are sole proprietorship type ownership,” said Walls. “With coaches that cost $500,000 and up, they are trying to make a payment without revenue or limited revenue.
WANE 15 reached out to congressman Jim Banks for a statement and he sent: