WASHINGTON – Motorcoaches from around the country and Western New York flooded our nation’s capital Wednesday to tell lawmakers they need money to keep their industry going during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The event, dubbed “Motorcoaches Rolling for Awareness,” was organized by operators and other industry group leaders.
D&F Travel from Dunkirk and Empire Coach Lines from Olean were among the hundreds of companies in attendance.
Alan Morton, the operations manager of Empire Coach Lines, says since the outbreak began he lost 100 percent of his business.
“It was like turning a light switch off, everything ended right then, we had busses on the road and had to get people home, we had a group in Florida and their tip got cut short and we just came straight home,” explained Morton. “There has been zero business since then, our vehicles have been put to sleep by our insurance company, so they are all off the road, and there is absolutely no revenue for our industry.”
Morton says all of his employees were furloughed because of the outbreak.
Industry officials are asking for $15-billion in federal help to prevent it from going under. They want the aid to go through the same Federal Protection Program that helps other businesses.