Motocoach companies asking D.C. lawmakers to not forget about them
With more people staying home and attractions closed during the COVID-19 health crisis, the transportation industry is taking a hard hit.
Blue Lake Charters and Tours haven't been running buses since shutting down March 15, and they feel like they've been left out in the cold when it comes to federal funding.
"We move military, kids from schools, ball games, and until all that stuff opens, we are sitting," Todd Daggett, general manager of the Perrysburg Township hub, said.
And every day those bus seats are empty, Blue Lake Charters is losing money -- and lots of it.
“We are losing $10,000 day, so we are looking at $300,000 a month just at this hub," Daggett said.
Daggett worries the business won't survive the shutdown without help. They can no longer afford payments on four brand new buses, which cost $600,000 each.
There are 20 employees who work out of the Perrysburg Township hub. All are now on unemployment.
“If we close down buses, how are we going to move everybody,” Daggett said.
That's why Blue Lakes Charter and Tours are joining 3,000 other motorcoach companies across the country and hitting the road for Washington D.C.
The American Bus Association is organizing the Motorcoaches Rolling for Awareness. Around 800 buses were expected in Washington D.C., with plans to drive past the U.S. Capital.
“We are just there to let D.C. government know that don’t forget about us,” he said.
They want Congress to offer some sort of federal assistance after the charter bus industry was seemingly left out of the CARES Act stimulus package.
“We move 600 million people a year out of these buses throughout the country and we didn’t get nothing," Daggett said. “We are looking for financial aid or grants or low interest loans, so that we can make our payments on our buses and keep our employees paid.”