Two local transportation companies headed to Washington, D.C. on Tuesday afternoon to participate in the Motorcoaches Rolling for Awareness rally being held May 13.
Benedict’s Bus Service and JGM Coach, both of Wellsboro, will join more than 1,000 motor coaches in an effort to obtain federal emergency funds for the struggling motorcoach industry, which has received no federal funds to assist during this period of travel restrictions and unemployment during the COVID-19 outbreak. Airlines and other transportation companies are currently receiving federal funds to assist in their recovery.
“There is no transportation lending at all for coaches,” Tammy Benedict, co-owner of Benedict’s Bus Service, said. “They’re saying that it might be a year and a half until we can operate fully.”
Benedict’s Bus Service has traveled the Wellsboro region and far beyond, providing everything from school bus service to world travel, since 1964.
“We have lost approximately $550,000 since this began,” she said.
Jamie Morral, co-owner of JGM Group, which supplies the entertainment industry with buses and service, notes that his company has lost approximately $500,000 as well.
“We’re losing money,” he said. JGM has been headquartered in Wellsboro, Morral’s home town, since 2002. JGM provides luxury tour buses to musicians and other entertainers.
Maria Benedict-Frank, co-owner and dispatcher of Benedict’s Bus Service, said, “We received the Paycheck Protection money, but it’s not enough. We have people, but there’s no work for them to do.”
Benedict’s and JGM will travel in a convoy to D.C., joining motorcoaches from almost all 50 states. Entertainment coaches, such as JGM’s, will carry the logos of different states at the rally. Their signs will outline the economic benefit of motorcoaches in various states.
Benedict’s and other private motor coach companies will carry their own logos as well as additional signs asking for federal help.
The May 13 rally is organized by the leading trade organizations, the United Motorcoach Association and the America Bus Association. These organizations state, “This is a positive event showcasing how our big buses and small businesses move America. Buses will be decorated with informative signs about our industry and the groups we carry, the economic impact we have and the people we employ.”
The UMA and the ABA estimate that $15 billion are needed to assist the U.S. motorcoach industry.