Upwards of 25 motor coaches, representing nearly 100 percent of Minnesota motor coach operators, will be departing today (May 11) in a convoy to Washington, D.C. in effort to raise awareness for our industry’s struggles and to ask Congress to allocate funds to keep the industry alive. 

These buses typically complete 600,000,000 annual passenger trips connecting communities, stimulating tourism, enabling emergency evacuations, transporting sports teams, facilitating critical business meetings and conferences, driving educational trips, and moving the military.

Behind the scenes, these vehicles are a driving force in business and in communities.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, almost every motor coach in the United States is parked. Most reservations have been cancelled through the fall, and the 100,000 people that the industry employs are without work. While revenue is non-existent, and resources scarce, almost all bus companies are participating because the industry may not make it without intervention. 

Thielen Coaches of Redwood Falls is among those Minnesota operators Scheduled to participate.

Hundreds of motor coaches representing 3,000 motor coach companies across the United States and their 100,000 employees will roll into the nation’s capital May 13 to support awareness of the industry’s role as a critical component of the country’s infrastructure.

Motor coaches do everything from evacuating victims of hurricanes and wildfires to transporting thousands America’s military troops all around the nation. Under the banner, Motor coach Rolling for Awareness, these vehicles will circle Washington, D.C. as a moving rally, bearing messages that explain the importance of the industry and ask Congress and the White House to extend economic relief to motor coach companies. The event is jointly organized by the American Bus Association and the United Motorcoach Association. 

This is a positive event showcasing how the nation’s motor coaches move America. 

“Our ask is simple,” Jeff Polzien of Red Carpet Charters said. “The U.S motor coach industry is requesting Congress put motor coaches back on the road by making available $10 billion in grants for operational and payroll assistance and $5 billion in long-term zero percent interest rate loans to the industry, ensuring these monies are available immediately and easily accessible. Our businesses need a lifeline so we can be there when the country needs us next.” Polzien is chairman of the United Motorcoach Association. 

“The current economic remedies available to small businesses don’t address sectors like ours that will take much longer to recover from the current crisis. Airlines, Amtrak and transits have received more than $75 billion prop up these industries,” said Peter Pantuso, President & CEO of the American Bus Association. “Of the 3,000 bus and motor coach companies in the United States, 90 percent are small, family-owned business who have had to close their businesses during the COVID-19 crisis. By having to shut their doors while no one is traveling, nearly 100,000 employees, which include drivers, cleaners, maintenance and repair, administrative and safety personnel, are now without incomes.” 

These vehicles will share messages to underscore the many ways motor coaches help move America: 

• Military transports across the nation for troops in all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces 

• Evacuations of Americans from wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods 

• Connecting people to jobs with commuters and employee shuttles 

• Connecting rural America to urban centers and to other modes of transportation 

• Providing school transportation as well as sports and educational trips 

• Reducing congestion by taking 36 cars off the road for each coach. 

- Image courtesy of the Thielen Coaches Facebook Page