Local bus line joins D.C. rally to urge industry relief

Contributed A Hale Transportation bus bound for a “rolling rally” in Washington, D.C., to bring awareness to the plight of the motor coach industry amid the coronavirus pandemic is shown Tuesday outside the bus garage in Oneonta.

Half a dozen drivers with Hale Transportation, which operates a bus garage in Oneonta, embarked on a roundtrip journey to the nation’s capital Tuesday to join between 400 and 700 motorcoaches representing 47 states in a “rolling rally” to raise awareness of the plight of the motorcoach industry amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Cam Morris, manager of Hale Transportation’s Oneonta location, said the industry has “come to a standstill” amid the pandemic.

“No buses are running. Nobody’s going on trips,” she said. “There’s nothing.”

The stagnation in business has cost Hale approximately $3 million in lost revenue since March 15, according to Morris.

“In the industry as a whole, it’s billions,” she said.

The motorcoach industry has been left out of federal relief packages, which provided billions in aid to airlines and transit agencies.

Morris said the industry hopes to receive $15 billion in relief funds — $10 billion in grants and $5 billion in loans with 0% interest.

The United States is home to more than 3,500 motorcoach companies, the majority of which are family-owned, Morris said.

“When most people think of motorcoaches, they think of Greyhound,” she said. “That’s not all there is. Hopefully this will bring us some awareness.”

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