Motorcoach industry feels forgotten amid federal bailouts

Published: Apr. 23, 2020 at 9:08 PM CDT
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The coronavirus pandemic is crippling the travel industry and the government is dishing out billions in hopes of saving it.

But an Arkansas couple says the government is forgetting about one very important form of transportation.

Scott and Betty Lumbert have owned Mountain Home Charter Service for 23 years.

"We haul people. We haul sports teams for the colleges and universities. We haul school groups. We haul churches," Lumbert said.

They made it through 9/11 and the recession, with no help from the government, but this pandemic is a different monster.

"We still had business through those times, Lumbert added. We did lose some business but we were able to stay in business. At this point now, we have no business. We won't have any business probably until this fall."

That's because trips are planned far in advance.

Even when an all clear is given, Lumbert knows many won't want to climb aboard a crowded bus.

"We work three, four, six months out. And we're not going to be able to pickup immediately and go back to work," He told KY3.

Lumbert says there are 3,000 motorcoach companies nationwide, carrying roughly 600 million passengers each year.

"I would venture to say half the motorcoach companies will go out of business if we don't receive some sort of additional help," Lumbert explained.

The government has approved $50 billion to help the airline industry and another billion dollars to support Amtrak.

Lumbert says the American Bus Association and the Untied Motorcoach Association have sent countless letters to legislators in hopes of getting some help.

"Just trying to get our industry noticed and realize how much we do for the country in general in moving people around," Lumbert exclaimed.

But they worry their voices aren't being heard.

Are your words being heard?

"No. Not at all," Lumbert told KY3.