(CNN)Clarence Cox took over a 35-year-old motorcoach enterprise from his father and uncle and had hopes of at some point giving it to his daughters. However with a $5 million fleet parked for months throughout a pandemic, and no federal support, his objective now’s simply to make it to the tip of 2020.
His enterprise, Georgia Coach Strains, is considered one of 1000’s of small, family-owned bus corporations throughout the US, urging Congress to approve instant support. Not like the airways or Amtrak, the motorcoach trade hasn’t acquired any funding from the $2.2 trillion CARES Act handed by Congress within the spring.
Peter Pantuso, president and CEO of the American Bus Affiliation, mentioned, “I can not actually determine for you why we now have not been included.”
The American Bus Affiliation estimates non-public buses present 600 million passenger journeys a yr, second solely to business flights. Pantuso mentioned 80,000 of the trade’s 100,000 workers have been furloughed this yr.
The American Bus Affiliation mentioned the trade normally sees $15 billion in income a yr. In 2020, bus corporations solely introduced in $4 billion. The motorcoach trade, together with the college bus trade and passenger water vessel corporations at the moment are collectively asking Congress to approve $10 billion in loans and grants.
“Each small enterprise I feel throughout America is hurting at some degree,” Pantuso mentioned. “However there are only a few different industries which can be nearly utterly shut down with no hope of coming again for at the least six months, subsequent yr, after which it’s going to be a gradual restoration.”
A part of that restoration for Cox’s enterprise has meant buying particular cleansing tools and adapting buses for safer travels throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I am so sick of listening to Steve Mnuchin and Nancy Pelosi argue backwards and forwards in regards to the sum of money, you understand, with Nancy, it is all or nothing. With Steve, it is like, effectively, that is what the President mentioned. And in the meantime, again on the ranch, all of us are sitting right here attempting to determine how we will eat subsequent week,” Cox mentioned.
Cox’s 16 drivers have been furloughed.
One among them, Douglas Reese, has sat at dwelling for months at a time this yr, counting on unemployment that he says will run out in early November.
“You are still sitting at dwelling, however your payments are nonetheless coming in, you continue to obtained a mortgage to pay. And you bought to eat,” Reese mentioned.
He has solely pushed eight journeys this yr, in comparison with the everyday 250. A type of journeys was to move members of John Lewis’s household throughout his funeral late July.
“I used to be very honored by that and it was touching. And more often than not on that journey, I used to be proper behind the hearse. So, I am wanting by way of the windshield, staring behind the hearse, wanting on the flag, masking up the casket,” Reese mentioned.
Reese would additionally usually be driving teams of scholars on area journeys, tour teams, sports activities groups, and TV or movie crews to their units. Georgia Coach Strains even sends buses to hurricane zones generally, to help with evacuations in areas onerous to succeed in by aircraft or practice. The bus trade additionally serves many individuals on this nation who can not afford to hop on a aircraft.
Cox mentioned his message to elected leaders is to unite and get one thing achieved.
“It is ridiculous. It is — you understand, I make jokes. However I make jokes as a result of I am so indignant. I’ve to chortle, to maintain from crying,” he mentioned.