Coronavirus pandemic stops motor coach industry in its tracks

Local News

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — Starting up the buses just about every day to keep up their maintenance is the closest Arrow Stage Lines gets to getting them back on the road.

Since the pandemic put a halt to all major events, they were stopped in their tracks with nowhere to go.

Driver Matt Millard hasn’t been behind the wheel of a bus in over a month. Almost instantly, it triggers memories of some of his favorite trips.

“I was actually helping haul the Uraguay men’s national team and got to go to the friendly match at Busch stadium,” recalled Millard.

He and several other employees for the company have been furloughed.

“I’ve been trying to find little side jobs in the meantime,” said Millard. “I’m still doing some driving, which is good because like I said, this is what I love to do. I love being on the road.”

Regional Director for Arrow Stage Lines Joe Turner said their industry is facing a long journey on the road back to normalcy, mostly because lack of federal relief.

“The motor coach industry is second to the airlines in people moved each year and we did not receive any earmark or funding that is directed towards our unique needs and operations,” said Turner.

Even if states lift stay ay home order soon, Turner said they still won’t be able to get back to business as usual right away.

“We don’t expect an immediate turn in business.” said Turner. “We belive travel will resume slowly. Teams and sporting events and large scale events, we depend on a lot for business, so we believe those things will be restored slowly.”

When that time does come, Millard will be ready to roll.

Turner said people can still book trips with them for later dates, and once they do get back on the road, they’ll be implementing extra sanitation measures to keep their employees and passengers safe.

The American Bus Association has been advocating for the industry to receive funding from the federal government. You can learn more about their efforts HERE.

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