SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – A local motorcoach company joined thousands of buses in a rally at the nation’s capital Wednesday to bring awareness to the essential business they provide.
Coachlight Tours is one of the many bus companies that usually see business booming in the spring and summer months — but because of COVID-19, buses are empty.
“We lost over $500,000 within about a week of shutting down because of cancellations,” says the owner of Coachlight Tours, Elizabeth Kamalakis.
The rally, Motorcoaches Rolling for Awareness, is a joint effort by the United Motorcoach Association and the American Bus Association. Buses arrived in D.C. decked out with positive messages to raise awareness on the industry’s importance and the need for government support.
“We want them to know we are alive and well and they need to help us like they’ve helped other small and large businesses,” Kalamakis adds.
The lengthy business closure has also taken a large toll on drivers.
“We haven’t worked since the middle of March and right now, that’s 100 percent of my finances,” explains Aaron Brown, a driver for Coachlight Tours. He says the decision to participate in the Washington rally is helping to help the government understand there are many companies impacted by the closures.
“It’s helping the PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) see fit that we are hurting here and we need this in order to maintain bus payments and insurance on the coaches and we aren’t the only ones hurting,” Brown says.
The company says they hope their participation in the rally will gain them more momentum in their efforts to get back on the road.