American Bus Association (ABA) President and CEO Peter Pantuso will testify to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation Subcommittee on Manufacturing Trade and Consumer Protection on the impact of COVID-19 on the live event entertainment industry, including transportation suppliers, on Tuesday..
In prepared remarks, Pantuso will outline the devastation COVID-19 has brought on the motorcoach industry, which has also affected many other industries including the live entertainment industry. A portion of ABA's motorcoach membership, Entertainer Motorcoaches, is focused on transporting artists, entertainers and celebrities, and their crews and equipment on ground-based tours and to various entertainment venues. As well, politicians and the media also rely on these motorcoaches for scheduled events. Motorcoaches play a critical role in advancing the event as well as post-event activities, facilitating not only transportation of artists and crews, politicians, and the like, but also audiences to live events, including sports events.
Since COVID-19 shut down the sporting and entertainment events around the country in early spring, bus company fleets have sat idle for months and left thousands of employees furloughed. It is estimated that without government financial relief, up to 50% of the motorcoach industry will be permanently closed by the end of the year.
"All motorcoach companies are a vital component of the national transportation network, providing intercity scheduled bus service, commuter and shuttle operations, school bus transportation, charter, and entertainment services," said Pantuso. "Prior to March 2020, the motorcoach, tour, and travel industry was fully engaged in driving the economy, and the charter sector was preparing for another strong tourist and entertainment season. However, the outbreak and spread of COVID-19, has brought the industry to a standstill. To date, our industry has been entirely overlooked, in terms of its critical role in the nation’s transportation network and economic engine. Our industry is unique, and we need a bridge to a time of recovery, which is at least 12- to 24-months away."
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the motorcoach industry provided nearly 600 million passenger trips annually, on par with domestic commercial airlines.
Motorcoach companies also directly employ close to 100,000 workers and generate $15 billion in economic activity, in addition to supporting nearly two million other jobs across America and creating $237 billion in direct and indirect economic activity nationwide.
Today, the industry is operating at less than 10% of 2019 levels, with no clear path to recovery for another 12 months or more. Lacking any direct financial support, as other passenger transportation modes received in previous stimulus packages, the industry and specifically the entertainer motorcoach sector, is now facing a dire situation meaning employees would be out of work permanently.