While new motorcoach sales in January are 36% above where they were during January 2021, the three-month moving average is still just 92% percent of sales during the last month prior to COVID, according to the American Bus Association Foundation’s First Quarter 2022 Motorcoach Builders Survey.
Additionally, used bus sales are still down by 16% of what they were pre-COVID.
For January, the participating manufacturers sold 34 new and 25 pre-owned coaches, for a total of 59 motorcoaches. This compares with just 50 during January of 2021. The bulk of new coach sales were made to public entities like transit companies, which accounted for 65% of sales. These public entities tended to continue to purchase motorcoaches during the COVID shutdowns, while sales to private companies fell by almost 75% to an average of just 36 per month following the lockdown.
Overall, the three-month moving average of total coach sales is down by about 10% from the last month prior to the COVID pandemic.
“The passenger transportation sector of the economy, and particularly the motorcoach industry was decimated by the COVID pandemic,” said Peter Pantuso, president of the ABA Foundation. “If buses are not being manufactured then that means that other services such as tires, engines, brakes, seats, lights, etc., are not produced and bought as well. The trickledown effect means a loss of revenue and jobs across many manufacturing sectors in the country.”
The bus industry is the greenest and most affordable transportation sector and was moving more than 600 million passengers annually before the pandemic. As of the beginning of 2022, industry passenger volumes were still down by 62% from pre-COVID levels, making it one of the hardest hit parts of the economy.