Bus Company Adapts To Survive COVID-19 Impact

Aug 7, 2020, 11:23 PM

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A Utah bus company that’s been in business for 70 years is shifting gears to vans and bikes in their ongoing struggle to adapt in an industry hit hard by effects of COVID-19.

“We’ve made it through 9/11. We made it through the financial crisis in ‘08 and ’09. But we’ve never seen anything like this,” said Bryan Copyak, owner of Le Bus in Salt Lake City.

Copyak’s grandfather founded the company in 1949. And since then they’ve been on the go. Things were looking great at the start of the new year.

“We were ready to have a record year in 2020,” he said.

And then March hit, pummeling the tourism, transportation and hospitality industries. And the scheduled tours, NBA games, church trips and conventions were gone.

“Everything canceled on us,” he said.

Most of Copyak’s fleet of 130 coaches were suddenly at a standstill, with no one to ride or steer.

“It was a hard thing to do,” Copyak said. “Our people are like family to us.”

With no clear path forward, Copyak returned from a mountain biking trip to his yard packed full of buses. He noticed his four-empty squeezed onto the lot and thought of the shuttle he had taken on his biking trip. And that’s when he decided to make a change.

“We’re trying to get creative and find new ways to survive,” he said. “So, we hand-built these really cool racks.”

They threw the racks on top of their vans and promoted a two for $1 deal to shuttle mountain bikers up to the crest trail. Same drivers. Same road. A new look and a new load. And the first week was a success.

“It’s going to be a good thing for us riders,” Hanna Sharp said. “Doing the self-shuttle wastes more gas, more time and more money. So this is totally a win-win.”

Copyak knows retrofitting his unused vans to shuttle mountain bikers isn’t enough on its own to carry the company.

“We’re just really looking to keep our people busy,” he said.

But thanks to his creativity, debt-free company and emergency fund, Le Bus is pushing through the uncertainty with a new reason to move. And even when his buses are full again, he plans to continue shuttling mountain bikers and skiers in the winter.

“We’re staying positive,” he said. “Things are going to get better.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Coronavirus Utah

The Nurse Crisis and Patent Risk....
Debbie Worthen

Utah registered nurses are leaving the field, creating the ‘perfect storm’

"Without nurses, we can't have hospitals." Utah nurses are overworked and underpaid. Some say it's put people at risk.
6 days ago
Four-year-old Viola Fairfax-Panza Getting her COVID-19 vaccination, held by her mother Keke Fairfax...
Jed Boal

Salt Lake Co. distributes COVID vaccines for children 6-months and older

Salt Lake County begins COVID-19 vaccinations for children 6 months and older.
6 days ago
FILE PHOTO (Photo by Stephen Zenner/Getty Images)...
Jed Boal

Utah’s youngest kids should be able to get COVID-19 vaccine next week

Kids as young as 6 months old should be able to get their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by the middle of next week. This is an eagerly awaited opportunity for many parents and an issue of concern for others.
10 days ago
Utah COVID testing site. Getty images...
Cary J. Schwanitz, KSL TV

New mobile COVID-19 testing sites open in Utah

With the summer travel season underway and a steady stream of people still testing positive for COVID-19, Nomi Health opened several mobile testing sites across Utah.
19 days ago
The CDC is released updated mask guidance as researchers learn more about COVID-19. (KSL TV)...
Michael Houck, KSL TV

Charter school asks students not to mask to help ‘normalize’ not wearing masks at school

The American Preparatory Academy asks students not to wear a mask during their last three days of school to help with their 'academic and emotional growth.'
1 month ago
AURORA, CO - DECEMBER 15: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center investigat...
Jed Boal, KSL TV

Pfizer booster shot is now approved for children 5-11, here’s what a doctor advises

The CDC now recommends Pfizer COVID-19 booster shots for children ages five to 11. But, a leading pediatric epidemiologist suggests some parents may want to wait based on their summer plans.
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Bus Company Adapts To Survive COVID-19 Impact