Bus Company Pushes On Amid COVID Relief Bill Uncertainty
Dec 23, 2020, 10:18 PM | Updated: 11:04 pm
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A local bus company was among many struggling businesses waiting to learn the fate of the COVID relief bill Wednesday after President Donald Trump suggested he may not sign the bill.
Airlines have found their way back to the sky, but it’s going to take more than a holiday to get the wheels at Le Bus rolling again.
“We were set to have a record 2020 until the pandemic hit,” said Bryan Copyak, general manager at Le Bus in Salt Lake City.
But more than nine months into the pandemic, Copyak said the company is on track to finish the year with less than 10% of what they typically bring in.
“There’s a lot of our vehicles that have been parked and have not registered one mile since March. I would say around 50 or 60 vehicles have not moved,” he said.
Recently, traveling teams in the NBA and college football have been bringing them business. But they’re still running only eight to 10 busses a day, compared to the 40 or 50 charters they’re used to.
In an industry that’s all about keeping things moving, there’s no end to the maintenance, insurance and registration expenses. The first round of federal stimulus funds helped. But only for so long. The motor-coach industry hasn’t seen the recovery other industries have.
A second federal COVID relief bill flew through both chambers of Congress earlier this week. It includes money specifically for companies like Le Bus.
“It will help us a lot,” Copyak said. “I’ve already heard of over 200 motorcoach companies that have gone out of business.”
Trump was expected to sign the bill quickly. But he attacked the bill Tuesday night, demanding Congress go back to work to offer up more relief for individuals and businesses.
Copyak said Le Bus has been smart with its money and isn’t going anywhere.
“I’m positive for 2021 with the relief package and the vaccines,” he said.
Still, with just 16 of his usual 55 full-time drivers still on the job and only a fraction of their typical charters on the road, most busses are grounded, hoping to take off again in the new year.
“We’re still open were still here,” he said. “So as long as people get comfortable with traveling and they book the tour then Le Bus will be out running.