Bus drivers roll into DC seeking federal help as coronavirus cripples industry

Buses roll through D.C. May 13, 2020. (WTOP/Melissa Howell)

Buses from all over rolled through D.C. as part of a demonstration May 13, 2020. (WTOP/Melissa Howell)

Buses roll through D.C. as part of a demonstration May 13, 2020. (WTOP/Melissa Howell)

Bus drivers gather in preparation for the drive to D.C. (Courtesy Maryland Motorcoach Association)

Buses head toward D.C. as part of the protest May 13, 2020. (Courtesy Maryland Motorcoach Association)

Buses are seen on a traffic camera heading north on Interstate 95 at Exit 163 in Lorton, Virginia, at about 10:30 a.m. (Courtesy Virginia Department of Transportation)

ROSEMONT, ILLINOIS - MAY 11: Motor coach owners and drivers rendezvous near O'Hare Airport on May 11, 2020 in Rosemont, Illinois. The owners and drivers will be departing in a caravan to Washignton, D.C. where they will join an anticipated 400+ other coaches for the Motorcoaches Rolling for Awareness rally expected to take place Wednesday. The operators are hoping to draw attention to the industry's need for $15 billion in grants and loans after the COVID-19 pandemic caused a 95 percent drop business. About 90 percent of the coach businesses in the United States are small family-owned businesses.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Motor coach owners and drivers rendezvous near O’Hare Airport on May 11, 2020 in Rosemont, Illinois. The owners and drivers will be departing in a caravan to Washignton, D.C. where they will join an anticipated 400+ other coaches for the Motorcoaches Rolling for Awareness rally expected to take place Wednesday. The operators are hoping to draw attention to the industry’s need for $15 billion in grants and loans after the COVID-19 pandemic caused a 95 percent drop business. About 90 percent of the coach businesses in the United States are small family-owned businesses. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

(1/8)
ROSEMONT, ILLINOIS - MAY 11: Motor coach owners and drivers rendezvous near O'Hare Airport on May 11, 2020 in Rosemont, Illinois. The owners and drivers will be departing in a caravan to Washignton, D.C. where they will join an anticipated 400+ other coaches for the Motorcoaches Rolling for Awareness rally expected to take place Wednesday. The operators are hoping to draw attention to the industry's need for $15 billion in grants and loans after the COVID-19 pandemic caused a 95 percent drop business. About 90 percent of the coach businesses in the United States are small family-owned businesses.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

A caravan of bus drivers from around the country rolled into D.C. on Wednesday morning, calling attention to their industry’s plight during the coronavirus pandemic and seeking federal money to get back on their feet.

Hundreds of buses rallied at the National Mall, circling the Capitol and the White House, as part of Motorcoaches Rolling for Awareness.

Buses from as far away as Oregon and Alaska rolled down the road, with signs on each depicting hoe much revenue and how many jobs have been lost to the pandemic.


More Coronavirus News


Al Spence, the president of the Maryland Motor Coach Association and the owner of AS Midway Trailways in Baltimore, estimated Monday that about 90% of the industry has taken a hit.

“What we’re trying to do is bring some awareness to Congress and say, ‘Hey, we’re here. We need some funds. Our industry has been decimated,’” Spence said.

The goal is to get back to moving sports teams, students, tourists and other groups soon. Though it will be some time before the industry is back on its feet, even after quarantine is over, Spence is hopeful the event will bring awareness and support.

“The ultimate goal is to get back open, operating and on our feet again,” Spence said. “I think that will be the silver lining at the end of the road for all of us.”

WTOP’s Melissa Howell contributed to this report.

Like WTOP on Facebook and follow @WTOP on Twitter to engage in conversation about this article and others.

Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here.

© 2020 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up