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PressHerald: Concord Coach Lines to Restart Maine-Boston Bus Service in Mid-August

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Concord Coach Lines to Restart Maine-Boston Bus Service in Mid-August
Portland Press Herald
Peter McGuire
August 6, 2020
 

Intercity buses and charter coaches have taken a beating during the pandemic. Residents have avoided travel, some states have restrictions on visitors and many charter trips have been canceled. The American Bus Association estimates the $15 billion industry is running at about 15 percent of capacity.

“People are not up and moving, they are not traveling in any kind of normal pattern yet,” said Peter Pantuso, president and CEO of the American Bus Association. “I don’t think we will see much difference between now and the end of the year.”

Bus companies are following or going beyond protocols developed by the association to provide safe service during the pandemic, Pantuso added.

“If they are following all those steps, it is hard to imagine there is a safer way to travel than by bus or motor coach,” he said.

Between 15 percent and 40 percent of the U.S. passenger bus industry, including commuter lines, scheduled intercity service and charter buses, could go out of business because of the pandemic, Pantuso said. The association has pushed for a targeted bailout to bus companies struggling with little to no revenue.

In July, Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine and Jack Reed, D-Rhode Island introduced a bill that would provide up to $10 billion in grants to transportation companies that have been negatively affected by the pandemic. The bill was co-sponsored by Sen. Angus King of Maine, an independent, and 23 other senators.

Pantuso hopes that bill will be folded into a future economic relief bill passed by Congress.

“We need assistance – we need help as an industry to stay alive,” he said.

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