Tour bus industry sitting idle during COVID-19 shutdown

On Wednesday, hundreds of tour buses will travel from across the country to the White House to make their voices heard.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- America's tour bus industry, once a thriving alternative for travelers, tourists, and athletes, has come to a screeching halt due to COVID-19.

Pat Burriel and Anna Mulderrig of Panna Charters, a Fresno-based 'ma and pop' charter bus company, say Washington has forgotten them as other transportation industries receive financial assistance.

"There's a whole other industry besides the airplanes, the trains, the automobiles - the bus industry. We've been extremely overlooked," says Mulderrig.

On Wednesday, hundreds of tour buses will travel from across the country to the White House to make their voices heard.

"The SBA hasn't given any of us any kind of money other than the PPP program, and a couple of other programs but they haven't given us a loan or a grant," says Burriel.

The couple's 45-foot 57-passenger charter bus, affectionately named Delilah, won't be traveling to D.C. The fuel alone is a $3,000 expense.

The bus has been idly sitting at a local trucking school since March 25.

Typically, the company brings in $150,000. This year, the company hopes to generate at least $50,000 in revenue. Until then, the couple is relying on personal savings for bus maintenance.

"Our insurance is $25,000 a year. The bus payment is $1,600 a month. So there alone, we're coming up with $4,000 to just maintain the bus," says Mulderrig.

In the coming days, the pair plans to apply for unemployment benefits as well as free membership with the American Bus Association.
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