The motorcoach industry is a critical piece of the nation’s transportation system that provides nearly 600 million passenger trips annually on charters, tours, scheduled service and shuttles. Professional, reliable drivers keep the industry running.
Emerging from a Difficult Year
The past year has been challenging for motorcoach companies and their employees. According to research from the American Bus Association released in September 2020, 80% to 95% of motorcoach trips, including scheduled service, commuter operations, and charter operations, were canceled or not booked because of the COVID-19 pandemic:
- All charter bus services were canceled for the months of March, April, May, June, and July, normally the busiest time of year for charter bus service.
- Other bus services, like those for school field trips, marching bands, and sports teams, were reduced by around 95%.
- Scheduled service and commuter operations were also struggling, due to reduced ridership, increased cleaning and sanitizing costs, and reduced vehicle occupancy.
In early 2020, the industry provided 88,830 full-time equivalent jobs. After the start of the pandemic, the number of filled positions dropped to 20,816, resulting in a 76.6% unemployment rate. The motorcoach industry was facing a lack of commercial drivers before the crisis, and the driver shortage has now become more serious.
Across the country, from Milwaukee to New York City to Dallas, the driver shortfall is resulting in transportation disruptions, delays, and cancellations. This tough situation only highlights how important drivers are. Without drivers, everything from special events to everyday commutes would be negatively impacted.
Recognizing Drivers Every Day
When you see a bus driver, be sure to say “hello” and “thank you.” Look for small ways to recognize the valuable service they provide. Some of the many challenges they deal with on a daily basis include:
- Rush hour traffic and stress
- Long, irregular working hours (including nights and holidays)
- Industry uncertainties due to external factors (like a pandemic or recession)
- High level of responsibility for passengers’ safety
- Conflict with difficult passengers
- Extreme weather or other driving conditions
TMS appreciates the essential work bus drivers do. Learn more about our industry-leading approach to providing transportation and parking solutions.