BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s been a tough time for the bus industry.

“Between being closed down for a year and the lack of drivers, you know it’s been devastating,” said Barbara Bayer.

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Companies like Catonsville-based, Woodlawn Motor Coach, can’t hire enough drivers to get more of their buses on the road. Manager Barbara Bayer says they’ve been very hard trying to attract new employees.

“Raised the rates, give them sign-on bonuses and everything but it’s just been very very difficult to get people to come back to work,” said Bayer.

American Bus Association CEO Pete Pantuso says they’ve seen a loss of about 25 percent of the industry during the pandemic and it still hasn’t fully recovered — with buses still only running at about half capacity.

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“It’s a challenging time and we don’t see the industry coming back for at least another two and a half years,” said Pantuso.

Like much of the travel industry, bus companies received funding from the federal government during the pandemic but only got about $2 billion which was much less than what Pete says they needed and now, they’re trying to get more.

“We’re actually coming back to congress now and asking for additional help otherwise we’re going to lose these good hard-working family-owned businesses,” Pantuso added.

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Pantuso says he doesn’t think some of the industry will ever be the same but for now, they’re just trying to survive and are hoping this funding will come through.

Stetson Miller