CASEYVILLE, Ill. (KMOV.com) -- Employees who work for Vandalia Bus Lines charter bus company in Caseyville said they feel slighted knowing the federal government bailed out airlines, cruise ships and railroads. but the pandemic continues to force their buses to stay in park.
Several traveled nearly 900 miles to sound off, as members of the motorcoach industry drove their buses to Washington D.C. to honk horns in protest.
"We are trying to get some awareness about our industry. We want to make a statement by showing up with 925, or almost a thousand buses," said Vandalia co-owner Phil Streif. "We got zero dollars. We don't like to have handouts by any means, we would like to earn our money, but, at this point, we are desperate."
He applauds money going to other businesses from the state and federal levels, but wonders why his industry was left out in the cold.
"Compared to a restaurant, movie theater or gym that opens back up, they'll be able to turn the lights back on. But, people are going to be scared to travel for a while," he said.
That reality scares driver Karen Brokaw, who's the breadwinner for her household.
"We are getting by. [But] it is not anything we can do five months from now,” she said.
"All of our jobs are in jeopardy and we need some revenue to keep this business going," added Jay Fath, who oversees the company’s 77 buses.
Adding to their frustration is the fact that while they feel forgotten when it comes to relief funding, the government counts on the charter bus industry to help evacuate people in times of a national disaster.