Largest U.S. Private Bus Company Files Bankruptcy

( – The pandemic wiped out businesses in the U.S. from coast to coast, with some still struggling to recover and some closing their doors for good. The fallout is still being felt, with Coach USA, one of the largest operators of bus lines in the country, recently filing for bankruptcy on Tuesday June 18.

During the pandemic, with so many people working from home, ridership for their buses dropped 90%, and the numbers have only made a partial recovery since. As inflation continued to affect the cost of fuel, insurance and labor the company continued to struggle until bankruptcy was the best option available to them.

Coach USA filing indicated they have $197.8 million in debt. They will be liquidating company assets as part of the agreement. The majority of their assets will be sold to the private investment company Renco Group who will be taking on $130 million of Coach USA’s debt as well as their retail operations, their Megabus intellectual property and certain union contracts. ABC buses will buy 143 of Coach USA’s double-decker buses for $2.3 million. Avalon Transportation will be buying Coach USA bus lines in Atlanta, Georgia and various Western states. They will also be purchasing the company’s specialized tour bus divisions for $14.8 million.

The transportation industry was hit especially hard by the pandemic with reduced ridership on trains and buses. Even now more Americans work from home than in previous years. It has become more common for people to only commute to their workplace a few times a week rather than every day. Chief executive officer of the American Bus Association Peter Pantuso stated that about two full years of revenue over a three-year period had been lost. He added that was hard to recoup because the “bills didn’t go away”.

As part of their bankruptcy proceedings, Coach USA will be continuing their bus operations while they undergo the court-supervised sale of their assets. The company operates in 27 locations and has about 2,700 employees. An essential part of the asset sales agreements was the tantamount importance of preserving the jobs of the Coach USA employees. Coach USA CEO Derrick Waters has publicly stated that the company’s top priority remains the safety of the millions of passengers who ride their buses every year.

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