‘End of the Line’: School Bus Industry in Crisis Because of the Coronavirus


Pranshu Verma

WASHINGTON — When Glenn Every received notice in early March that schools in the Hudson Valley of New York would close because of the coronavirus pandemic, he parked his fleet of 20 school buses thinking they would be running again in a few months.

But the pandemic worsened, and schools remained shuttered. School administrators told Every that if students stayed home, they could not pay buses to remain idle. His costs remained, and any chance of making up for lost revenue with after-school or summer contracts were wiped away by the pandemic.

To stay afloat, he furloughed nearly all 32 of his staff members, including his son. All told, his company has lost $750,000 because of the pandemic, a critical blow for his business, which averages $2 million a year in revenue.

Now, Every worries that when schools are able to reopen fully, his company may not be there to take children to class.

“We’ve been in business for over 60 years,” he said. “But this may be the end of the line for us.”

Privately owned bus companies, which carry nearly 10 million children to school a year, account for roughly 40% of the school bus industry — and now are facing an unparalleled threat to their survival.

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Glenn Every at his school bus company, Tonche Transit Inc. in Mount Tremper, N.Y., Aug. 28, 2020. (Lauren Lancaster/The New York Times)
Glenn Every at his school bus company, Tonche Transit Inc. in Mount Tremper, N.Y., Aug. 28, 2020. (Lauren Lancaster/The New York Times)


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