ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) A tour bus group left Roanoke early Wednesday morning for the Rolling for Awareness rally in D.C.
The motorcoach industry has been one of the hardest hit industries because of COVID-19. Sunshine Tours out of Dublin had to lay off all 88 employees, cancel all their tours through June, and refund hundreds of thousands of dollars.
They said the bus industry hasn't received any government payouts like airline companies have. And even though they do a lot of vacation tours, they're also there for emergencies.
"They call on motorcoaches for lots of things," tour coordinator Kendra Flinchum said. "Evacuations down south when there's hurricanes, or if people need to get out or bring in essential workers to work those situations, or even military, transporting military where they gotta go. And they won't have that if they don't help us."
There were 12 people, including Linda Taylor, on the bus that left Roanoke around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Taylor said the tour bus employees and their clients become like family on their trips together.
"There's fellowship on the bus," she said. "You don't have that in other modes of transportation like you do on a motorcoach. You know they talk about getting America started again. What better way then to load a bus?"
The Sunshine Tours bus will be joining at least 500 other buses from every state in the country for the rally in D.C.
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