Speaks Before Buses Depart

Loyd Bailie, far left, general manager for Mid-American Coaches, Washington, speaks to a group of supporters Monday morning before two buses and four drivers headed out to participate in the “Motorcoaches Rolling for Awareness” rally Wednesday in Washington, D.C. Also pictured, from left, are Roger Jones, co-owner; Russell Irwin, Rick Hufford, Marcus Chambers and Steve Ward, drivers; and Dennis Jones, co-owner. Missourian Photo.

Mid-American Coaches in Washington will join hundreds of motorcoach companies from across the country for a rolling rally Wednesday around the U.S. Capitol and National Mall in Washington, D.C.

The “Motorcoaches Rolling for Awareness” is a one-day grassroots event born from independent motorcoach operators, industry suppliers and state associations, represented by a joint initiative between the nation’s two largest associations, American Bus Association and United Motorcoach Association.

Operators like Dennis and Roger Jones, who own Mid-American Coaches, said this will be a positive event showcasing how big buses and small businesses move America.

Buses will be decorated with informative signs about the motorcoach industry including the groups they serve, the economic impact they make and the people they employ.

“Like many local small businesses, our operations have been absolutely devastated by the coronavirus,” said Dennis Jones.

While his buses sit idle, Jones has been able to keep his employees working for now thanks to the federal Payroll Protection  Program.

“But we all want to be back on the road, bringing people from point A to point B while serving our communities again,” he said. “Without help from the federal government, I fear our buses may never return to the road and our passengers will be stranded without access to the nation’s transportation system.”

Jones sent two of his full-size luxury motorcoaches and four drivers — Russell Irwin, Steve Ward, Marcus Chambers and Rick Hufford — to the rally in D.C. to help showcase the strength in numbers of the industry and the positive benefits the motorcoach provides to every community in America.

The buses departed Monday, May 11, from Mid-American’s facility at 4530 Highway 47 South with a special send-off of families and friends cheering them on. Roger Jones also gave a special blessing. 

From there, the buses stopped at the JCPenney parking lot and were greeted by members of the Franklin County Honor Flight, veterans and other supporters.

Jones said interest and participation in the rally has grown over the last two weeks. He expects about 1,000 buses to take part.

The motorcoach has been overlooked in the financial government assistance conversation, he said, and the rally hopes to remind members of Congress and the Trump administration that the industry needs federal assistance.

“Our industry to asking for aid to get us past the next six to 12 months while our great country gets itself up and running again,” he said.

Jones said all of his employees are eager for things to get back to normal.

“We are going to build our business back one customer at a time, along with one motor coach at a time,” he said.

“Our loyal customers have been with the Jones family since my dad and mother purchased the business from Bert Simms in 1957,” he said. “Mid-American Coaches started its long journey back in 1927 when John Calvin, who owned the Calvin Theater, started with one bus and was competing with the railroad.

“Bert Simms was a driver and later purchased the company in 1937, then sold it to my parents in 1957,” he said. “We are more than ready to get back and take everyone to see our great nation again.”