- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Local commuter options should not be affected by the recent bankruptcy filing of Coach America, the nation’s largest tour and charter bus operator, whose holdings include a company that runs commuter routes throughout Southern Maryland.
After filing Jan. 3 for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Delaware court, Coach America issued a statement promising “uninterrupted transportation services” while it reorganizes its finances.
The Dallas-based company is “operationally sound, but it has suffered from the economic downturn that began in late 2008,” Chief Restructuring Officer Brian Cejka wrote in a court filing.
Ron Dillon Jr., regional vice president of Dillon’s Bus Service, a Hanover-based subsidiary of Coach America, compared the company’s situation with that of American Airlines, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November but has continued its operations.
Dillon’s provides 73 daily trips between Charles County stops and Washington, D.C., and 57 weekday trips between St. Mary’s County and the District, according to the company’s website.
Dillon said there are “no anticipated issues or service problems associated” with the bankruptcy.
“I can understand the concern on [the] part of the commuters, but everything is operating the same day to day and ultimately the end result will be that they will reorganize their debts at Coach America, or another option might be they will sell some of their assets to other owners,” he added.
The bankruptcy has had “no impact to our services and we expect there will be no interruptions to any of our routes in the future,” Maryland Transit Administration spokesman Terry Owens said. “On the outside chance that Coach America would be forced to cease operations, including our commuter routes, we’ve got some contingency plans that will allow service to continue” until a long-term contract could be issued for competitive bid.
“We are on top of the situation and will do everything we need to do to keep the service operating,” Owens added.
During the first 11 months of 2011, Coach America reported $417 million in revenues but lost $27 million, Cejka wrote. As of Nov. 30, the company has $274 million in assets and $402 million in liabilities, he added.
Coach America’s fleet includes more than 3,000 vehicles, including 1,623 full-size motor coaches, Cejka wrote.