Graphics were installed on a Hawkeye Stages bus in Decorah over the weekend. Hawkeye Stages drivers Leon Griebenow and Jake Hildebrand are taking the bus to a rally in Washington, D.C. this week.
Graphics were installed on a Hawkeye Stages bus in Decorah over the weekend. Hawkeye Stages drivers Leon Griebenow and Jake Hildebrand are taking the bus to a rally in Washington, D.C. this week.
On Wednesday, Hawkeye Stages will join hundreds of motorcoach companies from around the country for a rolling rally around the U.S. Capitol and National Mall in Washington, D.C.
Hawkeye Stages drivers Leon Griebenow and Jake Hildebrand will depart from Decorah on Monday, May 11, at 10 a.m. and travel to Madison, Wis., where they will meet representatives of the Minnesota contingent. All will then travel together to Schaumburg, Ill. where they will join other members of the Midwest motorcoach group (including many other Iowa operators) for a rally on Monday afternoon.
The entire group will then continue on to South Bend, Ind. to spend the night. On Tuesday, the entire group will continue on to the Washington, D.C. area to overnight prior to Wednesday’s national event at the Capitol and National Mall.
Like many small businesses, bus operators have been devastated by the coronavirus, according to Hildebrand.
“Buses sit in garages while employees remain at home. Drivers want to be back on the road, serving their communities again, but know this is not possible until both passengers and drivers can feel safe,” Hildebrand said.
“This will take time. Without help from the federal government, many in the industry fear buses may never return to the road and passengers will be stranded without access to the nation’s transportation system,” Hildebrand said.
By gathering in Washington, motorcoach operators hope to showcase the strength in numbers of the industry and the positive benefits it provides to every community in America.
“Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Hawkeye Stages, along with many other small motorcoach companies, has been completely shut down,” Hildebrand said.
“The survival of these small motorcoach companies may depend on the support from the national government, which has so far supported the airlines, rail and cruise industries but has ignored the motorcoach industry,” he said.

Event
The “Motorcoaches Rolling for Awareness” is a joint event between the American Bus Association and United Motorcoach Association. It is intended to 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.
Motorcoach operators are seeking to remind Members of Congress and the Trump Administration that the industry – which has laid off or furloughed more than 90 percent of its workforce nationally in the wake of COVID-19 -- needs federal assistance. The motorcoach industry has requested $15 billion in federal grants and loan guarantees and modifications to Economic Injury Disaster Loan and Paycheck Protection Program.
There are nearly 3,000 motorcoach companies. The majority are family owned, small businesses. The industry nearly 100,000 people. The workforce includes owners, drivers, dispatchers, maintenance and repair, safety, cleaning crew, finance, administrative personnel, etc.
There are currently nearly 36,000 buses sitting idle. There are nearly 600 million passenger trip annually, which is in line with domestic airlines’ trips.

Hawkeye Stages
Founded in 1954, Hawkeye Stages currently has terminals in Decorah, Fort Dodge, Newton and Waterloo. Hawkeye Stages provides reliable group transportation for several local colleges and schools, as well as many corporate, fraternal and civic groups. Along with its sister company, Legacy Tour and Travel, Hawkeye Stages employs approximately 60 Iowans, and serves more than 100,000 passengers annually.