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Nowhere to go: COVID-19 shuts the door on charter bus service

For the first time in 67 years of business, Newton’s Bus Service of Gloucester has no chartered trips on the horizon. All of the educational field trips, graduation activities, oceanfront and vineyard tours, and the various other trips that normally culminate during this time of year to create a bustling spring season have either been canceled or not scheduled at all because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Company vice president Casey Newton, who is part of the third generation involved in the family business, said he normally has 12 to 15 charter buses on the road continually in April, but currently has none. The company has lost about $550,000 worth of business already, he said, and because March, April and May are Newton’s busiest time of year, he expects that number to rise. He doesn’t see it getting better anytime soon.

Newton’s isn’t alone, either, he said. Probably 98 percent of every bus company’s vehicles are sitting idle, with some companies completely closed down, possibly ...

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