Victor Martinez started Bel-Air Bus Charter Corporation 28 years ago, providing automotive repair and maintenance for its sister company, Bel-Air Transit Services Corporation and other clients. In February 2005, Bel-Air Bus Charter Corporation changed its primary business to bus rental and catered to crew trips, corporate activities, exhibits, airlines, and travel agencies. 

“When community quarantine was imposed our regular clients suspended operations so all our bookings were cancelled. We knew we had to act fast. We need to sustain our income to be able to keep all our employees.” he explained.

Victor decided to quickly make use of his buses for other purposes. We adjusted quickly after the announcement of the community quarantine. We cleaned our buses and set up sanitation areas in each one of them and then offered our services to companies needing shuttle services,Victor shared.

From ferrying tourists to ferrying frontliners and authorized persons outside of residence (APOR), Victor was able to repurpose his business and earned enough to sustain operations.

“Although the income slowed down, we were still able to generate profit that helped pay the salaries of our drivers and other staff,” Victor added.

Bel-air Bus Charter Corporation was able to keep all of its more than 100 employees and paid them salaries even during skeletal work schedules.

“We provided lodging for employees and drivers to limit their risk of getting sick.” He said.

To add to his working capital and replenish the expenses incurred during the time of travel restrictions, Victor applied online for the CARES for TRAVEL which was introduced to him in an online Tourism Congress. 

“It’s the first time I tried applying for a business loan — I never thought that a day will come when I have to look for financing to sustain my business. But it was an opportunity and we had to adjust to survive,” Victor shared. 

“I expect 2021 to be the same as last year. But we need to hang on to the hope that everything will be better. Maybe not as soon as we want, but it will eventually,” Vic concludes.