Vandals kick struggling business when down

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Vandals have struck a Blue Mountains business struggling to regain traction after almost two years of pandemic on the back of devastating bushfires.

Fantastic Aussie Tours managing director Jason Cronshaw arrived at his Katoomba tour bus depot to find several buses covered in graffiti and vandalism damage.

"Just when weʼre getting back on our feet – bam," he said.

"Itʼs demoralising. I feel crushed."

About Fantastic Aussie Tours

FAT has operated the Blue Mountains Explorer Bus fleet of double-decker red buses around Katoomba and Leura since 1986 and conducted sightseeing tours and charters around Australia for two generations since 1974.

Pandemic

It was forced to close its Blue Mountains Explorer Bus sightseeing run for 27 days over December 2019 – January 2020 because of the bushfires and reported a 60 per cent drop in passengers between that December and February `20.

During the weekend of March 14-15, 2020, numbers plummeted another 50 per cent almost overnight because of coronavirus.

Four days later [on March 19], Explorer Bus services were slashed from 15 a day to seven, with 2.5 drivers a day to one.

The service was suspended completely during the latest lockdown. FAT sold seven vehicles during the Covid pandemic – three Explorer buses, two coaches, a vintage touring bus and a 4WD.

Today, the distinctive double-decker fleet runs only on weekends and holidays.

Meanwhile parent company FAT suffered an 85 per cent drop in charter work and forward cancellations from schools and corporates and other group travel until October.

The average weekly driver roster of 350 hours had dropped to 78.

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