Two family-owned north and north-east coach firms are seeking urgent help to survive the coronavirus pandemic.
D&E Coaches, of Inverness, and Maynes of Buckie have warned their industry could soon be reduced to a shell.
Donald Mathieson, who founded D&E Coaches with his wife Elizabeth 24 years ago, has 85 staff and 65 vehicles.
“We keep reading about airlines, airports and railways in talks about receiving help, and billionaire Richard Branson pleading poverty,” Mr Mathieson said, adding: “But most people travel by coach.
“When schools go back in August, there will not be enough operators left to transport pupils. We need immediate government and local authority help to enable us to survive.”
Kevin Mayne, managing director of 73-year-old Maynes, with 70 staff and 42 vehicles, said: “I know of five coach hire businesses which closed last week, with another couple on Friday.
“That’s several hundred jobs away – before the chancellor introduced his very welcome 80% jobs pay supplement.
“It’s heartbreaking to see firms folding – and more will follow unless help arrives.
“No one seems to be considering the plight of what are mainly family businesses in coach hire.
“When the virus peak has passed, the coaches needed to take people to and from the graveside, weddings, hotels, railway stations and top sporting fixtures may simply be unavailable unless support happens soon.”
Mr Mathieson added: “We had record bookings for the next few months to transport over 10,000 cruise line passengers from harbours such as Invergordon, Oban and Portree to major visitor attractions such as Loch Ness, Urquhart Castle and Dunrobin Castle.
“But last week these bookings vanished overnight. When the cruise ships return, and find not enough coaches left to cater for them, they will simply forget about this area.”