Downtown Nashville’s popular party bus services are set to face new rules issued by the Metro Council and Mayor John Cooper. One of the main effects of the new regulations signed Tuesday is that alcohol will no longer be allowed on the buses, starting December 1st. Another change for the industry is that starting April of 2022, the party buses will be regulated by Metro’s Transportation Licensing Commission.
In the substitute ordinance Metro released after the meeting, it states the reason behind the new regulation is that “the Metropolitan Council is concerned that a continued failure to regulate entertainment transportation vehicles will permanently erode the cultural character of Nashville’s neighborhoods that has made the city a vibrant and enjoyable place to live, work, and visit.”
Nick Lyon, owner of the Hell on Wheels party bus, said: “It’s pretty scary honestly. There’s a lot of livelihoods that’s at stake here. We’re small business owners in a city.”
Nashville’s party buses have been notorious for causing problems downtown. Recently, one bus, The Nashville Tractor, received a cease and desist letter from the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) for selling alcoholic beverages without a permit.
While the owner of the party bus, Michael Winters said it has been operating within the rules in Nashville, this wasn’t the first time the company has had problems with the TABC. In 2019, The Nashville Tractor was reported selling alcohol onboard without a permit.
The Nashville Tractor does say on its website that:
We no longer sell alcoholic beverages on our wagon. You may purchase your drinks for Doc Holliday Saloon and carry them on with you. We will have ice and buckets available for you to use. The buckets attach to the railings on the wagon for easy access. You may also bring a small cooler. We do have size restrictions on the wagon.
Besides operating without proper licenses, there have been many accidents reported alongside the party buses as well. This past July, an accident was reported where a man fell from the top of a party bus and was partially run over.
The Michigan tourist was reported as sitting on the railing of an uncovered party bus and then fell face-first. The bus, carrying 15 others, ran over the man’s legs. He was then transported to Vanderbilt University Medical Center for non-life-threatening injuries.
In regards to the new regulations, Metro Council Member Freddie O’Connell said, “I am not here to drive somebody out of business, but if you can’t meet the performance standards of the city of Nashville that we’ve started to establish here then you probably shouldn’t be doing business here.”
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