Bill Touts Traffic Safety, Could Close Down Several Party Tour Businesses

Posted at 9:19 AM, Jun 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-21 10:27:37-04

Several party tour businesses in downtown Nashville fear closure due to a Metro City Council bill that would prohibit operation of certain vehicles not currently considered under code. 

The Transportation Licensing Commission currently regulates all horse drawn carriages, taxicabs, low-speed vehicles, sedans, limousines, pedicabs, pedal carriages and wreckers. However, in Bill 737, there is an effort to bring vehicles not currently covered by the licensing commission and then prohibit those same vehicles.

Metro City Public Works released this statement:

"The Metro Nashville Police Department has reported multiple complaints concerning the safety of unregulated platform vehicles.Therefore, in the interest of public safety, it is appropriate for Metro to prohibit the addition of new types of slow moving vehicles that are not currently contemplated by the Metropolitan Code. “

NewsChannel 5 talked with two businesses about the bill who will likely be negatively impacted if it is passed. Nashville Party Barge is one such business.

"If they stop us, we have drivers that their sole income is based on what we pay them," said Kenneth Dameron, General Operations Manager. "We have had 0 incidents. No one has fallen, no one has fallen off the barge, no one has stumbled on the barge. We have had no issues. We tell our young ladies that they need to sit down when the vehicle is moving but when we are at a red light, they can stand up."

Nashville Party Barge opened in 2013. Since then, the company claims to have carried more than 100,000 people on tours throughout the city. They've grown from a single limousine with a cut off top, to three extended F-150 trucks.

Metro Licensing Commission Director Billy Fields said both the Nashville Party Barge and Off The Wagon Tours will be impacted by the bill. Fields said both businesses would have to seek licensing from the Transportation Licensing Commission.

If they were denied their request, they could seek to be included in the law through the Metro City Council.

Fields said the operations of these types of vehicles is mainly a safety hazard, but that it also contributes to traffic congestion in the downtown area.

"We are looking at congestion, we are concerned about movement in traffic, but we are very concerned about public safety and that's what we'll look at more than anything else," said Fields.

Tuesday was the bill's second reading. Business owners said they have never been contacted by anyone from Metro City Council or TLC about the bill.