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Golf Carts Take To Downtown Streets After Licensing

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Posted at 6:12 PM, Aug 27, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-08 04:34:39-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Metro Transportation Licensing Commission licensed “low speed vehicles” Thursday leaving taxi drivers unhappy.

Four companies became recognized and regulated Thursday, giving people another option to get from A to B on city streets.

The four companies providing the golf cart service that were recognized were Joyride Tours, Cruzzin, Heehawlin and Music City Touring.

Previously, golf carts were unregulated, bound only by the general rules of the road.

Joyride driver Lacie Daye said the upsides to carting around town are obvious.

“You've got the wind in your hair and you've got a friendly driver,” she said, while showing a couple around the Parthenon at Centennial Park.

Daye doesn't charge a fee, she just accepts tips that she splits evenly with the company. Joyride staff said drivers can make between $1,000 and $1,500 per week after the split.

With Thursday’s licensing, Daye and other drivers were required to have insurance, inspections and reapply for their certificate every year.

However, cab drivers have argued that golf carts aren't safe.

“How would you feel about riding in a vehicle as a cab without doors?” asked Taxi Cab Driver Association board member Maurice Harris.

Taxi drivers complain over the past two years, despite much city growth, their business has been cut in half or more.

“Life is really hard for us, it’s not like before,” said driver Annei Annei who said he used to average $300 per day. Now he’s lucky to make $100.

They blame low speed vehicle companies like Joyride and ride sharing companies like Uber.

“Certainly it affects the livelihood of a family whose major breadwinner is a driver. He's an owner-operator, he’s a small business person,” Harris said.

Carts can operate on any street 35 miles an hour or less. That opens them up to business from East Nashville to the West End and everything in between.

With no serious incidents yet and their new legitimacy, it's possible you could see many more of them on the road.

“I think this is the future of Nashville,” Daye said.

It's a reality that may be leaving cab drivers spinning their wheels.

Under the new regulations the low speed vehicles have to have seat belts, head lights, turn signals and brakes.