Metro Transportation Licensing Commission meets to finalize regulations for party vehicles

Public invited to share thoughts and opinions
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Posted at 3:23 AM, Apr 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-28 08:28:30-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — On Thursday, the Metro Transportation Licensing Commission will meet to finalize regulations for party vehicles.

There will be a hearing for the commission to receive comments from the public on which rules the growing industry should follow.

A few weeks ago, the commission called a special meeting for a work session where members further discuss potential regulations.

Last year, Metro Councilvoted to have the Metro Transportation Licensing Commission oversee the permitting process for the vehicles.

In December of 2021, a new ordinance banned open containers on party vehicles with open roofs and no side barriers, which is why so many now operate with plastic or glass enclosures.

Last month, the co-owner of Upstage Party Bus told NewsChannel 5 that the warmer weather is now posing a safety risk to his staff and customers saying an enclosed vehicle makes it feel like 90 degrees on the bus.

Owners, groups like Safe Fun Nashville, and the public will have their opportunity to speak with the commission about the proposed rules on Thursday.

Safe Fun Nashville co-organizer Eloise Tyner said she believes regulations are needed to make sure people stay safe while enjoying the party vehicles. Tyner said she wants to make downtown Nashville enjoyable for everyone.

"I want to hear from others. I want this to be an open debate. I want this to be something we as a community, step forward into the future alongside each other and hopefully with all sides, feeling like they've been heard at some level. I think if people don't feel heard, what's the point in the type of government we have?" Tyner explained.

Safe Fun Nashville reports on average, each party bus company gives rides to about 30 guests a day while one convention brings at least 9,000 people and thousands of dollars to the city.

The group argued that hundreds of people utilize party buses over the course of a year, hundreds of thousands of others are choosing to never do business with the city again due to the lack of regulations in the party vehicle industry.

In fact, this was a point brought up by a commissioner at the special called meeting earlier this month.

Safe Fun Nashville provided NewsChannel 5 with an email from the head of an organization that recently had a convention in Nashville sharing their observations about Broadway and how Nashville has changed:

"Hello Butch and Adrienne,

NRECA’s PowerXchange & TechAdvantage Experience just ended and I have a giant smile on my face. Thank you to the city of Nashville and the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp for rolling out the welcome carpet for NRECA. I’m happy to report that our event came back to life at pre-pandemic numbers, over 8100 in attendance. We had one of the smoothest conventions ever. The warm weather and the excitement of returning to meetings invigorated my attendees. I’m so glad it happened in Nashville. The excitement level along the Broadway has definitely amped up since our last time in 2018. Representing an older and more seasoned demographics, my attendees made notice that activities below 5th and Broadway made them leery and a little uneasy in that environment.

The progression of honky-tonks and the admiration of music has morphed to party until you puke. The streets themselves near 2nd and Broadway have deteriorated and added a sense of unease to visitors.

I also heard comments about the aggressiveness of the bars to persuade entry, very similar to Bourbon Street. Finally, the party vehicles has changed the entire perception of the city. The city has built itself on being a 5-star destination for conferences and events, but it seems Nashville is quickly losing its reputation and embracing desire for party & quick pleasure. These are just observations, please know NRECA still holds Nashville as it’s home base for conferences.

Eric Commodore, CMP, DES Director, Meeting & Event Planning | NRECA"

Over the weekend, a viewer reached out to NewsChannel 5 concerned about recent actions he saw on Broadway.

It was a group of people hanging outside of a bus called Grey Lion, whose actions have been described as unsafe by Safe Fun Nashville, locals, and Billy Fields, the director of the Transportation Licensing Commission.

Fields said the vehicle is considered an "entertainment transportation vehicle" and would be subject to rules and regulations, which will be the proposed rules considered for adoption at Thursday’s meeting.

He hopes to address some of the ongoing safety issues related to this industry, including what was seen in the video.

Tyner thinks everyone must share the road responsibly.

“Driving on a group of communal streets only works if everybody agrees on the rules. That's what makes this so unsafe. There are new players that are abiding by a different set of rules than the rest of the vehicles around them,” Tyner said.

The Metro Transportation Licensing Commission meets Thursday at 1:30 p.m. at the Metro Courthouse Jury Assembly Room.

View the proposed Entertainment Transportation rules here.