Local organization demands change in Nashville transportainment rules

Published: Jun. 23, 2022 at 10:13 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - The Nashville Transportation Licensing Commission came up with several new rules Thursday for how party buses can operate in the city. Commissioners limit the party buses’ hours and may restrict their routes down the line.

WSMV 4 spoke with one downtown resident who is happy to see the industry regulated. Jim Schmitz said he has one word to describe the party buses downtown. “Obnoxious,” Schmitz said.

They drive right by his downtown condo at Church and 3rd. “They go up and turn around at some point and come back down,” Schmitz said.

It happens so often that Schmitz said he has the playlists memorized. “I probably hear Shania Twain’s ‘Man! I Feel Like a Woman’ five times a day on Fridays and Saturdays.”

Schmitz moved into his condo in 2015 before there were any party buses. However, he said they now interfere with him working from home. “I can’t do a conference call here,” Schmitz said. “Even when I have earplugs in for a video call, it still comes over the microphone.”

Schmitz said he got involved with Safe Fun Nashville because of the party buses. The coalition held a news conference Wednesday with hospitality and business leaders. In Thursday’s meeting, they called on TLC to approve enforceable regulations for party buses.

“Will they listen to the will of the downtown neighborhood of over 15,000 residents and 78,000 downtown workers,” Schmitz asked at the news conference.

At Thursday’s meeting, TLC passed several new rules for entertainment vehicles. For one, they will no longer be allowed to operate during the afternoon rush hours between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. In addition, those retrofitted with things like plexiglass must also install rails. However, some owners said they are already doing that.

“We are enclosed,” Tiffany with Extreme Experience said at the meeting. “We have Plexi and rails and running since 2019.”

All alcohol on board must be enclosed and must only have passengers 21 and up. Some companies said that it is going to hurt business. “When you guys said 21 and up, there go the family tours,” Ronee Heatherly with Big Green Tractor Tours said.

“I just wanted to state we are under no circumstances considering these limits casually and are deliberately raising them on purpose because we believe they are necessary, one commissioner said.

The commission said these rules are subject to change. However, Schmitz thinks it is a good start. “I am hopeful right now,” Schmitz said. “I am hopeful we will see change, and things will get better,” Schmitz said.

NDOT also said it would bring later suggestions to limit their routes, namely prohibiting party buses from going to places like The Gulch, residential areas like 12 South, and places with high development.

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