Could this be the end of the party buses in Nashville?
The city has been struggling to come up with a solution to the growing problem of party buses and pedal taverns taking over downtown – and slowly spreading into other areas as well.
Downtown Nashville has exploded into one of the top tourist destinations in the country, with hundreds of thousands of people visiting the streets of Lower Broadway every year.
And one of the major attractions for those visiting the city is the so-called “transportainment” industry – party buses, tractor wagons, jacked up pickup trucks, mobile hot tubs, pontoon boats being pulled behind SUVs…pretty much any vehicle you can put a group of people on to drive around the city and drink for a couple of hours.
But downtown Nashville is also where a lot of locals live, work, and go to school. And all those things can be a lot harder with the constant sound of drunk bachelorettes screaming along to “Man! I Feel Like a Woman” outside of your window.
And a video recently went viral showing a man stumbling off a pedal tavern and falling into the side of an oncoming car, though it was later revealed that the man wasn’t a part of the group on the pedal tavern but was just a random drunk guy who decided to hop on at the end of a trip.
Now, the city has taken action, passing a bill that would put new regulations on the largely-unregulated party bus industry – including banning alcohol.
The new ordinance gives Nashville’s Transportation Licensing Commission the authority to oversee a permitting process for the vehicles, including driver training and route approval. (Up to this point, the city has been unable to regulate any of the party buses, but has had regulations on pedal taverns since they’re not “motor vehicles”).
And it bans the consumption of alcohol on all unenclosed vehicles, which would include the party buses, tractors and pedal taverns, among the many other party vehicles that travel the streets of Nashville, starting December 1.
The bill passed the city council 33-3, despite the industry warning that a ban on alcohol would likely mean the end of their business. It now heads to mayor John Cooper’s desk for his signature.
But if you were hoping to visit Nashville and hop on one of the (many) party buses with the rest of your bachelorette party, you may still be able to do that.
The sponsor of the bill, councilman Freddie O’Connell, said that he hoped to introduce legislation before the ordinance’s alcohol provisions go into effect that would establish a permitting process for the vehicles to continue to allow riders to bring their own alcohol onboard, or potentially allow for alcohol service and sales on the party buses (something that hasn’t previously been allowed to this point).
The new regulations are also almost certain to face legal challenges as questions have been raised about the city’s authority to regulate an industry that, up to this point, Nashville has said they were powerless to regulate due to state law.
So what’s next for the “transportainment” industry in Nashville?
Well, we’ll just have to wait and see. But if these regulations do go into effect, and new legislation isn’t passed to allow alcohol on the vehicles, the woo girls may have just woo’d their last woo.