‘It just doesn’t make sense to me’: Metro Councilman files bill to regulate party buses

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Nashville councilman has proposed new legislation that would crack down on party buses in downtown Nashville.

“They have dialed up the obnoxious,” said Freddie O’Connell. “From encouraging loud and obnoxious behavior from their patrons, but also amplification of noise, over-serving. I mean, all of these problems from quality of life to actual safety issues have become problematic.

O’Connell filed the bill Friday morning. The proposed legislation would require large transpotainment vehicles like party buses, trailers and tractors to follow the same rules as smaller vehicles like pedal taverns.

“From background checks and basic safety things, those will now apply to party buses as they already do the pedal taverns,” said O’Connell. “We are going a few steps further on the two things that have been, I think, most problematic — one of those is alcohol, the other is noise.”

Right now, city leaders only have the authority to regulate vehicles like golf carts and pedal taverns. O’Connell says he has been in conversation with city legal counsel all summer to ensure the proposed legislation is fit for state approval.

“Right now, I believe after conversations across all of these parties, that we believe that the bill as drafted would withstand legal scrutiny,” said O’Connell.

“The problem with the regulation that he has proposed is, it’s not a regulation at all. It is killing a business,” said Michael Winters, operator of Nashville Tractor and president of Nashville Transpotainment Association. “I actually presented them with a regulation very similar to Freddy’s, same format, same regulation. The difference was, it was a collaborative effort between myself and some city leaders trying to figure out how to take an industry that does need regulation, and put it together in a way that benefits all parties involved.”

Winters says he is not against regulation, and says he’d like to have a conversation with city leaders about instituting things like vehicle registration, operation zones, even noise limits.

“It’s an annihilation of an industry because there’s some people within the city who don’t like the operation,” said Winters. “You’re putting families out of work. You’re not working with people who live and work in your own city. It just doesn’t make sense to me.”

The bill will be discussed at the next Metro Council meeting. It will have to pass three readings in order to be put into law.

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