NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A long-standing debate over party buses in Nashville is back in discussion.
On Thursday, April 27, the Transportation Licensing Commission will review about 30 entertainment transportation vehicle (ETV) licenses.
In March, KCI technologies presented a study to the Transportation Licensing Commission, recommending cutting the size of ETVs in half, from about 80 to 40. They said this is one of multiple methods to help ease traffic in the downtown area.
Members of the organization Safe Fun Nashville support that recommendation and said they will be attending Thursday’s meeting. They said they hope the commission will listen to both the study and their thoughts.
“We don’t need 89, that’s for dog-gone sure,” said Jim Schmitz, the co-organizer of Safe Fun Nashville. “What they should’ve done in the first place when they started this, they should’ve listened to the residents of downtown and the businesses who call downtown their home.
While you’ll find all kinds of vehicles traveling down Broadway, from pedal taverns, sightseeing buses, and horse-drawn carriages, Safe Fun said they’re most concerned about party buses because of the hazards and noise they bring.
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“There’s a noise ordinance already in place that needs to be enforced and they thumb their nose at the rest of us who make downtown our home or our place of work,” said Schmitz. “We’ve talked to them for years about lowering the volume, about taking us into consideration and being a good neighbor, and they have not done it. So, my level of sympathy for them is not very deep.”
Grooveline Party Bus is a newer to addition to Music City, but co-owner Dean Watkins said they were proactive when starting their business.
“Even before we started, we actually sat down with Butch Spyridon [Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation] and met with him because this was such a big issue,” said Watkins. “We thought, ‘Oh my gosh, let’s make sure that before we come into this we’re doing it properly.’ So, we sat down and said, ‘If you could have a party bus on the streets, what would you do?’”
Watkins said he understands why the regulations to be in place.
“They’re there for a reason. There’s been some safety concerns, some noise issues,” said Watkins.
However, he said even if the business owners are following all of the rules, there’s only so much they can do.
“It’s really the clientele,” said Watkins. “Sometimes we have really bad parties on because they just come to town and they’re looking to have as much fun as they can.”
If any of the vehicles on the commission’s license list has a violation, they will have the opportunity to defend their license to the Transportation Licensing Commission.
There’s also a public hearing period. The meeting starts at 12:30 p.m. Thursday at the Historic Davidson County Courthouse.