Local organization calls for change in Nashville transportation rules

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) – The Nashville Transportation Licensing Board on Thursday proposed several new rules for how party buses can operate in the city. The marshals limit the opening hours of party buses and may restrict their routes along the line.

WSMV 4 spoke with a downtown resident who is happy to see the industry regulated. Jim Schmitz said he had a word for downtown party buses. “Hefic,” Schmitz said.

They drive right by his downtown apartment 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 memorizes the playlists. “I probably hear ‘Man!’ by Shania Twain! I feel like a woman’ five times a day on Fridays and Saturdays.

Schmitz moved into his condo in 2015 before there was a party bus. However, he said they are now preventing him from working from home. “I can’t do a conference call here,” Schmitz said. “Even when I have earplugs on for a video call, it still goes through the microphone.”

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

“Are they going to listen to the will of the downtown district of over 15,000 residents and 78,000 downtown workers,” Schmitz asked at the press conference.

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

“We’re locked in,” Tiffany said with Extreme Experience during the reunion. “We have Plexi and rails and have been operating since 2019.”

All alcohol on board must be locked up and must only have passengers 21 and older. Some companies said it was going to hurt business. “When you said 21 and over, there’s the family tours,” said Ronee Heatherly of Big Green Tractor Tours.

“I just wanted to say that we in no way consider these limits casually and that we deliberately increase them because we believe they are necessary,” said a commissioner.

The commission said those rules are subject to change. However, Schmitz thinks it’s a good start. “I’m hopeful right now,” Schmitz said. “Hopefully we will see changes and things will get better,” Schmitz said.

NDOT also said it would make further 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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