NASHVILLE, Tenn. — On Tuesday, the Nashville Metro Council approved the third and final reading of the "transportainment" bill, which will soon regulate party buses in the city.
The new ordinance will require the mobile businesses to follow several new rules. Namely, it will make it illegal to have open containers of alcohol in unenclosed vehicles -- impacting most of the open-air party buses seen traveling along downtown Nashville's most popular strips.
The ordinance was also amended to ban party buses from amplifying their sound systems to blare music on the streets -- saying any audio that is "plainly audible" further than 50 feet from the vehicle is too loud.
Safe Fun Nashville, a group supporting the transportainment bill, said they wanted to see these party vehicles regulated and licensed.
"Unfortunately, this industry has had about a decade to regulate themselves," Tee Jordan, one of the Safe Fun Nashville organizers, said. "On the one hand, you can't say you want to keep the tourists and the residents of Nashville safe but don't back this bill because that's what this bill is doing."
The ordinance cites issues with the "recent proliferation" of entertainment transportation vehicles that are posing safety concerns for passengers, pedestrians and motorists.
The bill also cites concerns and complaints from downtown residents and businesses over the area being "out of control" as a result of the atmosphere created by the numerous party buses.
"The Metropolitan Council is concerned that a continued failure to regulate entertainment transportation vehicles will permanently erode the cultural character of Nashville's neighborhoods that has made the city a vibrant and enjoyable place to live, work and visit," the ordinance reads.
Along with banning drinking on open-air party buses, the ordinance adds several new regulatory steps companies must take to operate on the road. Businesses will be required to apply for permits from the Metropolitan Transportation Licensing Commission, drivers and owners will have to pass background checks, and drivers will have to go through hospitality training.
The new regulations come after concerns were raised about the safety of the entertainment vehicles. In July, a 22-year-old tourist fell over the railing of an open-air party bus and was run over by it. ‘Safe Fun Nashville’ then called for those types of vehicles to be regulated.
“We’re just getting more momentum because of the accident that happened. We don’t want that to happen again,” said Tee Jordan with Safe Fun Nashville.
Tourists had taken notice too.
“We’ve seen a couple of them went down the people pretty reckless on there,” Alex Spangler, visiting from Ohio, said. “I do think there need to be some regulations. I get there a party buses people want to see them, ‘woo woo,’ do the whole thing, but at some point, there needs to be a safety precaution."