- Eloise Tyner is a Nashville resident and member of Safe Fun Nashville.
Time and time again, Nashville is listed as one of the cities to visit in the United States, but our reputation is slowly and surely becoming tainted by party vehicles under the guise of entertainment value and public need.
Public need is defined as services required to maintain the health, safety and well-being of the general citizenry. It is obvious that party vehicles do not fit that description.
More than 15,000 people live in the downtown core and nearly 80,000 commute to work downtown every day. There are 15 churches with hundreds of parishioners each and six schools ranging from a public high school to varying higher educational institutions all within the downtown footprint.
As a city, we’ve capitulated to party vehicles for far too long. We’ve stood by and watched while visitors drunkenly stumbled out of party vehicles into oncoming traffic right outside of office buildings; while lewd displays occurred between partygoers and pedestrians on Lower Broad; and while students at Hume Fogg High School had to endure interruptions from transportation entertainment vehicles.
For all this, the question begs to be asked: Which of Nashville’s needs do party vehicles fulfill?
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Party vehicles are endangering our city
Party vehicles contribute nothing to the health of this city. In addition to rampant public intoxication, a 22-year-old man fell from a bus in July 2021. He was knocked unconscious and then dozed over by a vehicle.
Just a few months later in October, a woman was hit by a double decker bus and then trapped underneath.
Transportation entertainment is not only damaging to the health of tourists and visitors, it also poses a grave safety risk. The sheer existence of party vehicles forces an already strapped Metro Nashville Police Department to utilize the little resources they have to keep tourists on board and passersby safe.
First responders and EMS are often forced to dodge the dozens of vehicles that clog the downtown streets in order to aid in emergency events. Transportation entertainment is detrimental to the well-being of our city, its reputation and economic future.
Drunken revelry is ruining the city
Nashville is still struggling to recover from a pandemic that crippled its second largest money-making machine: the tourism industry. In 2019, the city welcomed a record number of visitors: 16.1 million to be exact.
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Of those millions of visitors, 41% came to Music City for business conferences or other events. That is nearly half of the city’s tourism revenue, cashing in at $566 million in state and local income that year.
Three years later, more local businesses have shuttered their doors and fewer businesses are willing to hold their conventions in Nashville— while there are more party bus and entertainment vehicles than ever.
On average, each party bus company gives rides to about 30 guests a day while one convention brings at least 9,000 people and thousands of dollars to the city.
While hundreds of people utilize party vehicles over the course of a year, hundreds of thousands of others are choosing to never do business with the city again due to the drunken revelry that is Transportation entertainment. One association summed up the issue perfectly, stating the city seems to value “party and quick pleasure” over professionalism and business revenue.
Clearly, there is no public need for Transportation entertainment vehicles; however, if they are here to stay, they must be well regulated, well enforced and there must be as few of them as possible.
For the safety, well-being and health of our residents and visitors, the Transportation Licensing Committee (TLC) must act decisively and firmly. Safe Fun Nashville looks forward to learning more about how the TLC intends to prioritize the needs of the city and its visitors at their next meeting on Thursday.
This is an urgent demand to preserve the future of our city before any more irreversible damage is done that will stain the once-pristine reputation of Music City as the city to visit in the United States. If pride goes before the fall, then Nashville has quickly become a victim of its own prosperity.
Eloise Tyner is a Nashville resident and member of Safe Fun Nashville.