Tighter rules could be coming to the party vehicles that slowly circulate through downtown Nashville.
Mayor John Cooper announced Thursday that he has teamed up with state Sen. Steve Dickerson, R-Nashville, to try to give cities more regulatory authority. The measure could rein in the city’s menagerie of party buses, rolling hot tubs and kitschy tractors — otherwise known as low-speed vehicles, or the “transpotainment industry.”
The vehicles have been much derided by locals, and they’re wearing on civic leaders as well.
In a statement, Cooper said they’re causing “tremendous headaches.” And the head of the city tourism agency, Butch Spyridon, said they’ve come with unintended consequences. Spyridon said the quirky rides added character at first, but have led to “entertainment chaos.”
A study from 2018 documented the impact of low-speed vehicles on traffic, highlighting disruptions caused by passenger boardings.
The latest move seeks to give cities like Nashville more power. If approved, the state legislation would allow for more safety rules, limits on rush hour trips and noise caps for large slow-moving vehicles, like the farm tractors that are towing trailers full of people through downtown.
Nashville already has some regulatory power over smaller rides under 10,000 pounds, including golf carts. The city requires driver background checks, annual permitting fees and adherence to operational boundaries. The ordinance governing low-speed vehicles is here, and existing rules for pedicabs and pedal taverns are contained here and here.
Separately, Metro has been considering a higher permit fee for slow-moving vehicles, which could fund more inspectors. The Blue Ribbon Commission recently discussed the idea, but it has not been formally pursued.