Since driving under the influence of alcohol can result in penalties and loss of driving license, many of the party goers in Chicago prefer to take a party bus to return home after attending a party or visiting a bar or club. However, even in the party bus some of the passengers are carrying alcohol and firearms. These inebriated passengers often get involved in altercations or disputes, and may become violent injuring each other or using firearms wounding others. After a number of party bus related deaths in Chicago, there has been a crackdown on party buses in Chicago, with a new ordinance passed in April 2017.
In 2016, there were six party bus related deaths. Hence to reduce the party bus related violence, Chicago passed a ordinance regulating the functioning of the party buses in Chicago. Under the new rule, all party buses which are carrying more than fifteen passengers and carry alcohol should have a licensed security guard on board to prevent crime. These buses should also have a camera installed, to monitor the activities of the passengers so that any violent passenger can be identified before he causes damage or physically attacks others.
Security Guard Requirements
The security guard and camera rule is also applicable to party buses which halt at multiple bars, clubs or other places like parties where alcohol is served to pick up passengers. The law enforcement authorities are closely monitoring the party buses to ensure that they comply to these rules. For party buses which violate these new rules for the first time, a penalty of one thousand dollars is imposed on them. In case of repeat offenders, the penalty imposed is $5000. For further violations, the license of the party bus may be revoked by the law enforcement agencies.
Despite the additional regulatory burden, many owners are fine with this new ordinance. Keith J. Allen, who runs Chicago Party Bus Rentals, gives his opinion: “We are only concerned with the safety of our passengers and our operators, and if it comes at a little extra cost, that’s perfectly fine by us. I hope these new regulations help weed out some of the fraudulent operators. We’ll still be here, that’s for sure.”
Drugs or Firearm Regulations
The company operating the party bus should also take action to ensure that the passengers in the bus are not carrying any drugs or firearms. The security guard with the party bus should frisk the passengers and ensure that they comply with the rules. Chicago has issued approximately 340 bus licenses to different companies. However, they are facing a problem since many of the party bus companies are based outside Chicago city limits. However, in 2018, a task force has been created which will monitor all the party buses which are operating in Chicago and issue tickets to the buses which do not comply.
Newly Formed Task Force
The interdepartmental task force to regulate party bus operations includes the police of Chicago, Illinois state, the transportation department of Illinois, and the office of the secretary of state of Illinois. A Chicago police official Anthony Riccio claimed that buses were being used by gangs to transport their members from one place to another, since these buses were completely unregulated. In 2017, Chicago authorities took measures to shut down 17 party bus operators who were involved in illegal activities. Party organizers are requested to ensure that the party buses they hire comply with the relevant norms to avoid wasting their time and money.