Committee looks at regulating party buses

Posted By: Jenn Hatcher

Monday, Senator Jeremy Nordquist of Omaha presented a bill to the general affair committee that would create liquor licenses for limousines, charter buses and pedal-pub vehicles.

The bill would treat these vehicles the same as airlines or train cars, which are subject to liquor regulations and have legal responsibilities for their passengers.

Joel Bisgard with Party Bus Express opposes the bill and says it punishes business owners, who already follow the laws, “There is personal responsibility for what everybody does.  If we catch minors, they’re done, they’re off, and that’s it.”

Nordquist says party buses operate in an unregulated environment and encourage underage drinking.

The Nebraska Liquor Commission backs the bill, Director Hobert Rupe says, “The party buses are acting like bars, they’re loud, they’re neon lights, they’re going around, they’re havens for underage drinking and havens for over consumption, the same problems we see in the retail establishments.”

On the flip side, Lincoln’s pedal-pub business, Group Therapy Bike Tours, is in support of the bill, because it would allow their customers to drink, while aboard, which they can’t currently allow. Owner, Drew Philipi says, “Following the success of this bill, Group Therapy Bike Tours would introduce the Lincoln Ale Trail, which would be a custom bike tour of downtown Lincoln and the Haymarket, centered around the support, education and of course the sampling of Lincoln’s best beers.”

In October, a Lincoln college student was struck and killed while walking along Interstate 80 after riding a party bus.