Party Buses and Security in Chicago: Here is What You Need to Know

wedding on party bus
Wedding Party on Party Bus

Party buses and security in Chicago. Here is what you need to know as an owner and as a rider.

For many, hiring a party bus alleviates the worry of guests drinking and driving. The familiar sight of party buses, trolleys and coach buses in downtown Chicago is nothing new. Every weekend there seems to be hundreds driving around.

But, that all changed in 2017.

In 2017, regulators issued more than 125 tickets and 28 cease and desists letters to non-compliant operators. Police also made more than 10 illegal weapons and narcotics arrests under the new rule.

Enacted by then-mayor Rahm Emanuel, the goal of the new ordinance is to make the city safer for citizens and tourists alike.

In 2016, the Chicago Police and the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection conducted a 3-day investigation. The investigation came after a spike in property damage, arrests, violence and even death over the past two years with links tracing back to party bus rentals.

What does the ordinance require of an owner and riders?

Ordinance Requirements

A licensed security professional must be on-board if:

  • A party bus has 15 or more passengers
  • There is alcohol on the bus
  • If the bus is stopping at multiple locations that serve alcohol
  • Party bus operators are required to take proactive steps to make sure no one is illegally carrying guns or bringing drugs on-board

Also, owners must ensure security cameras are installed on all of their buses.

Additionally, security cannot be a bouncer or unlicensed.

Fines and Penalties

Party buses and security operating illegally can expect hefty fines. First-time violators are subject to minimum fines of $1,000 and $5,000 for any violations after that. Ignoring a cease-and-desist order carries a minimum $5,000 fine. Maximum fines can reach up to $10,000.

Party buses are meant to make going out safer. But, when party buses become almost a catalyst and enabler of bad behavior, then that is a problem which needs to be addressed.

Whether you are an owner, operator or rider all parties involved are responsible. Hiring properly licensed party bus operators is just step one. Making sure all of the necessary precautions are taken, safety measures are in place and you act like a decent human being, then there is no problem.

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